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HIST 3850
Patrick J Connor

HIST3850:MurderandOtherCrimesinthe20thCenturyNorthAmerica Lecture:September14,2012 The Justice System in the USA and Canada There were 13 original colonies in the USA. American Population c. 1760 - Virginia/Maryland: 312,000 white 189,000 black - N & S Carolina, Georgia: 119,00 white 94,000 black - S Carolina: 36,00 white 57,000 black US emerged very differently through colonial experiences. What linked these colonies together: shared common language, shared similar geography, shared distrust in powerful central governments. A number of cases that developed in the deep south were dealt with independantly (state justice system). Outcomes sometimes ran against the central US government. US Federal government Political System: A) House of Representatives B) Senate C) Executive D) Veto President can override anything passed by Congress E) States F) Criminal Codes There are 50 different states in the USA and each of them has their own Criminal Code and procedure. Criminal Court Process - Arrest by police by county sheriff by state police -Appearance -Grand Jury To see if the prosecution indeed has a case to make against the defence. To keep a limit on prosecutors; make sure they don't abuse their limits. - Arraingnment Judiciary -State Courts -Of limited jurisdiction -Of general jurisdiction Can hear regular murder cases Can hear appeals from lower level courts -Appeals and courts of last resort -Judicial Review Federal Judiciary - Federal Jurisdictions: District Courts Courts of Appeal Supreme Court of the United States *No retirement age for US Supreme Court Judges* 1984 Sandra O'Connor is the first lady Supreme Court Justices Tutorial:September14/12 Aurora: [email protected] 2187D Vari Hall 1230-130 Fridays (Tentative) Themes of the course: - the law is organic (fluidity); shaped by the social political and economic aspects of each area; it evolves and changes over time - does gender play a role? class? ethnicity? - the law is historically contingent; the way the law is administered is affected by the different social, political and economic factors - change over time October5th,2012 WomenWhoMurder There is a tendency for male chivalry in the judicial system. Men-dominated areas, such as the jury, tend to not convict women.Male chivalry cannot fully explain this but it is certainly an aspect. They didn't have the same opportunities to murder either. Large majority of women, historically and today, are convicted of killing their children. Today 14% of murder convictions are women. Hilda Blake - 21 yr old servant maid and killed her owner July 5, 1899, she killed her employer. December 27, 1899 she was executed; hung. Born in 1879 in Norfolk England. Not an exceptionally wealthy family. Orphaned at the age of 10. In 1892, 11 yr old Hilda Blake was put on a steam boat from England to Halifax, separated from her brother, went to Manitoba and she found herself settled with a farming family as a maid. Wasn't particularly happy. Hilda ran away when she was 12, but the family sought legal action. She left after a year and left for Winnipeg. In 1898 she was in Brandon, Manitoba. Robert and Mary Lane. Robert was a successful carter. Became the biggest hauler in Brandon. On July 5, 1899 while Hilda was hanging curtains. Hilda walked up to Mary and shot her twice in the back in short range from a pistol. Mary collapsed in the street and died before the doctor arrived. Hilda's story was that a tramp came to the back door asking for food from Mary, Mary refused and the tramp shot her before he got away. When Hilda said the killer was a tramp many people believed it. Anyone not Anglo was taken in for questioning (beginning of racial profiling). Suspicion soon landed on Hilda. A gun dealer was able to confirm that Hilda did purchase a gun and bullets. Hilda admitted her guilt and wanted her to be shot right then. Pleaded guilty. We are left to speculate why she had killed her mistress. Very difficult to find out anything as Hilda did not testify and because of the place she lands upon the social scale. While she was in jail she wrote a poem which was published in the newspaper, named "My Downfall". She comments on the devil which brought her to this place. She may have been raped, but more likely, she had indeed been having a consensual affair with Robert Lane. She killed Mary Lane in hopes that she would be the new Mrs. Lane. Campaigns were started to have her pardoned. Much of the sympathy for Hilda was believed to be because she was betrayed by her lover. From her execution to 1924, Hilda was only one of two women whom were executed. Lizzie Borden - killed both her parents in Mass. (look her up on the internet) Lizzie and Emma were both spinsters. Spinsters were past the age of marriage. Lizzie was a bright woman and wanted more from life than marriage. Despite Andrew's wealth, they did not live well. August 4, 1892, Lizzie, her mother and the servant had been in the house. Between 9 AM and 930AM Lizzie's step-mom was killed by an axe, struck 19 times. Andrew was killed when he was sleeping. Lizzie's story was that she was outside and heard a groan and came inside. The doctor came in and examined both bodies. The Mother's blood was congealed where Andrew's was not. For this reason Lizzie was the only one that could be held responsible. The relationship between Lizzie and her parents were slowly deteriorating. Lizzie and her sister were concerned that their Father's inheritance was going to their step-mother. Lizzie was know to be a shoplifter. Lizzie had tried to purchase poison the day before. Immediately afterwards the coroner summoned an inquest. Lizzie was called to the inquest. At the inquest she was questioned by the District Attorney. The most important question was where had she of been when her step-mother was killed. She also denied trying to buy the poison. Later that day Lizzie was arrested and tried for the hearing. Prosecution's evidence was circumstantial, nothing that could tie Lizzie to the murders. From mid to late November a Grand Jury hearing was held. Alice Russell was a witness. She had been asked to stay at the house after the murders for moral support. A day after the mayor went to the Borden's house and announced that Lizzie was named a suspect, she was found burning a blue dress, the same clothing that she was believed to be wearing at the time of the murders and she changed from shortly thereafter. After hearing Russell's testimony, a vote of 20-1 from the Grand Jury indicted her. She was accused of premeditated murder. The trial opened on June 5th 1893. The jury was all male, all traditional farmers. Evidence: no evidence of a robbery or forced entry, burning of the dress, Lizzie's statement. In spite of these points the prosecution came to many obstacles. Her statement was not allowed to be used as evidence as a lawyer was not present. The statement from the inquest was not used as evidence. The evidence of the purchase of poison was also inadmissible. Lizzie did not testify herself. Emma testified; she said that Lizzie purchased the dress three months before and quickly faded, Emma suggest it to use it while painting or get rid of it and the blame for the burning of the dress was placed on Emma and not Lizzie. The real defence was popular opinion. Most people believed that a person of Lizzie's status could not possible be responsible for such a h
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