Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice, Early California, Race, Women: 1850

Legislature passes laws:

  • Allowing for the virtual slavery of Indian children and of adult Indians declared “vagrants” by judges. The law expires in 1863.
  • Barring African Americans, Indians, and mulattoes from testifying against whites in criminal cases. The following year, the legislature bans testimony from the same groups in civil trials.
  • Criminalizing abortion except in cases where the mother’s life is endangered.

Early California, Criminal Justice: 1851

San Francisco businessmen form the “Committee of Vigilance,” a vigilante organization. By the time the Committee disbands in September, it has executed four men and sentenced 28 to deportation.

After Josefa Segovia (aka “Juanita”), a Mexican woman in Downieville, kills a miner in self-defense, an angry mob conducts a kangaroo court and lynches her.

Early California, Criminal Justice, Race: 1854

State supreme court bars Chinese from testifying against whites because, the chief justice reasons, Chinese are racially indistinct from Indians, whose testimony is already prohibited.

Criminal Justice, Early California, Race: 1855

Legislature passes the “Greaser Law,” allowing law enforcement officers to arrest people of mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry for “vagrancy.”

Criminal Justice, Early California: 1856

Fort GunnybagsFort GunnybagsLeaders of the 1851 Committee of Vigilance revive the group after two sensational shootings. During its three months of existence, the Committee executed four men and banished 30 others.

Criminal Justice, Early California, Race: 1862

Legislature revokes the ban on African American testimony.

Eary California, Criminal Justice, Immigrants Rights, Race: 1871

In the worst mass lynching in California history, a mob of white and Latino vigilantes murders 19 Chinese immigrants in Los Angeles after gunfire between two rival Chinese syndicates kills a white rancher.

Criminal Justice, Early California: 1872

Capital punishment is added to California’s penal code.

Criminal Justice, Early California, Race: 1872

Ban on Indian and Chinese testimony rescinded.

Criminal Justice: 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.

Syndicate content