Feb. 28, 1993: ATF raids a Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas
On Feb. 28, 1993, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided the compound of the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas, in an attempt to arrest leader David Koresh on weapons charges. Gunfire resulted in the deaths of four ATF agents and six cult members, and a 51-day standoff began. On April 19, the standoff ended when fires broke out inside the compound as tear gas was released by ATF agents. Seventy-six Branch Davidian members, including Koresh, were killed in the fire. Several of the 11 surviving Branch Davidians were convicted of aiding and abetting voluntary manslaughter.
Feb. 27, 1951: 22nd Amendment ratified
On Feb. 27, 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, setting a two-term limit to the office of president of the U.S. President Roosevelt is the only president to have served more than two terms. The amendment also states that no person who serves more than two years of a term which they were not elected to shall not be elected more than once.
Feb. 26, 1919: Grand Canyon established as U.S. National Park
On Feb. 26, 1919, the Grand Canyon officially became the 17th U.S. National Park. In 1906, the Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities allowed President Roosevelt to change the title of the Grand Canyon from national forest to national monument. In 1919, Congress, along with President Wilson, authorized the expansion of the monument to the status of national park.
Feb. 25, 1949: Actor Robert Mitchum released from jail
On Feb. 25, 1949, actor Robert Mitchum was released from a Los Angeles county jail where he spent 60 days for possession of marijuana. At the time, many people viewed his arrest as an unfair ploy to bring attention to the Los Angeles Police Department's anti-drug campaign. Attorneys argued the irregularity of the case, but Mitchum finally had to accept 60 days in jail and several years of probation.
Feb. 24, 1999: German national Karl LaGrand executed in Arizona
On Feb. 24, 1999, the state of Arizona executed Karl LaGrand for an attempted armed bank robbery in 1982 that resulted in the death of one man. Karl and his brother Walter, both German nationals, were convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
However, under the guidelines of consular relations of the Vienna Convention, U.S. authorities were to have informed the brothers of their right to receive consular assistance from the German government at the time of their arrest. Arizona authorities had failed to do so. The brothers appealed their sentences, but the federal courts rejected their arguments on the grounds of procedural default, which provides that issues cannot be raised in federal court appeals unless they have first been raised in state courts.
Diplomatic efforts on the part of German ambassadors failed to convince Arizona Gov. Jan Dee Hull, and Karl LaGrand was executed in Florence. Even legal actions within the International Court of Justice could not halt the execution of Walter LaGrand, who was put to death March 3 of that year.