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Law and Justice of the West Frontier Justice “Give him a fair trial and then hang him.”

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1 Law and Justice of the West Frontier Justice “Give him a fair trial and then hang him.”

2 Code of the West A new code of behavior was becoming acceptable in the West. People no longer had a duty to retreat when threatened. This was a departure from British common law that said you must have your back to the wall before you could protect yourself with deadly force. In 1876 an Ohio court held if attacked you were not “obligated to fly”. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the legality of “no duty to retreat”. The code of the West dictated that a man did not have to back away from a fight. He could also pursue an adversary even if it resulted in death. He needed to retreat no further than “the air at his back A new code of behavior was becoming acceptable in the West. People no longer had a duty to retreat when threatened. This was a departure from British common law that said you must have your back to the wall before you could protect yourself with deadly force. In 1876 an Ohio court held if attacked you were not “obligated to fly”. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the legality of “no duty to retreat”. The code of the West dictated that a man did not have to back away from a fight. He could also pursue an adversary even if it resulted in death. He needed to retreat no further than “the air at his back

3 In reality, the main activity of law enforcement in cattle towns was knocking down drunks and hauling them away before they hurt themselves or others. In reality, the main activity of law enforcement in cattle towns was knocking down drunks and hauling them away before they hurt themselves or others. They also disarmed cowboys who violated gun control edicts, tried to prevent dueling, and dealt with flagrant breaches of gambling and prostitution ordinances They also disarmed cowboys who violated gun control edicts, tried to prevent dueling, and dealt with flagrant breaches of gambling and prostitution ordinances

4 When the cattle were not in town, Wyatt Earp and other lawmen might be heading up street repair projects or doing other civic chores, or tending to their own business interests When the cattle were not in town, Wyatt Earp and other lawmen might be heading up street repair projects or doing other civic chores, or tending to their own business interests

5 Justices of the Peace Most justices of the peace were poorly schooled in law, politically corrupt, and depended on assessing fees and fines to make a living. The better ones ruled by common sense and experience, but could be inconsistent as they did not refer to statutes to guide their rulings. Most justices of the peace were poorly schooled in law, politically corrupt, and depended on assessing fees and fines to make a living. The better ones ruled by common sense and experience, but could be inconsistent as they did not refer to statutes to guide their rulings.

6 Federal Judges Federal judges tended to have better qualifications and were more inclined to follow written law. However, the West also inherited the Anglo-American system of jury trials for serious cases in spite of the fact that most potential jurors were biased by their personal relationships and acquaintances and/or struggling to make ends meet, a combination which made honest and impartial jurors difficult to find in the best of circumstances Federal judges tended to have better qualifications and were more inclined to follow written law. However, the West also inherited the Anglo-American system of jury trials for serious cases in spite of the fact that most potential jurors were biased by their personal relationships and acquaintances and/or struggling to make ends meet, a combination which made honest and impartial jurors difficult to find in the best of circumstances

7 Some of the banditry of the West was carried out by Mexicans and Indians against white targets of opportunity along the U.S. –Mexico border, particularly in Texas, Arizona, and California Some of the banditry of the West was carried out by Mexicans and Indians against white targets of opportunity along the U.S. –Mexico border, particularly in Texas, Arizona, and California The second major type of banditry was conducted by the infamous outlaws of the West, including Jesse James, Billy the Kid, the Dalton Gang, Black Bart, Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch and hundreds of others who preyed on banks, trains, and stagecoaches The second major type of banditry was conducted by the infamous outlaws of the West, including Jesse James, Billy the Kid, the Dalton Gang, Black Bart, Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch and hundreds of others who preyed on banks, trains, and stagecoaches

