N.Y. Times Op-Ed on U.S. v. Cruikshank
William Briggs and
The Colfax massacre was ghastly, and so was its aftermath. A young, white New York lawyer named J.R. Beckwith had recently been appointed U.S. attorney for Louisiana; he got the job of prosecuting the Colfax murders. Beckwith’s 150 pages of indictments listed 32 counts and named 98 defendants. After six months, with no help from the federal government he represented, Beckwith had managed to arrest only seven of the defendants. The first trial, in March of 1874 in New Orleans, featured an eloquent and capable Beckwith doing battle against an all-star team of white-supremacist trial attorneys. It resulted in a hung jury.
In the retrial
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