Justice Lost and Poetry Found

“THINGS,” as they say, “could always be worse.” Consider Tuco “the Ugly” Ramirez in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The first and second of his death penalty sentences are given below. Not everything bad-ass is Truly Bad-Ass. Poetry is where you find it.

(First)

Wanted in fourteen counties of this state,
the condemned is found guilty of the crimes of
murder,
armed robbery of citizens, state banks and post offices,
the theft of sacred objects,
arson in a state prison,
perjury,
bigamy,
deserting his wife

and children,
inciting prostitution,
kidnapping,
extortion,
receiving stolen goods,
selling stolen goods,
passing counterfeit money;
and contrary to the laws of this state,
the condemned is guilty of
using marked cards

and loaded dice.
Therefore, according to the powers vested in us,
we sentence the accused here before us,
Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez
[“known as ‘The Rat’ ”],
and any other aliases he might have,
to hang by the neck until dead.
May God have mercy on his soul.
Proceed.

(Second)

… Wanted in fifteen counties of this state,

the condemned, standing before us,—sitting before us,—

Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez,

has been found guilty by the Third District Circuit Court of the following crimes:

murder,

assaulting a Justice of the Peace,

raping a virgin of the white race,

statutory rape of a minor of the black race,

…of derailing a train in order to rob the passengers,

…bank robbery, highway robbery, robbing an unknown number of post offices.

…and breaking out of the state prison,

counterfeiting and passing counterfeit money;

…and the accused is also charged with using marked cards and loaded dice,

and promoting prostitution,

…guilty of crimes against places of high authority;

…blackmail,

intention of selling fugitive slaves,

… illegal postal pick up,

… guilty of crimes that include

burning down the courthouse and sheriff’s office in Sonora.

The condemned then hired himself out as guide to a wagon train.

After receiving his payment in advance, he deserted the wagon train on the hunting grounds of the Sioux Indians.

The condemned is also guilty of

cattle rustling,

horse thievery,

supplying Indians with firearms;

… and misrepresenting himself as a Mexican General

in order to receive a salary and living allowance

from the Union Army.

For all these crimes the accused has made

a full and spontaneous confession.

Therefore we condemn him

to be hanged by the neck until dead.

May the Lord have mercy on his soul.

Proceed.

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