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THOMAS LEE WOOLWINE
District Attorney

1915-1923


District Attorney Thomas Lee Woolwine

Thomas Lee Woolwine

Public corruption and vice are high on the list of targets of this reform-minded prosecutor.

He even raided the prestigious California Club once in his zeal to control illegal liquor, gambling, prostitution and, most importantly, public corruption. Thomas Lee Woolwine, who began as a deputy district attorney in 1908, would go on as District Attorney to contribute to the downfall of two mayors, Charles Sabastian and Frederick Woodman, as well as leading and investigation of a particularly violent nest of Ku Klux Klansmen in Los Angeles. Woolwine obtained thirty-five grand jury indictments of Klansmen for assault with deadly weapons with the intent to commit murder after a Klan home-invasion slaying in Inglewood in 1922. None of the defendants were convicted, but Klan members heckled him from the audiences of his political campaign meetings from then on. Woolwine ran twice unsuccessfully for governor during his years as District Attorney.

Reprinted from FOR THE PEOPLE -- Inside the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office 1850-2000 by Michael Parrish. ISBN 1-883318-15-7