DEATH SENTENCE (1881) The following is a verbatim sentence imposed upon a defendant convicted of murder in the Federal District Court of the Territory of New Mexico many years ago by a United States Judge, sitting at Taos in an adobe stable used as a temporary courtroom:
"Jose Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, in a few short weeks, it will be spring. The snows of winter will flee away, the ice will vanish, and the annual miracle of the years will awaken and come to pass, but you won't be there." "The rivulet will run its course to the sea, the timid desert flowers will put forth their tender shoots, the glorious valleys of this imperial domain will blossom as the rose. Still, you won't be there to see.
From every treetop some wild woods songster will carol his mating song, butterflies will sport in the sunshine, the busy bee will hum happy as it pursues its accustomed vocation. The gentle breeze will tease the tassels of the wild grasses, and all nature, Jose Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, will be glad, but you.
You won't be there to enjoy it because I command the sheriff, or some officers of the country, to lead you out to some remote spot, swing you by the neck from a knotting bough of a sturdy oak, and let you hang until you are dead."
"And then, Jose Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, I further command that such officer or officers retire quickly from your dangling corpse, that vultures may descend from the heavens upon your filthy body until nothing shall remain but the bare bleached bones of a cold-blooded, copper-colored, blood-thirsty, throat-cutting, chili-eating, sheep-herding, murdering ***-**-*-*****."
United States of America v. Gonzales (1881)
United States District Court,
New Mexico Territory sessions.
WE Need a Few Good Judges Like this Again. Sarge the Poet
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