Not wanting to hijack an earlier thread on White on Black crime. The consensus seemed to be that a lot of prosecutors would probably not ‘waste’ a lot of resources on White on Black crime, but how about Black on Black. So, one guy caps another. They have a suspect, some evidence, and some witnesses. In general, do they take it to court?
There is an issue of the Literary Digest (sorry I don’t have the exact issue) from the 30s that covered black on black murders. It noted (at least in the South) jail sentences for black on black murder were much lower than white on white murder, often just being a few years. It suggested the reason was Southern juries were all white and they just didn’t consider murder in the black community a big deal. Some states were even considering allowing blacks on juries as long as all involved in a murder were black (no word whether any did, and I seriously doubt they would). That’s clearly a different issue than whether cases were even brought to trial.
Thought this would be a promising lead:
In December 1917, Ledbetter was arrested and charged with murder and was found guilty. Prison is where it seems he picked up the nickname Lead Belly. In early 1924, only a few years into a 20-year sentence, Lead Belly sang for Texas governor Pat Neff a song in which he asked for a pardon. A year later, Neff pardoned Lead Belly and he was a free man.
20 years beats hanging, but not exactly trivial
From a purely racist view: one black killing another? Cool! One dead and the other goes to prison. a 2-fer!