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WEDNESDAY MAY 5, 1943.

OUR DAILY BREAD

GOOD EVENING, THIS IS TOM VAN DYCKE. THIS IS WEDNESDAY THE FIFTH OF MAY — IN SPANISH PRONOUNCED THE CINQUO DE MAYO. THE FIFTH OF MAY IS A HOLIDAY IN THE REPUBLIC SOUTH OF THE BORDER. YES IN MEXICO THE FIFTH OF MAY IS THEIR INDEPENDENCE DAY FOR 81 YEARS AGO, ON THE FIFTH DAY OF MAY 1862, THE MEXICAN PEOPLE SOUNDLY DEFEATED THE FRENCH MERCENARY TROOPS WHO WERE IN THE EMPLOY OF EMPEROR MAXIMILLIAN. THIS DEFEAT SOUNDED THE DEATH-KNELL ON THE LAST LINGERING HOPE OF EUROPEAN IMPERIALISM ON THE NORTH AMERICAN CONTINENT. AND SO FROM THAT DAY ON TO THE MEXICAN PEOPLE THE FIFTH OF MAY HAS BECOME THEIR INDEPENDENCE DAY. THAT WAS MAY 5TH 1862.

BUT ON THIS CINQUO DE MAYO 1943 THERE ARE 17 AMERICAN BORN KIDS OF MEXICAN ORIGIN TO WHOM THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS INDEPENDENCE DAY —FOR THEY ARE IN PRISON —12 IN SAN QUENTIN AND 5 IN THE COUNTY JAIL. THEY WERE TRIED AND FOUND GUILTY —NOT OF THE CRIME WHICH THE ORIGINAL INDICTMENT —THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS CLAIM —BUT RATHER GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF BEING OF MEXICAN —OR FOREIGN ORIGIN —IN A COURTROOM WHERE THEY NEVER HAD A CHANCE OF PROVING THEIR INNOCENCE. I AM REFERRING, OF COURS TO THE SO-CALLED AND INFAMOUS CASE OF THE "SLEEPY LAGOON" KIDS.

THEIR CASE IS BEING APPEALED AND FOUGHT BY THE COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENSE OF THE AMERICAN-MEXICAN YOUTH. THE CHAIRMAN OF THAT COMMITTEE, BROTHER JOE MARTY, INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNITED ELECTRICAL, RADI AND MACHINE WORKERS-CIO, IS RIGHT HERE IN THE STUDIO WITH ME. I THINK THAT THE ENTIRE STORY SHOULD BE TOLD TO OUR AUDIENCE AND I CAN THINK OF NO ONE MORE FAMILIAR WITH THE FACTS AND MORE ARTICULATE THAN BROTHER MARTY.

TOM

BROTHER MARTY, I'M SURE THAT NOT ALL OF US ARE AWARE COMPLETELY ON WHAT DID HAPPEN IN THE CASE OF THESE BOYS. AND SO I WISH YOU WOULD RUN THRU THE STORY AS YOU KNOW IT.


JOE

TOM, IT'S NOT A PARTICULARLY PLEASANT STORY ESPECIALLY THE STORY OF THE TRIAL ITSELF —BUT I THINK THAT SINCE THE BOYS WERE PRATICALLY CONVICTED IN THE PRESS, THE TRUTH SHOULD BE TOLD HERE. AND BRIEFLY THIS IS THE STORY: ON AUGUST 2, 1942 A PERSON NAMED JOSE DIAZ DIED OF A CEREBRAL HEMORRAGE, APPARENTLY CAUSED BY A SINGLE


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FRACTURE OF THE SKULL. THERE WERE BRUISES ON THE FACE EARS AND FISTS THAT INDICATED THAT HE HAD BEEN INVOLVED IN A FIGHT. THE CHIEF AUTOPSY SURGEON OF THE COUNTY FOUND CONSIDERABLE ALCOHOL IN DIAZ' BLOOD AT THE TIME OF DEATH. ENOUGH POSSIBLY TO HAVE CAUSED INTOXICATION. HE WAS FOUND AT THE WILLIAMS RANCH NEAR LOS ANGELES. NOW, THE NIGHT BEFORE, AUGUST 1ST, A LAD NAMED HENRY LEYVAS AND HIS GIRL FRIEND WERE BEATEN UP BY A GANG OF HOODLUMS. LEYVAS GOT HOME AND TOLD HIS FRIENDS WHAT HAD HAPPENED. AND SOMEHOW THE IMPRESSION WAS CREATED THAT THE ATTACKERS OF LEYVAS AND FRIEND WERE AT THE WILLIAMS RANCH. AND THAT IS WHERE THEY WENT TO LOOK FOR THEM. NOW IN A TRIAL THAT WAS AS CONFUSING AS IT WAS CONDUCTED IN HYSTERIA, THIS MUCH DID COME OUT OF THE PROSECUTION'S EVIDENCE.

