The Champion

July 2012 , Page 58 

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Book Reviews: The Sleepy Lagoon Murder Case Race Discrimination and Mexican-American Rights

By Rachel Brill

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The Sleepy Lagoon Murder Case Race Discrimination and Mexican-American Rights

By Mark A. Weitz
University Press of Kansas (2010)

The Sleepy Lagoon Murder Case provides a detailed account of a lesser-known case exemplifying pervasive and persistent social and legal problems, lending insight to themes continuing to plague the American criminal justice system.

On Sunday morning, August 2, 1942, 22-year-old Jose Diaz was found barely conscious by a dirt road. He had spent the last Saturday night before his induction into military service at a birthday party for his 20-year-old neighbor Eleanor Delgadillo. Uninvited guests from the town of Downey, and kids from the Thirty-Eighth Street neighborhood, traded insults and later blows in various violent and bloody encounters that took place that night. Diaz was pronounced dead at the hospital of a cerebral concussion; he also suffered two knife wounds.

Following Diaz’ death, the Los Angeles police rounded up more than 600 Mexican-Americans on the

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