Emil J. Pepke, Accused

emil_j_pepkeI love finding a portrait of a character. Here’s Emil J. Pepke, a discharged North Dakota infantryman accused in 1900 of smuggling fourteen diamond rings from the Philippines into the U.S. He took his case to the Supreme Court, which used it to define the legal status of territories conquered in 1898. Pepke won his suit, but never got his rings back, as they had already been sold by customs officials.