The Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee (formerly the Citizen's
Committee for the Defense of Mexican American Youth) formed in 1942 in reaction to the
indictment of 22 young men for murder. 12 defendants were convicted of first degree murder.
The Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee raised funds to appeal the case and roused public
opinion through education and publicity programs. In 1944 the original judgment was
overturned. The collection contains correspondence, publications, publicity materials, radio
scripts, office records, a transcript of the Sleepy Lagoon trial, and research materials
including articles about Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles. Portions of the
collection are in Spanish.
The Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee (first known as the Citizens' Committee for the Defense
of Mexican American Youth) was organized in October 1942 in response to the indictment of 22
young men for murder; all defendants but one were Mexican American; 12 defendants were
convicted of first degree murder by Superior Court of Los Angeles County; Sleepy Lagoon
Defense Committee raised funds for the appeal of the case and roused public opinion through
education and publicity programs; judgments and decisions of the lower court were reversed
by the District Court of Appeal of the state of California, 2nd Appellate District, October
4, 1944.In August 1942, 22 defendants, all Mexican Americans but one, were indicted by the grand
jury of Los Angeles county for the murder of José Diaz, whose death occurred at a party on
the Williams ranch in the city of Los Angeles near a little pond called the Sleepy Lagoon.
12 were convicted of first degree murder by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County; the
case was appealed to the District Court of Appeal of the state of California, 2nd Appellate
District, where the judgments and decisions of the lower court were reversed (October 4,
5.5 Linear Feet
(11 boxes and 2 oversize boxes)
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