Does anybody know anything about him? He's listed on the Ft. Smith database, but is not on the confirmed or unconfirmed list of deputies killed in action. I know that on August 4, 1891, Robert M. Hall shot and killed a James Yates in the Choctaw Nation. This in fact was one of the cases the Supreme Court overruled Judge Parker--150 US 76 (1893). But I don't know if the victim is the same USDM James Yates. Any information appreciated.
If I may answer my own post--I have discovered that the James Yates killed by Robert Hall is the same James Yates on the Ft. Smith USDM list. The reason he's not on the killed in action roster is that he was shot after a poker game in what appears to be a private dispute.
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Maybe Deputy Marshal James Yates was in that poker game as an "undercover" officer, investigating the rampant illegal gaming operations notorious within the Nation. Then, his killing would have been "in the line of duty", right?
There are many precedences of this sort of activity to rely upon. For example, Sheriff Buck Garrett of Carter County was often seen in gaming and bawdy houses in-and-around his little fiefdom of Ardmore; and, his explanation always was that he was "investigating the illegal activities" going on in these dastardly dens of iniquity. Furthermore, if the unconforming proprietors of these joints ever protested his visits, Buck relied on Bud Ballew to "iron" out the differences. Amen!?!
I have no idea what standards the National Park historians use, or how thoroughly they investigate these old cases, to determine if a particular deputy might qualify for the killed in the line of duty list. It would be a shame if Yates were involved in a scenario such as you outline for him not to receive any recognition.
I do have reason to suspect that Yates may not have been of the best character. When my great grandfather was in Ft. Smith for the trial of Alexander Lewis in 1891, he being the arresting officer and a chief prosecution witness, he had occasion to request a record of the arrests and convictions of USDM James Yates, which he records in his diary as costing him $2.00. (Question: as a USDM himself, and acting as an assistant to Prosecutor Clayton in the trial, you would think that the court would provide him with a transcription as a courtesy, free of charge. Perhaps his reason for doing this had nothing to do with the Lewis case.)
The trial of Robert M. Hall, who was originally convicted on August 17, 1894 of killing Yates, may be of some interest. During that trial, the prosecutor (presumably Clayton), attempting to show that Hall was a dangerous man, introduced into evidence the fact that Hall had been arrested and tried in Mississippi for murdering a "negro." The defense pointed out that Hall was acquitted of the charge. But then Clayton said something like, "Well, everybody knows a Mississippi court will not convict a white man for killing a negro." Despite the fact that many people, then and now, might agree that Clayton's statement may have had some measure of objective truth, the Supreme Court ruled this was improper argument and remanded the case back to Ft. Smith for a second trial. At that second trial Hall was acquitted.
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