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462Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril personal struggles of some of the individuals and their families brings an all too familiar but all too forgotten truth to the fore. And even though modern media has portrayed police work as dangerous and wildly exciting at times, it is in reality usually mundane and tedious. But it is in tedium that we find Terrell County sheriff Bill Cooksey's best efforts at capturing the man who shot and very nearly killed the sheriff out in the Chihuahuan Desert. It was in Cooksey's tenacity, coupled with a certain stick-to-itiveness, and aided by many other determined lawmen that die years-long career of the Caveman Bandit was finally ended. But even the Caveman Bandit, a man named Alfredo Hernandez, at the time a thirty-one-year-old illegal Mexican national whose repeated nighttime border crossings were fraught with crimes ranging from tidy, nearly victimless break-ins to attempted murder, was given an air of respect in The Gun That Wasn't There. Hernandez was treated as both reticent and remorseful about his crimes and vengeful to the Mexican police who took him back to his home country, where he was to serve a lengthyjail sentence. Writing in novelistic fashion, Smith is able to give the reader a patchwork of people, their lives, beliefs, and apparent intents; well blended to bring out the story and catapult it above the typical newspaper or magazine crime story. Chapter thirteen, titled simply "Thursday Afternoon," is one of the most energizing , fast-paced, palm-sweating, and downright emotional passages appearing in nonfiction in a long, long time. This is the chapter immediately following the one dealing with the shooting of Sheriff Cooksey. In this chapter the reader is strapped in for a ride on an emotional tilt-a-whirl seemingly so furiously spun that the reader's eyes blur from the effort of keeping pace with the pages. The quick thinking of the two men who were with Cooksey when he was shot to free themselves from their bindings; the frenzy of motion as one of the men smashes a pickup truck's taillight so he can rip wires from it to hotwire the ignition; the speeding to a point where a passing locomotive could be flagged down and thus radio ahead for help; the rallying of nearby citizens from restaurant cashiers to ranchers and barbers in the manhunt for Hernandez. The reader may come away feeling as ifhe or she has vicariously participated in something truly heroic after reading "Thursday Afternoon." After downing a tall, cool glass of cold water, the reader should be rested enough to take up the hunt for Hernandez once again. The Gun That Wasn't There rivals many similar efforts in works of fiction in the crime genre. Katy, TexasDan Anderson "ColoredMen and Hombres Aquí": Hernandez v. Texas and the Rise ofMexican American Lawyering. By Michael A. Olivas. (Houston: Arte Público Press, 2006. Pp. 395. Notes, appendices. ISBN: 1-55885-476-2. $49.95, cloth.) In 1951 Pedro Hernandez, a service-station attendant, murderedjoe Espinosa, a tenant farmer, in an Edna tavern and was sentenced to 99 years in prison by an allwhitejury . It was not an unusual case, nor were the results extraordinary. Attorneys for Pedro "Pete" Hernandez questioned whether a Mexican-American defendant 2??8Book Reviews463 was really being tried by ajury of his peers when Mexican Americans were not allowed to serve onjuries in Texas. The Hernandez decision challenged the practice common in Texas and other Southwestern states of excluding Mexican Americans from sitting onjuries. The United States Supreme Court reversed the conviction, and in doing so, expanded the narrow interpretation of the 14dl Amendment diat held that civil rights applied only to African Americans. The Supreme Court handed down the Hernandez decision on May 3, 1954.Just two weeks later, on May 1 7, ChiefJustice Earl Warren read the Court's ruling on Brown v. Board ofEducation. In the half-century since those two rulings, the Brown decision has overshadowed the Court's earlier decision. Michael Olivas, of the University of Houston Law School, sheds light on this frequently overlooked civil rights case. He has assembled a collection...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 462-464
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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