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Lawless Idaho: The People v. John Williams (1866)
MRIC 2012/13

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"Lawless Idaho: The People v. John Williams (1866)"

Dennis Colson
Professor Emeritus of Law
University of Idaho

April 2- 12:30 p.m.
Whitewater Room, Idaho Commons

On March 4, 1863, Congress passed An Act to Provide a Temporary Government for the Territory of Idaho. The purpose of the Act was to bring the law to Idaho: statutes, prosecutors, courts, prisons.  However, according to the judgment of the Territorial Supreme Court in The People v. John Williams (1866), instead of bringing the law to Idaho, the Act created a period of lawlessness lasting from the creation of the Territory until February 4, 1864, when the first Territorial Assembly passed An Act Concerning Crimes and Punishments.  How could this be?

Dennis Colson is the author of Idaho's Constitution: the Tie That Binds (1991), which describes and interprets the proceedings and debates of the 1889 Constitutional Convention. Colson earned his J.D., summa cum laude, at the University of Denver, practiced in Los Angeles and Denver, and taught at the University of Toledo College of Law. He joined the University of Idaho faculty in 1975, retiring in 2007.  
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