Race and Homicide in Nineteenth-century California

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University of Nevada Press, 2002 - History - 148 pages
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High murder rates have always been considered an indication of a society in turmoil, and nineteenth-century California was no exception. A rapidly growing population, booming mining camps, insufficient or nonexistent law-enforcement personnel, and many ethnic groups with differing attitudes toward law and personal honor created a situation in which violence was common and legal responses varied broadly. Clare V. McKanna Jr. has published widely on the history of criminal justice in the West. For Race and Homicide in Nineteenth-Century California, he studied coroners' inquest reports, court case files, prison registers, and other primary sources, as well as numerous printed sources, to analyze patterns of homicide and the vagaries of the state's embryonic justice system. The nature of crimes, he discovered, varied with the ethnicity of perpetrators and victims, as did trials and sentencing patterns. Marginalized individuals, like the state's diminishing Indians, fared worst, and Hispanics, whose traditional legal system differed in important ways from the imported practices of the new white majority, did little better. Homicide in the Chinese community was largely confined to fellow

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Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Prison Homicide Rates and Justice

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About the author (2002)

Clare V. McKanna, Jr., teaches history at San Diego State University, specializes in Native American history, and is the author of White Justice in Arizona:Apache Murder Trials in the Nineteenth Century (TTUP, 2005) as well as Race and Homicide in Nineteenth-Century California and The Trial of "Indian Joe." He lives in San Diego, California.