FROM GUNS TO GAVELS: HOW JUSTICE GREW UP IN THE OUTLAW WESTby: Bill Neal
Takes readers through a series of linked tales of crimes & trials. Traces the incipient struggles of modern criminal justice in the Southwest through an engaging progression of outlaws & lawmen, plus a host of colorful frontier trial lawyers & judges. 58 B&W photos, 3 maps; 6×9 inches, 384 pgs.
Western Americana & Frontier
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
The evolution of justice in a “land beyond the law”.
When a thirteen-year-old boy strikes out on his own in 1885, leaving his Civil War–ravaged Mississippi homeland for the wild Red River borderland between North Texas & Indian Territory, the American West is a land beyond the reach of the law. Crime thrives in the absence of law officers, courtrooms, judges, & jails. Vigilante justice, the posse, & the hangman’s noose come to fill the void. But by the time the young man—now a veteran outlaw—dies by the gun in 1929 after a tempestuous career, the Old West has been largely tamed, its official legal systems firmly in place.
In this companion volume to Getting Away with Murder on the Texas Frontier, veteran defense attorney & prosecutor Bill Neal takes readers from Mississippi to the frontiers of West Texas, Indian Territory, New Mexico Territory, & finally the frozen Montana wilderness through a series of linked tales of crimes & trials. Tracing the incipient struggles of modern criminal justice in the Southwest through an engaging progression of outlaws & lawmen, plus a host of colorful frontier trial lawyers & judges, Neal reveals how law & society matured together.
Virtually an anecdotal textbook, From Guns to Gavels follows a bloody trail from the Wild West through the decades after World War I, when the gavel-wielding, black-robed Judge Blackstone at last gained ascendancy over “Judge Winchester” & “Judge Lynch.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bill Neal practiced criminal law in West Texas for forty years: twenty as a prosecutor & twenty as a defense attorney. His first book, Getting Away with Murder on the Texas Frontier: Notorious Killings & Celebrated Trials (TTUP, 2006), was named Book of the Year by the National Association for Outlaw & Lawmen History, received the Rupert N. Richardson Award for the best book on West Texas history from the West Texas Historical Association, & was a finalist for both the Violet Crown Award by the Writers’ League of Texas & the Spur Award by the Western Writers of America. Neal & his wife, Gayla, live in Abilene, Texas.
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
Publish Date: 02-28-2009