Casey Tefertiller
Truly a Dream Team
Sat Nov 19, 8:38


You present a fascinating piece of sophistry on how Ike Clanton managed to select a remarkable bunch of boobs to run the prosecution of the Earps. You claim they were a bunch of mining attorneys who knew nothing of criminal law.

If that is the case, how did Number 1 boob Ben Goodrich get Ike off a month later when he was facing attempted murder charges for the near assassination of Virgil Earp? Did Goodrich suddenly become a much better lawyer? Did he brush up with a few classes at the University of Phoenix?

Actually, Goodrich got Ike Clanton, Fin Clanton and Ringo off on the attempted murder charge. Goodrich was considered the top criminal attorney in Tombstone at the time. The 42-year-old former Confederate cavalry officer, along with his brother Briggs, served as the attorney for most of the cowboy cases and had a remarkable record of success. His competence was one of the reasons Cochise County had so many problems.

Among the other Dream Team members was Marcus Aurelius Smith, already a powerhouse attorney at the age of 29. He had studied law at Kentucky University and became a partner with the Goodrich brothers.

James Robinson had already served as a district attorney in Texas and a judge in Fort Smith, Ark., before arriving in Tombstone.

Alexander Campbell, 61, attended the College of Bedford in England before moving to New York to study law. He was named district attorney of Queen’s County, N.Y., at the age of 23. He then went west to California and was a defense attorney in several of the biggest cases in that city during the 1870s. Tom Fitch wrote a glowing tribute to his friend Aleck upon his death. This is the same Tom Fitch who had faced him in the courtroom, trying to save Wyatt Earp's life.

Ike raised about $10,000 to prosecute the Earps, tying up the top attorneys in town. Behan signed a loan guarantee for Ike as well. Ike also hired the firms of Colby & Smith; Smith, Earll, Campbell & Robinson; and J.M. Murphy. That is a whole load of lawyers watching Goodrich’s back and assuring there would be no mistakes. All that, plus District Attorney Lyttleton Price, who appears to have played a very small role.

Attorneys flocked to Southern Arizona because the mining cases were so lucrative. That was not all they did, as can be seen above. The Goodrich bros spent much of their time defending the likes of Ike, Ringo and the other troublemakers.

In trying to understand the Spicer Hearing, it is critical to realize these were not a batch of rube attorneys, fumbling around day after day. This was a collection of the best legal talent in the region, brought together to try to send the Earps and Holliday to a noose.

These were not boobs and fools, who would fumble a case with stupid mistakes. The problem was not the lawyers, rather it was the clients.

PS — I wrote an article on this that appears in the Wyatt Earp Anthology.

  • Apparently, the 'dream team'...Joyce A. Aros, Thu Nov 17 7:32
    ...slept soundly through some exciting information. Especially as one on the Prosecution side was reported to be a criminal Lawyer. I can't tell if we ever heard from him with his expertise, but he may... more
    • Truly a Dream Team — Casey Tefertiller, Sat Nov 19 8:38
      • Casey/ a little more about...Joyce A. Aros, Sun Nov 20 6:48
        ...the 'dream team,' on both sides. I am really concerned about the willingness to accept the outstanding credentials of these men and yet I see what I consider very poor performance. I suspicion their... more
        • Let's try againCasey Tefertiller, Mon Nov 21 8:51
          Joyce, Let me try again. The purpose for attorneys on both sides was to win the case. That was their sole purpose. They were not trying to create a historical record because they anticipated... more
          • Casey/ trying again...Joyce A. Aros, Tue Nov 22 7:29
            Casey, Thank you for the crash course as there is always much to learn when it comes to complications of the Law at any time in history, and more so now. And in all fairness, one has to recognize that... more
            • Re: Casey/ trying again...Casey Tefertiller, Wed Nov 23 10:34
              Joyce, Before I can respond, I need to ask a couple of questions. First, why do you believe Billy Clanton was still sitting on his horse? I would have expected he would have dismounted, but that... more
              • To continue,,,,,Joyce A. Aros, Wed Nov 23 15:58
                ...I think you are being a little unfair in assuming Ike was 'shooting off his mouth' to anyone he could. Actually, other than the episode in the courtroom after Virgil arrested him, no one who witnessed... more
              • Casey/ Thank you for your kindness....Joyce A. Aros, Wed Nov 23 13:44
                ...regarding the Holliday time. People my age find that most of their family are spread all over the country and time and distance make a difference in gathering together. No one comes to grandma's house... more