Hang on These Words

Issac C. Parker in Arkansas

Issac C. Parker was known as the “Hanging Judge.” He ruled the Western District of Arkansas court between 1875 and 1896, and he earned his nickname. During his term on the federal bench, he tried 13,490 cases, getting guilty pleas or convictions in 9,454 of them. Of those cases, 344 were for capital offenses that carried a possible death penalty. He sentenced 160 to hang–156 men and 4 women–and 79 actually did. The first woman tried for a serious crime in his court was none other than Outlaw Belle Starr, who was up on horse stealing charges. She was convicted and sentenced to five months in prison. And oh yes, Parker wasn’t just a strict judge, he also was elected a congressman from Missouri.

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