8 Some of the outlaws, such as Jesse James, were products of the violence of the Civil War (James had ridden with Quantrill’s raiders) and others became outlaws during hard times in the cattle industry. Some of the outlaws, such as Jesse James, were products of the violence of the Civil War (James had ridden with Quantrill’s raiders) and others became outlaws during hard times in the cattle industry. Many were misfits and drifters who roamed the West avoiding the law. When outlaw gangs were near, towns would raise a posse (like in the movies) to attempt to drive them away or capture them Many were misfits and drifters who roamed the West avoiding the law. When outlaw gangs were near, towns would raise a posse (like in the movies) to attempt to drive them away or capture them

9 Pinkerton Agency Seeing that the need to combat the gunslingers was a growing business opportunity, Allen Pinkerton ordered his detective agency to open branches out West, and they got into the business of pursuing and capturing outlaws, like the James Gang, Butch Cassidy, Sam Bass, and dozens of others. Pinkerton devised the "rogues gallery" and employed a systematic method for identifying bodies of criminals Seeing that the need to combat the gunslingers was a growing business opportunity, Allen Pinkerton ordered his detective agency to open branches out West, and they got into the business of pursuing and capturing outlaws, like the James Gang, Butch Cassidy, Sam Bass, and dozens of others. Pinkerton devised the "rogues gallery" and employed a systematic method for identifying bodies of criminals

10 On March 17, 1874, two Pinkerton Detectives and a Deputy Sheriff Edwin Daniels encountered the Younger Brothers (associates of the James Gang); Daniels, John Younger, and one Pinkerton Agent were killed On March 17, 1874, two Pinkerton Detectives and a Deputy Sheriff Edwin Daniels encountered the Younger Brothers (associates of the James Gang); Daniels, John Younger, and one Pinkerton Agent were killed

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12 A judge would travel around the towns holding a court to try the criminals. People were often hanged for their crimes. In some areas there was no sheriff or Marshall and the local townsfolk would take it on themselves to be judge and jury and would try the 'criminals' themselves. The so called criminals were often hanged and sometimes they had no trial at all and were just lynched- [hunted down and hanged from the nearest tree]. A judge would travel around the towns holding a court to try the criminals. People were often hanged for their crimes. In some areas there was no sheriff or Marshall and the local townsfolk would take it on themselves to be judge and jury and would try the 'criminals' themselves. The so called criminals were often hanged and sometimes they had no trial at all and were just lynched- [hunted down and hanged from the nearest tree].

13 Judge Roy Bean Of the many colorful characters who have become legends of the Old West. "Hanging Judge Roy Bean," who held court sessions in his saloon along the Rio Grande River in a desolate stretch of the Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas, remains one of the more fascinating. Of the many colorful characters who have become legends of the Old West. "Hanging Judge Roy Bean," who held court sessions in his saloon along the Rio Grande River in a desolate stretch of the Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas, remains one of the more fascinating.

14 According to the myth, Roy Bean named his saloon and town after the love of his life, Lily Langtry, a British actress he'd never met. Calling himself the "Law West of the Pecos," he is reputed to have kept a pet bear in his courtroom and sentenced dozens to the gallows, saying "Hang 'em first, try 'em later." According to the myth, Roy Bean named his saloon and town after the love of his life, Lily Langtry, a British actress he'd never met. Calling himself the "Law West of the Pecos," he is reputed to have kept a pet bear in his courtroom and sentenced dozens to the gallows, saying "Hang 'em first, try 'em later."

15 Holding Court Bean purchased a tent, some supplies to sell, and ten 55-gallon barrels of whiskey. By the spring of 1882, he had established a small saloon near the Pecos River in a tent city he named Vinegaroon. Within 20 miles of the tent city were 8,000 railroad workers. The nearest court was 200 miles away at Fort Stockton, and there was little means to stop illegal activity. A Texas Ranger requested that a local law jurisdiction be set up in Vinegaroon, and on August 2, 1882 Bean was appointed Justice of the Peace for the new Precinct 6 in Pecos County first case had, however, been heard on 25 July 1882 when Texas Rangers brought him Joe Bell to be tried. Bean purchased a tent, some supplies to sell, and ten 55-gallon barrels of whiskey. By the spring of 1882, he had established a small saloon near the Pecos River in a tent city he named Vinegaroon. Within 20 miles of the tent city were 8,000 railroad workers. The nearest court was 200 miles away at Fort Stockton, and there was little means to stop illegal activity. A Texas Ranger requested that a local law jurisdiction be set up in Vinegaroon, and on August 2, 1882 Bean was appointed Justice of the Peace for the new Precinct 6 in Pecos County first case had, however, been heard on 25 July 1882 when Texas Rangers brought him Joe Bell to be tried.

