The state Senate on Saturday exonerated a former judge senators said was removed from office because of anti-German hysteria that gripped the state during World War I.
The late Charles L. Crum was a judge of German descent in Forsyth. He angered many Montana residents by speaking out against the war and by defending the civil liberties of others who opposed the war, said Sen. Harry Fritz."He was a victim of intolerance," Fritz said. "From the perspective of time, it seems that Judge Crum was guilty only of exercising his constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression."
The Senate voted 46-0 Saturday to exonerate Crum. His grandson, Darwin Crum, 60, had asked that the judge be cleared.
"Montana is the land of the Big Sky," Crum told a Senate panel Friday. "Let it today be the land of the big heart and let the old man sleep tonight with his honor restored."
After the state House of Representatives impeached Crum, the state Senate convicted him of holding pro-German sentiments.
"We're seeing things like that again today, unfortunately," said state Sen. Dick Pinsoneault, who drew parallels between Crum's removal and current reports of bias against Arab-Americans because of the war in the Persian Gulf.
Crum died a broken man about 30 years after the impeachment, Darwin Crum said.