THAT ON THE NIGHT OF THE ALLEGED MURDER OF DIAZ THERE HAD BEEN A DRUNKEN PARTY. THAT LONG BEFORE THE BOYS APPEARED ON THE SCENE, A QUARREL HAD DEVELOPED AMONG THE ROISTERERS WHICH HAD ENDED IN A SERIOUS FIGHT, THAT SOME OF THE OFFENDERS HAD BEEN KICKED OUT. AND THAT THE EVICTED OFFENDERS PROMISED TO RETURN WITH FRIENDS AND "GET EVEN". AND THAT THIS BRAWL WAS PROBABLY THE OCCASION DURING WHICH JOSE DIAZ WAS ORIGINALLY INJURED AND THAT LATER HE FELL INTO THE ROADWAY, OVERCOME BY BEATING AND DRINKING AND THAT SOME TIME AFTER THIS HE WAS RUN OVER BY A CAR BACKED AGAINST HIS HEAD, CAUSING HIS DEATH FROM FRACTURE.

THAT ALL THIS OCCURRED PREVIOUS TO THE INNOCENT GATE-CRASHING OF THE BOYS. BUT THAT WHEN THE BOYS ARRIVED THEY WERE ATTACKED BY PERSONS FROM THE RANCH-HOUSE WHO, CONFUSED BY INTOXICATION AND THE PREVIOUS FIGHT, MISTOOK THEM FOR THE BOYS WHO HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN THROWN OUT. THAT MUCH WE KNOW FROM THE PROSECUTION'S EVIDENCE.


TOM

MAY I ASK WHAT ELSE THE PROSECUTION CONTENDED —AND BY WHICH THEY WERE ABLE TO GET THEIR CONVICTIONS?


JOE

THE PROSECUTION CONTENDED THAT THE BOYS WERE ARMED WITH KNIVES, TIRE CHAINS, TIRE IRONS AND OTHER DEADLY WEAPONS. YET, AT THE TRIAL, NOT ONE SINGLE


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WEAPON WHICH WAS CLAIMED TO HAVE BEEN USED BY ANY OF THE DEFENDANTS WERE INTRODUCED INTO EVIDENCE. ALL THEY COULD PRODUCE WAS SOME PIECES OF WOOD WHICH CAN BE FOUND ON ANY RANCH. THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE OF THE EXISTENCE OF A GANG, IN THE SENSE IN WHICH THE PROSECUTION USED THE TERM. THERE WAS NOT ONE SLASHED TIRE NOR PIECE OF BROKEN GLASS INTRODUCED IN EVIDENCE TO SUBSTANTIATE PROSECUTION CLAIMS. NOT A SINGLE WITNESS TESTIFIED THAT HE SAW ANY OF THE DEFENDANTS FIGHT WITH, HIT OR EVEN INJURE JOE DIAZ. IN FACT THERE WASN'T EVEN A SINGLE WITNESS WHO TESTIFIED THAT HE SAW ANY OF THE DEFENDANT ANYWHERE NEAR DIAZ.


TOM

WOULD YOU MIN[sic] TELLING ME WHAT THE PROSECUTION DID CLAIM?. AND ON WHAT FLIMSY BASIS THEY GOT AWAY WITH THEIR CONVICTIONS?


JOE

THEY CLAIMED THAT THE CRIME WAS "CONSPIRACY". CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT A CRIME. THE PROSECUTION — TOM, I THINK PERSECUTION WOULD BE A BETTER WAY TO PUT IT — BUT ANYWAY IT WAS THEIR CONTENTION THAT THE DEFENDENTS WENT OUT TO THE RANCH INTENDING TO HAVE A FIGHT WITH A RIVAL GANG. THEY DON'T CONTEND THAT THE BOYS WENT OUT TO KILL ANYONE IN FACT NOT EVEN TO DO BODILY DAMAGE. SOME OF THEM MAY HAVE ONLY WANTED TO GET INTO A FIST FIGHT —AND SOME OF THEM WENT ALONG ONLY TO WATCH. MOST PEOPLE STOP TO WATCH FIGHTS. BUT NEVERTHELESS ALL THIS AMOUNTED TO —IN THE EYES OF THE DEPUTY D. A. SHOEMAKER — A HOL OVER FROM THE FITTS REGIME —CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT A CRIME. AND FOR THAT 3 BOYS WERE SENTENCED TO LIFE INPRISONMENT, NINE OTHERS GOT FIV TO LIFE — AND FIVE ARE IN THE COUNTY JAIL WITH A YEAR'S SENTENCE.


TOM

IT IS OBVIOUS TO ME FROM WHAT YOU HAVE SAID THAT THERE IS MORE TO THIS THAN MEETS THE EYE. WHAT DO YOU SUSPECT IS THE BACK-STAGE DRAMA?


