Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice, Early California: 1885

All Chinese residents of Eureka and surrounding areas are expelled after a white councilman is accidentally killed in crossfire between two Chinese men. Hundreds of such purges took place throughout California in the late 1800s.

Criminal Justice: 1933

San Jose LynchingSan Jose LynchingA mob in San Jose lynches two men accused of kidnapping and murdering the popular son of a local department store owner. Governor James Rolph, Jr. calls the lynchings “the best lesson that California has ever given the country.”

Criminal Justice: 1936

Migrant FamilyMigrant FamilyLos Angeles police chief James Davis sends his officers to California’s borders with Arizona, Oregon, and Nevada to set up “bum blockades” to prevent indigent people from entering.

Criminal Justice: 1937

Gas chamber replaces hanging as the method of capital punishment.

Criminal Justice: 1938

Harry Raymond with crutches outside courthouseHarry Raymond with crutches outside courthouseA bomb explodes as private detective Harry Raymond starts his car. Raymond was scheduled to testify before a Los Angeles grand jury about corruption of city leaders. Raymond is injured but still testifies.

Los Angeles Police Department Captain Earle Kynette, head of the force’s “Intelligence Squad,” is convicted of attempted murder and other crimes related to the bombing of Harry Raymond’s car. His trial reveals that the Intelligence Squad kept dossiers on individuals whom the mayor and police considered political enemies.

Criminal Justice: 1943

During several nights in June, white military personnel attack young Mexican American men wearing zoot suits in downtown, East and Southcentral Los Angeles.

Criminal Justice: 1944

Defendants in the “Sleepy Lagoon” murder trialDefendants in the “Sleepy Lagoon” murder trialAfter criticizing the trial judge and stating that there was a lack of evidence for a jury to convict, an appellate court reverses the convictions of seventeen young Mexican American for murder and lesser charges in what was known as the Sleepy Lagoon murder, the mysterious 1942 death of a young Mexican American in Los Angeles.

Criminal Justice: 1951

On Christmas day, Los Angeles police officers beat young Mexican American men held at the Central Station. The department fires two of the officers and reprimands 36 others involved in the “Bloody Christmas” incident.

Criminal Justice: 1955

California Supreme Court rules in People v. Cahan that illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible in California courts.

Criminal Justice: 1960

Caryl Chessman is executed for robbery, kidnapping, and rape.

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