16 One of his first acts as a justice of the peace was to "shoot up the saloon shack of a Jewish competitor".Bean then turned his tent saloon into a part-time courtroom One of his first acts as a justice of the peace was to "shoot up the saloon shack of a Jewish competitor".Bean then turned his tent saloon into a part-time courtroom

17 Bean’s Own Justice As judge, Bean relied on a single lawbook, the 1879 edition of the Revised Statutes of Texas. If newer lawbooks appeared, Bean used them as kindling. Bean did not allow hung juries or appeals, and jurors, who were chosen from his best bar customers, were expected to buy a drink during every court recess.Bean was known for his unusual rulings. In one case, an Irishman named Paddy O'Rourke shot a Chinese laborer. A mob of 200 angry Irishmen surrounded the courtroom and threatened to lynch Bean if O'Rourke was not freed. After looking through his law book, Bean ruled that "homicide was the killing of a human being; however, he could find no law against killing a Chinaman". Bean dismissed the case. As judge, Bean relied on a single lawbook, the 1879 edition of the Revised Statutes of Texas. If newer lawbooks appeared, Bean used them as kindling. Bean did not allow hung juries or appeals, and jurors, who were chosen from his best bar customers, were expected to buy a drink during every court recess.Bean was known for his unusual rulings. In one case, an Irishman named Paddy O'Rourke shot a Chinese laborer. A mob of 200 angry Irishmen surrounded the courtroom and threatened to lynch Bean if O'Rourke was not freed. After looking through his law book, Bean ruled that "homicide was the killing of a human being; however, he could find no law against killing a Chinaman". Bean dismissed the case.

18 By December 1882, railroad construction had moved further westward, so Bean moved his courtroom and saloon 70 miles to Strawbridge. A competitor who was already established in the area laced Bean's whiskey stores with kerosene. Unable to attract customers, Bean left the area and went to Eagle's Nest, 20 miles west of the Pecos River. By December 1882, railroad construction had moved further westward, so Bean moved his courtroom and saloon 70 miles to Strawbridge. A competitor who was already established in the area laced Bean's whiskey stores with kerosene. Unable to attract customers, Bean left the area and went to Eagle's Nest, 20 miles west of the Pecos River.

19 Langtry The site was soon renamed Langtry. The original owner of the land, who ran a saloon, had sold 640 acres to the railroad on the condition that no part of the land could be sold or leased to Bean. O'Rourke, the Irishman Bean had previously acquitted, told Bean to use the railroad right-of-way, which was not covered by the contract. For the next 20 years, Bean squatted on land he had no legal right to claim. Bean named his new saloon The Jersey Lilly in honor of Lillie Langtry The site was soon renamed Langtry. The original owner of the land, who ran a saloon, had sold 640 acres to the railroad on the condition that no part of the land could be sold or leased to Bean. O'Rourke, the Irishman Bean had previously acquitted, told Bean to use the railroad right-of-way, which was not covered by the contract. For the next 20 years, Bean squatted on land he had no legal right to claim. Bean named his new saloon The Jersey Lilly in honor of Lillie Langtry

20 Langtry did not have a jail, so all cases were settled by fines. Bean refused to send the state any part of the fines, but instead kept all of the money. In most cases, the fines were made for the exact amount in the accused's pockets. Bean is known to have sentenced only two men to hang, one of whom escaped. Langtry did not have a jail, so all cases were settled by fines. Bean refused to send the state any part of the fines, but instead kept all of the money. In most cases, the fines were made for the exact amount in the accused's pockets. Bean is known to have sentenced only two men to hang, one of whom escaped.

