Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Milestones: People v. Williams, 17 Cal. 142 (1860)


Defendant, a road tax collector, shot and killed a Chinese person with whom he got into an argument. The defendant appealed from his homicide conviction, arguing the lower court improperly excluded evidence of self-defense--namely, that tax collectors typically carried firearms when collecting tolls from the Chinese because the Chinese had the habit of forcibly resisting collections.

California Supreme Court reversed the lower court and vacated the conviction, finding such an instruction should have been given.


This 150 year old is a pretty stark reminder of the historical place that Asian Americans had in the United States--those warranting an automatic suspicion, and killed with impunity.

No comments:

Post a Comment