JOE

I SUSPECT NOTHING. I KNOW CERTAIN FACTS. I'LL GIVE THEM TO YOU AND LET YOU DRAW YOUR OWN DEDUCTIONS. TO BEGIN WITH YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THAT MEXICANS IN LOS ANGELES GET PRETTY SHABBILY TREATED HERE. THEIR PLIGHT IS NOT TOO FAR REMOVED FROM THAT OF THE NEGRO IN THE DEEP SOUTH. MEXICAN-AMERICANS HAVE BEEN TERRORIZED BY POLICE BRUTALITY


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AND PERSECUTION. AND THEY ARE NATURALLY RESENTFUL. FOR WEEKS BEFORE THE DEATH OF DIAZ THE PAPERS IN THIS COUNTRY WERE FANNING IMAGINARY CRIME WAVES INTO EXISTENCE. IN NEW YORK AND DETROIT THE CRIME WAVES WERE ALWAYS DUE TO NEGRO YOUTH. IN LOS ANGELES IT WAS THE MEXICAN YOUTH THAT WAS BEING BLAMED FOR EVERYTHING. THE ACCENT IN ALL THE STORIES WAS ON THE WORD MEXICAN. PHRASES LIKE "ZOOT-SUITERS, MEXICAN GOON-SQUADS —PACHUCO KILLERS" WERE BEING USED. AND SO WHEN DIAZ DIED THE PAPERS TOOK UP THE STORY IN A SORT OF "I-TOLD-YOU-SO" VEIN. WE BEGAN READING STORIES THAT HAD THESE WORDS, "MEXICAN YOUTHS ON THE PROWL IN WOLF PACKS" —PACHUCOS ARMED WITH CLUBS AND KNIVES".


TOM

I GET IT JOE, I USED TO BE A NEWSPAPERMAN MYSELF ONCE. I KNOW ALL THIS COLOR WORDS. IT SOUNDS LIKE A WELL REHEARSED DIRTY DRAMA.


JOE

IT WAS, I ASSURE YOU. IN THE RISING CRESCENDO OF HATE AGAINST MEXICAN AMERICAN YOUTH, THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE ADVANCED AN INTERESTING VARIATION OF HITLER'S ARYAN THEORY EXPLAINING, IF YOU PLEASE, THIS SO-CALLED CRIME WAVE. LIEUT. EDWARD D. AYRES, HEAD OF THE SHERIFF'S "FOREIGN RELATIONS BUREAU" —WHATEVER THAT IS — IN HIS REPORT TO THE GRAND JURY WENT BACK 600 YEARS TO THE AZTECS TO DRAW THIS CONCLUSION —AND I QUOTE IT "THIS TOTAL DISREGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE HAS ALWAYS BEEN UNIVERSAL THRU-OUT THE AMERICAS AMONG THE INDIAN POPULATION, WHICH, OF COURSE, IS WELL KNOWN TO EVERYONE."


TOM

AND SO OF COURSE THE BOYS WERE INDICTED. AND AS I REMEMBER IT, THEY WERE CONVICTED IN THE PRESS BEFORE THEY EVEN CAME TO COURT. I REMEMBER HEARST PRESS AND THE LOS ANGELES TIMES HAD A FIELD DAY. I SEEM TO REMEMBER ONE VERY NASTY LETTER WHICH THE TIMES PRINTED.


JOE

OH YES, —THAT WAS THE ONE IN WHICH A WRITER STATED, QUOTE WHEN ARE THE SHERIFF AND THE CHIEF OF POLICE GOING TO ISSUE INSTRUCTIONS TO THEIR MEN TO GO OUT AND GIVE SOME ROUGH TREATMENT TO THESE HOODLUMS? THE OFFICERS MIGHT KILL OR SERIOUSLY INJURE SOME OF THE YOUNG HOODLUMS WELL WHY NOT? END QUOTE. AND THEN RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TRIAL THE DECEMBER ISSUE OF SENSATION —A MAGAZINE WHICH IS WELL NAMED,


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APPEARED WITH THE STORY "SMASHING CALIFORNIA'S BABY GANGSTER BY CLEM PEOPLES, CHIEF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR, LOS ANGELES SHERIFFS OFFICE. IN 10 DAYS SOME 10,000 COPIES WERE SOLD IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY. AND SIGNIFICANT ALSO IS THE FACT THAT THE VICIOUS TONE OF THE ARTICLE ASSUMED, EVEN BEFORE THE TRIAL BEGAN, THE ABOLUTE GUILT OF ALL OF THE DEFENDANTS.


TOM

DIDN'T THE MEXICAN PRO-FASCIST SINARQUISTAS HOP RIGHT INTO THIS CASE?


