In Bailey v. Alabama, the supreme court weakens state statutes that supported peonage, finding them in violation of the thirteenth amendment.
1911 (Jan 15)
The U.S. supreme court, in Bailey v. Alabama, weakened state statutes that supported peonage, a contractual form of involuntary servitude incurred by debt. After reconstruction, many Blacks in the South were desperate for money and fell into such contracts to work. The defendant, Alonzo Bailey, had been convicted by an Alabama state court for violating his contract because he left his job before his contract was up, still owing money to his employer. In such cases, Alabama law presumed an intent to defraud, and the defendant was prohibited from testifying otherwise. The high court, however, found that the law breached the U.S. constitution's presumption of innocence by disallowing a defendant to testify and make a case. State statutes that supported peonage were also found in violation of the thirteenth amendment and federal anti-peonage laws.