Winks, Whispers, and Prosecutorial Discretion in Rural Iowa, 1925-1928
Annals of Iowa, 79:3 (Summer 2020), 247-83.
Posted: 6 Oct 2020
Date Written: July 30, 2020
Through the eyes of Charles Pendleton’s memoirs, this article walks through a rural community with a county attorney to consider how race, religion, gender, and sexuality influenced rural prosecutorial discretion in the early twentieth century. Rural communities like those in Buena Vista County, Iowa, where the article is centered, experienced “the law” through distinctly isolated geographies and social networks that lacked anonymity and thus shaped available methods of conflict resolution. But anonymity did not mean homogeneity. Ethnic, racial, and religious diversity created divisions within a community where social distance between individuals was small. Both onymity and diversity shaped who should have access to legal and nonlegal sanctions and remedies.
Available via EBSCOhost.
Keywords: Prosecutorial Discretion, Rural, Gender, Race, Legal History
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