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COURT FOR THE TRIAL NEGROES

A special court for the trial of blacks was created during the term of Governor Patrick Gordon (1726 – 1736). Justices of the peace and six local freeholders were empowered to hear, try, and convict black or mulatto slaves that were charged with capital crimes. Court was held in the county courthouse, and the sheriff executed the judgement. Masters were partially compensated whenever their slaves were sentenced to die.1 In 1789 this act was repealed, and slaves were tried for capital offenses in the Court of General Quarter Sessions.2

The Court was partially reinstituted in 1797 for one crime. Two justices of the peace were to summon by warrant six freeholders to try black and mulatto slaves who attempted to rape white women.3 In 1827 this authority was also transferred to the Court of General Quarter Sessions.4

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COURT FOR THE TRIAL OF NEGROES

1 1 D.L., ch. 43.

2 2 D.L., ch. 194.

3 2 D.L., ch. 124.

4 7 D.L., ch. 50.

rlg/Before June 15, 1987; January 28, 1988; January 29, 1988; January 4, 1989; February 8, 1989