Thursday, April 23, 2009

I love a good mystery

Robert K. Tanenbaum is a trial lawer and teaches Advanced Criminal Procedure at the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law.
Appomattox did not bring an end to the sniping and ambushes. Of the ten children, male and female, of Moses and Ransome, only two escaped murder long enough to survive into the twentieth century. Of the two, the report took particular notice of Ransome Cade (1864-1937), who brought a new level of ferocity and cunning to the feud. Devil Rance, as he was known, moved his clan away from his agricultural roots, replacing this as a source of income with a variety of criminal interprises. He ran moonshine; he stole horses and rustled cattle; he could break a limb or a head for cash up front. He also ran a primitive protection racket among the local illicit distilleries. Most significantly, he consolidated the tribal property into a single hollow around Canker Run on Burnt Creek. This settlement was approachable only by a narrow, winding road and was surrounded on three sides by nearly impenetrable growth. From this fortress, Devil Rance fell like a robber baron upon his enemies and retreated with impunity. He held to the theory that the secession of West Virginia had been an illegal act, and that the state had no authority over him or his. Moreover, neither had the United States, since Virginia had seceded from the Union and the part of it that comprised West Virginia had never been legally reincorporated.

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