Congratulations to Sheriff John Simonton, his staff, and Lee County Board members for their successful construction of our new Lee County Jail.
This is the third Lee County Jail I have known. The first was a white, Italianate residence on the corner of Hennepin Avenue and Third Street in Dixon. Facing Third Street, the jail cells were in the basement and were accessed from Hennepin. The tall basement walls were whitewashed limestone block.
My father, Sherwood Dixon, told me that his first criminal case as a new, young lawyer was an assignment by the county judge to defend a man accused of escaping from that jail. The only defense he could offer was that his client was only following the sheriff’s instructions. “The sheriff gave me a brush and a bucket of whitewash,” the defendant said, “then he told me to go out and whitewash the building and not come back in until the job was done!”
Unfortunately, that argument did not persuade the judge of his client’s innocence.