JOE

THEY CERTAINLY DID. THIS ORGANIZATION WHICH IS WITHOUT A DOUBT HITLER INSPIRED —HITLER ORGANIZED AND MEXICAN COUNTERPART OF FATHER COUGHLI BEGAN TO YELL FOR MORE PROSECUTION OF "PACHUCOS CORRUPTED BY AMERICAN THOUGHT AND HABITS. NOW HERE'S A PECULIAR COINCIDENCE, THE LEADER OF THE LOCAL SINARQUISTAS IS ONE PEDRO VILLASENOR,—(TOM INTERRUPTS)


TOM

VILLASENOR — A STRANGE NAME.


JOE

YES IT IS — AND STRANGELY ENOUGH A BOY BEARING THE SAME FAMILY NAME, RICHARD VILLASENOR IS GENERALLY CREDITED WITH HAVING PUT THE FINGER ON THE KIDS. AT THE SAME TIME THAT THE SINARQUISTAS WERE CALLING FOR THE PROSECUTION OF THE ZOOT-SUITERS — THAT ORGANIZATION WAS INCITING MEXICAN AMERICANS BY POINTING TO THE PERSECUTIONS OF MEXICANS.


TOM

PERFECT AXIS PROPAGANDA, BROTHER MARTY, IF EVER I'VE HEARD ANY.


JOE

YOU'RE 100% CORRECT. BECAUSE THE DAY THAT THE BOYS WERE CONVICTED, TH AXIS RADIO BEAMED AT LATIN AMERICA CARRIED THIS: "IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, THE SO-CALLED CITY OF THE ANGELS, 12 MEXICAN BOYS WERE FOUND GUILTY OF A SINGLE MURDER AND 5 OTHERS WERE CONVICTED OF ASSAUL GROWIN OUT OF THE SAME CASE. THE 360,000 MEXICANS OF LOS ANGELES ARE REPORTED UP IN ARMS OVER THIS YANKEE PERSECUTION. THE CONCENTRATION CAMPS OF LOS ANGELES ARE SAID TO BE OVERFLOWING WITH MEMBERS OF THIS PERSECUTED MINORITY. THIS IS JUSTICE FOR YOU, AS PRACTICED BY THE GOOD NEIGHBOR, UNCLE SAM, A JUSTICE THAT DEMANDS 17 VICTIMS FOR ONE CRIME. END QUOTE.



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TOM

THAT CERTAINLY SOUNDS LIKE THE AXIS AT WORK WITH A VENGEANCE. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE TRIAL ITSELF?


JOE

TOM, IT WAS AWFUL. TO BEGIN WITH THERE WERE SEVEN ATTORNEYS WITH SVEN DIFFERENT IDEAS ON HOW TO CONDUCT THE CASE. AND THE PROSECUTION PLAYED ONE ATTORNEY AGAINST THE OTHER. ONLY ONE ATTORNEY VAN TRESS DARED INCUR THE DISPLEASURE OF THE JUDGE AND PROSECUTORS BY MAKING OBJECTIONS AND MOTIONS NECESSARY TO LAY THE GROUND-WORK FOR AN APPEAL. OTHER COUNSEL WAS NEEDED TO CHALLENGE PREJUDICE AND MISCONDUCT OF COURT AND PROSECUTION TO MAKE A RECORD FOR THE HIGHER COURTS. FOR THIS JOB THE NEWLY FORMED DEFENSE COMMITTEE DRAFTED GEORGE SHIBLEY. THE PROSECUTION CONTINUED TO FOMENT DISUNITY AND CONFLICTS BETWEEN DEFENSE ATTORNEYS TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT VAN TRESS AND SHIBLEY ADVISED THE PARENTS OF THE BOYS THAT THE ONLY HOPE LAY IN REPLACING THE 7 LAWYERS WITH ONE COMPETENT TRIAL ATTORNEY. UNABLE THEMSELVES ETHICALLY TO DISPLACE THE OTHER ATTORNEYS SHIBLEY SUGGESTED FORMER JUDGE LESTER ROTH. THEN THE PROSECUTION IMPLORED DEFENSE ATTORNEYS NOT TO WITHDRAW FROM THE CASE. THE JUDGE SUPPORTED THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND PREVENTED ROTH FROM ENTERING THE CASE BY REFUSING A SHORT POSTPONEMENT OF THE TRIAL.


TOM

ALL IN ALL, IT LOOKS LIKE A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE AND A VICTORY FOR THE AXIS.


JOE

IT CERTAINLY IS. TOM, AND THANKS FOR HAVING GIVEN ME THE OPPORTUNITY TELL THIS STORY. BECAUSE WHEN THE APPEAL COMES UP, IT IS IMPORTANT THIS TIME THERE BE A PUBLIC WHICH IS AWARE OF THE FACTS.


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