21 Horse thieves, who were often sentenced to death in other jurisdictions, were always let go if the horses were returned. Although only district courts were legally allowed to grant divorces, Bean did so anyway, pocketing $10 per divorce. He charged only $5 for a wedding, and ended all wedding ceremonies with "and may God have mercy on your souls" (traditionally the end of a death sentence) Horse thieves, who were often sentenced to death in other jurisdictions, were always let go if the horses were returned. Although only district courts were legally allowed to grant divorces, Bean did so anyway, pocketing $10 per divorce. He charged only $5 for a wedding, and ended all wedding ceremonies with "and may God have mercy on your souls" (traditionally the end of a death sentence)

22 Bean won re-election to his post in 1884, but was defeated in The following year, the commissioner's court created a new precinct in the county and appointed Bean the new justice of the peace. He continued to be elected until Even after that defeat, he "refused to surrender his seal and law book and continued to try all cases north of the tracks Bean won re-election to his post in 1884, but was defeated in The following year, the commissioner's court created a new precinct in the county and appointed Bean the new justice of the peace. He continued to be elected until Even after that defeat, he "refused to surrender his seal and law book and continued to try all cases north of the tracks

23 As he aged, Bean spent much of his profits to help the poor of the area, and always made sure that the schoolhouse had free firewood in winter. He died March 16, 1903, peacefully in his bed, after a bout of heavy drinking in San Antonio As he aged, Bean spent much of his profits to help the poor of the area, and always made sure that the schoolhouse had free firewood in winter. He died March 16, 1903, peacefully in his bed, after a bout of heavy drinking in San Antonio

24 Isaac Charles Parker (October 15, 1838 – November 17, 1896) served as a U.S. District Judge presiding over the U.S. District Court for the district of Arkansas for 21 years. He served in that capacity during the most dangerous time for law enforcement during the western expansion. He is remembered today as the legitimate “Hanging Judge" of the American Old West (October 15, 1838 – November 17, 1896) served as a U.S. District Judge presiding over the U.S. District Court for the district of Arkansas for 21 years. He served in that capacity during the most dangerous time for law enforcement during the western expansion. He is remembered today as the legitimate “Hanging Judge" of the American Old West

25 Hanging Judge Parker Parker had submitted a request for appointment as the judge of the federal district court for the Western District of Arkansas, in Fort Smith. On March 18, 1875, the President accordingly nominated Parker. His first task was to reestablish the court's reputation following the corrupt tenure of his predecessor, William Story Parker had submitted a request for appointment as the judge of the federal district court for the Western District of Arkansas, in Fort Smith. On March 18, 1875, the President accordingly nominated Parker. His first task was to reestablish the court's reputation following the corrupt tenure of his predecessor, William Story

26 Setting the standard In the first term of court, eighteen persons came before Judge Parker charged with murder and 15 were convicted. Eight of these men qualified for a mandatory death sentence according to federal law. On September 3, 1875, six men were executed at once on the Fort Smith gallows; an indication that the once corrupt court was functioning once again. One of those sentenced to death was killed trying to escape, and another was commuted to life in prison because of his youth. In the first term of court, eighteen persons came before Judge Parker charged with murder and 15 were convicted. Eight of these men qualified for a mandatory death sentence according to federal law. On September 3, 1875, six men were executed at once on the Fort Smith gallows; an indication that the once corrupt court was functioning once again. One of those sentenced to death was killed trying to escape, and another was commuted to life in prison because of his youth.

