Miners' court

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A miners' court was a type of quasi-judicial court common in the American Old West that summoned a subset of the miners in a district when a dispute arose. It was made to retain order and decide punishments within mining communities. A presiding officer or judge was elected and a jury was selected. Other systems that were used included alcaldes and arbitration. In the event a decision was disputed, a mass meeting of the mining camp could be called to allow a dissatisfied party to plead his case and possibly get the decision reversed.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boggs, Johnny D. Great Murder Trials of the Old West. Piano: Republic of Texas Press, 2003.
  • Burns, John F., and Richard J. Orsi. Taming the Elephant: Politics, Government, and Law in Pioneer California. Berkeley: U of California, 2003.
  • Marshall, Thomas M. "The Miners' Laws of Colorado." American Historical Review 25.3 (1920): 426-39.

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