FROM: SLEEPY LAGOON DEFENSE COMMITTEE
FOR IMMEDIATE RE[illegible data]
Completing the final steps in preparation for the filing of the official brief for appeal to the appellate court of the Sleepy Lagoon case, in which 17 Mexican youth were condemned for a crime of which they were not guilty, Defense Attorney Ben Margolis made clear the summation of the previous trial, as evidenced in the recorded testimony.
Mr. Margolis' statement follows: "In the Sleepy Lagoon case, the prosecution can proudly claim that it secured the conviction of more defendants for a single death than has ever been obtained in the history of California. To this claim can be added the facts: first, that 12 boys so convicted averaged about 17 or 18 years of age; second, that the boys, with one exception, were all of Mexican origin; third, that there is no direct proof that any one of the boys ever touched the boy whom they were charged with murdering; and fourth, it is clear that most of the boys were not at or near the spot where the killing allegedly occurred.
"This is indeed a remarkable accomplishment. How was it achieved? The full answer to this question will require a several hundred page brief. Part of the answer to this question, however, appears from the District Attorney's argument to the jury when he told them was "a smidgen of truth" in the statements of a police officer that all Mexicans are cowards and Mexicans don't fight fair.
"It was not just these boys who were on trial. The Mexican people were being tried. And the trial took place not only in the courtroom but in the press with its barrage of lies against the "Mexican pachucos" and "zoot suiters," and before the Grand Jury where a sheriff's report characterizing the Mexican people as bloodthirsty wildcats was submitted.
"The boys were arrested as the result of a most vicious drag-net; statements were obtained from them through brutal third degree methods; a trial was had in which they were denied the right to sit with their own counsel; and prejudicial errors too numerous even to mention were committed during the course of the trial.
"These are some of the explanations for the convictions. Yes, these boys were convicted. So was the Mexican community. Neither is guilty. The blot against both must be removed."