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By Any Means Necessary: Judge David S. Terry and Justice Stephen J. Field

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California's Fourth Chief Justice, David S. Terry, was a violent man. Elected in 1855, he came down from the bench the following year to stab a San Francisco vigilante policeman in the neck with his fearsome Bowie knife. Convicted of murder by a vigilante jury, only Terry's judicial robes saved him from the hangman's noose. In 1859, he resigned from the bench to fight a de California's Fourth Chief Justice, David S. Terry, was a violent man. Elected in 1855, he came down from the bench the following year to stab a San Francisco vigilante policeman in the neck with his fearsome Bowie knife. Convicted of murder by a vigilante jury, only Terry's judicial robes saved him from the hangman's noose. In 1859, he resigned from the bench to fight a deadly duel with United States Senator David C. Broderick. By 1863, Terry had gone south to accept a colonel's commission in the Confederate Army. Twenty years later, he joined forces with a dishonest lawyer named George Washington Tyler to represent the alluring Sarah Althea Hill in a sensational court case that exposed the sexual escapades of San Francisco's rich and famous. Basing her case on a scrap of paper that she claimed was a contract for a secret marriage, Miss Hill sought to claim a share of the fortune of San Francisco's richest man, old Senator William Sharon of Nevada. Sharon swore that her marriage contract was a forgery. Terry lost his heart to his seductive young client and married her, despite the difference in their ages and her checkered past. When Terry's old court colleague, United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Field ruled against her, the stage was set for a deadly and tragic confrontation.


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California's Fourth Chief Justice, David S. Terry, was a violent man. Elected in 1855, he came down from the bench the following year to stab a San Francisco vigilante policeman in the neck with his fearsome Bowie knife. Convicted of murder by a vigilante jury, only Terry's judicial robes saved him from the hangman's noose. In 1859, he resigned from the bench to fight a de California's Fourth Chief Justice, David S. Terry, was a violent man. Elected in 1855, he came down from the bench the following year to stab a San Francisco vigilante policeman in the neck with his fearsome Bowie knife. Convicted of murder by a vigilante jury, only Terry's judicial robes saved him from the hangman's noose. In 1859, he resigned from the bench to fight a deadly duel with United States Senator David C. Broderick. By 1863, Terry had gone south to accept a colonel's commission in the Confederate Army. Twenty years later, he joined forces with a dishonest lawyer named George Washington Tyler to represent the alluring Sarah Althea Hill in a sensational court case that exposed the sexual escapades of San Francisco's rich and famous. Basing her case on a scrap of paper that she claimed was a contract for a secret marriage, Miss Hill sought to claim a share of the fortune of San Francisco's richest man, old Senator William Sharon of Nevada. Sharon swore that her marriage contract was a forgery. Terry lost his heart to his seductive young client and married her, despite the difference in their ages and her checkered past. When Terry's old court colleague, United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Field ruled against her, the stage was set for a deadly and tragic confrontation.

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