The Kindly Judge Who Should Have Sent Boo Radley to Jail

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 5.07.29 PM

In his youth, Judge Murdock McCorvey Fountain “Judge Mick” was a rootin‘-tootin‘ sheriff who got nicked in the forehead by a bullet during a gunfight. But as a silver-haired judge in his 50s, Judge Mick was known to a decent man who thought the best of people. Everyone in Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama knew him.

Consequently, when some boys were hauled before him arrested for vandalism, destruction of public property, breaking and entering, and disturbing the peace, Judge Mick wasn’t eager to send them away for a year in the reformatory. But he did. Except for a boy named Arthur Bouleware. Arthur’s father intervened.

Judge, if you remand custody of my son to me, I swear he’ll never bother anyone in this town again.

So Judge Mick sent Arthur home with his father. As punishment, Mr. Bouleware pulled Arthur out of high school and grounded him indefinitely. For a football player, this was a disaster. Moreover, Mr. Bouleware kept his son at home month after month, year after year, until Arthur was too frightened to be seen in public.

Arthur never left that house until he was carried out on a stretcher, dead at 40 from tuberculosis. He’s buried next to his father in Monroeville.

And that sad young man was the model for Boo Radley.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.