Kangaroo Court

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Kangaroo Court : Phrases


A mock court, independent of regular legal procedure, set up by inmates (or others) to try a fellow prisoner for some alleged offense. Sometimes these are set up merely for amusement, as diversions against the tedium of imprisonment, and are then nothing but travesties of the legal process.


Instead of being given a fair trial, the foreigner was tried in a kangaroo court.


Coincides closely with the California gold rush of 1849. Perhaps in humorous allusion to the early purpose of such courts, to try jumpers who, resorting to desperate measures, seized the mining claims of others. These improvised courts were as irregular as in today's jails, and perhaps they were sometimes equally unfair.

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