Judge Charles Sumner Dole’s Chicken Theft Trial

On Monday, March 30, 1908, just before he entered the Lihue Court House — which would become the site of Kauai High School in 1914 — Judge Charles Sumner Dole (1873-1951) could be seen by passersby gazing thoughtfully for some time at a flock of chickens roaming about outside the court house.

And, no wonder, for chickens were foremost on his mind as they were directly related to the case of larceny that he would soon preside over in court –—specifically, an alleged theft of chickens.

Inside, while sitting at his bench, Judge Dole listened carefully as the case unfolded before him.

He was informed that a flock of chickens, and its forebears for some generations back, had been the property of Mr. Madeira of Hanamaulu, from which Madeira had derived both pleasure and a source of income — that is, until Kahiku Keau had allegedly lured them from Madeira’s yard to his own property.

What possessed Keau to do so — whether it was jealousy of Madeira’s joy, or kleptomania, pure and simple, or something else, could not be determined by Judge Dole.

But,witnesses testified, and Keau admitted, that he had, indeed, tempted Madeira’s chickens onto his domicile.

Judge Dole then termed the transaction larceny, and went on to explain its meaning to Keau, who confessed that he understood Dole’s definition.

Whereupon, Judge Dole fined Keau $15 and an additional $1 for cost.

Born in Honolulu in the Kingdom of Hawaii and educated at Stanford, Judge Charles Sumner Dole was a grandson of American Protestant missionary Rev. Daniel Dole.

Dole was also a nephew of Sanford Ballard Dole –—a leader of the revolutionists who deposed Queen Liliuokalani and overthrew the Hawaiian Monarchy in Honolulu on Jan. 17, 1893.

Sanford Ballard Dole served as the president of the Provisional Government, the first president of the Republic of Hawaii, and the first governor of the Territory of Hawaii.


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