White Justice in Arizona: Apache Murder Trials in the Nineteenth Century

White Justice in Arizona: Apache Murder Trials in the Nineteenth Century

White Justice in Arizona: Apache Murder Trials in the Nineteenth Century

White Justice in Arizona: Apache Murder Trials in the Nineteenth Century

Excerpt

This book had its genesis during a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar, in 1988, held in Tucson, Arizona. Professor Roger Nichols, of the University of Arizona, had graciously invited me to attend his colloquium examining “New Directions in Native American History.” My main research goal at the seminar focused on examining homicide cases from six Arizona counties to determine whether ethnic minorities received fair treatment in the criminal justice systems. In late August, I had finally achieved my main goal of researching the Arizona State Archives. As I sat there on my last day waiting for records to be paged up, out of curiosity I decided to do some “fishing” through a few archival guides. I turned to the nineteenth-century records for the Arizona Territorial Supreme Court and began to browse. Suddenly, I noticed a series of homicide cases with Apache names that had been appealed in 1888. The court had reversed eleven cases and sent them back to the counties of origin for retrial. After I asked the archivist to page them he suggested using the microfilm, but I firmly insisted on looking at the case files, and he relented. My first look at these court cases left me stunned; I had, indeed, found a treasure of information about how the Arizona territorial criminal justice system treated Apache defendants. All of . . .

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