27 The jurisdiction of the Western District of Arkansas included the Indian Territory, which today composes much of the present-day state of Oklahoma. While the legal systems and governments of the five tribes in the Indian Territory covered their own citizens, the federal court protected the rights of American citizens, those of non-Indian heritage, both white and black. Several famous lawmen served as deputy marshals during the Parker court, including Old West Gunman Frank Canton, Zeke Proctor, Frank Eaton, Bass Reeves and Heck Thomas. The jurisdiction of the Western District of Arkansas included the Indian Territory, which today composes much of the present-day state of Oklahoma. While the legal systems and governments of the five tribes in the Indian Territory covered their own citizens, the federal court protected the rights of American citizens, those of non-Indian heritage, both white and black. Several famous lawmen served as deputy marshals during the Parker court, including Old West Gunman Frank Canton, Zeke Proctor, Frank Eaton, Bass Reeves and Heck Thomas.

28 One unusual element of the Western District's jurisprudence was the fact that, with respect to the Indian Territory, during this period it was a court of final jurisdiction. From 1875 until 1889, statutory law did not provide for appeals of Indian Territory cases from this court to any court of appeal. One unusual element of the Western District's jurisprudence was the fact that, with respect to the Indian Territory, during this period it was a court of final jurisdiction. From 1875 until 1889, statutory law did not provide for appeals of Indian Territory cases from this court to any court of appeal.

29 In an effort to ensure that the court tried as many cases as possible each term, Judge Parker held court six days a week, and often up to ten hours each day. In an effort to ensure that the court tried as many cases as possible each term, Judge Parker held court six days a week, and often up to ten hours each day. The decreased size of the jurisdiction provided some relief; however, the continued influx of settlers into the Indian Territory, and the resulting problems, contributed to an increased crime rate. The decreased size of the jurisdiction provided some relief; however, the continued influx of settlers into the Indian Territory, and the resulting problems, contributed to an increased crime rate.

30 On February 6, 1889, Congress made a sweeping change to the federal court in Fort Smith, when it stripped the court of its concurrent circuit court authority and allowed the United States Supreme Court to review all capital crimes. This law went into effect on May 1, 1889, and would have a drastic effect on Judge Parker's final years. On February 6, 1889, Congress made a sweeping change to the federal court in Fort Smith, when it stripped the court of its concurrent circuit court authority and allowed the United States Supreme Court to review all capital crimes. This law went into effect on May 1, 1889, and would have a drastic effect on Judge Parker's final years. The restrictions of the court's once vast jurisdiction were a source of frustration, but what bothered the judge the most were the Supreme Court reversals of capital crimes tried in Fort Smith. Fully two-thirds of the cases appealed to the higher court were reversed and sent back to Fort Smith for new trials. The restrictions of the court's once vast jurisdiction were a source of frustration, but what bothered the judge the most were the Supreme Court reversals of capital crimes tried in Fort Smith. Fully two-thirds of the cases appealed to the higher court were reversed and sent back to Fort Smith for new trials. Because of all of the criminals he hanged Judge Isaac Parker received the nickname "the hanging judge". Although he did obtain this nickname, he was actually against the death penalty. The law of the death penalty for capital crimes was set by Congress, so Parker was forced to carry out the law. He was quoted in saying that he never enjoyed hanging people, but that it was the law. Because of all of the criminals he hanged Judge Isaac Parker received the nickname "the hanging judge". Although he did obtain this nickname, he was actually against the death penalty. The law of the death penalty for capital crimes was set by Congress, so Parker was forced to carry out the law. He was quoted in saying that he never enjoyed hanging people, but that it was the law.

31 Rulings In 21 years on the bench, Judge Parker tried 13,490 cases, 344 of which were capital crimes. Guilty pleas or convictions were handed down in 9,454 cases. Of the 160 sentenced to death by hanging (156 men and 4 women), 79 were actually hanged. The rest died in jail, appealed, or were pardoned. In 21 years on the bench, Judge Parker tried 13,490 cases, 344 of which were capital crimes. Guilty pleas or convictions were handed down in 9,454 cases. Of the 160 sentenced to death by hanging (156 men and 4 women), 79 were actually hanged. The rest died in jail, appealed, or were pardoned. As many as 109 deputy marshals were killed in the line of duty during that time frame As many as 109 deputy marshals were killed in the line of duty during that time frame


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