From Ohio History Central
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The court case ''United States of America v. Langham'' ''& Johnston'' illustrates the poor status of the legal system in the Northwest Territory and in the wider United States of America during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
While this case may not seem to be an extraordinary one, it is important to note that Langham, one of the defendants, was actually the judge who presided over this case. Due to the lack of judges in the Northwest Territory and with professional ethics just beginning to be developed in the legal profession, Langham was able to serve as judge over his own trial. Clearly, by modern legal standards, such a conflict of interest would not be permitted today. With a lack of judges and with legal ethics just developing, though, cases like ''United States of America v. Langham'' ''& Johnston'' became much more likely in the late 1700s and the early 1800s. It is most interesting to note that, despite Langham's conflict of interest, a jury still found the judge guilty.
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