Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOS ANGELES, August 18 — Manuel Delgado, the first of the Sleepy Lagoon boys to be released from prison, spent his first day holding his wife's hand and stuffing envelopes for the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee.
To all the people who helped the case. Manuel speaking for himself and the other eleven others, said "Our unseen friends removed all the bitterness of the early months in prison. At first we figured we were behind bars because we're Mexicans. Now we know there are fighting people who don't believe in discrimination."
The Sleepy Lagoon trial of 18 months ago, which is now internationally famous, convicted 18 Mexican youths on a conspiracy charge of murder. Defense Attorneys Charles Katz, Leo Gallagher, and Ben Margolis appealed the trial before the Second Court of Appeals on the ground that the evidence is insufficient; that the judge was discriminatory in his conduct of the trial; that the defendants were denied their constitutional rights; and that there was an appeal to anti-Mexican prejudice by the district attorney. Decision by the appeals court is expected in September.
As the work of the Sleepy Lagoon Committee progressed, Manuel relates the improved attitude even in prison. "The guards and the supervisors became sympathetic and told us we had gotten a raw deal. They all read the SLEEPY LAGOON MYSTERY by Guy Endore."
Manuel has been paroled to the Teamsters Union and starts work truck driving next week. Before he was imprisoned, he had received common laborer's wages, although he did the work of a machinist's helper.
"I don't think the case is over by a long shot—just because I'm out on parole". Manuel continued, "There are still three guys in San Quentin who couldn't get out on parole for at least 10 years—and those of us who are getting out on parole want to see that murder conviction wiped off the record." Henry Leyvas, Chepe Ruiz, and Bobby Telles are still in San Quentin, the others, including Manuel were transferred to the Chino Honor prison.
Manuel relates that the boys in Chino are felling O. K. "Just getting impatient. They're convinced the case will be reversed."