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Hare. Robbery of the Mail, foc.
Rhodes, ex parte
559 Ryan. Murder,
47 Robinson. Petit Larceny,
240 Rood. Habeas Corpus,
541 Row. Jurisdiction,
607 Schooner Conception.
597 Sloop Pitt,
602 Smith. Murder,
79 Stamford. Assault, with attempt to commit a Rape, 152 Skinner. Motion to discharge,
232 Susan. A Woman of Colour. Fugitive,
594 Tracy. Libel,
358 Tilton. False Pretences,
251 Tuhi. Murder,
242 Turner. Habeas Corpus,
615 Thompson. Malicious Stabbing, discharge of a jury, 473 Travers." Murder,
490 Thurston. Nuisance,
518 Turner. Habeas Corpus,
615 Wood. Aiding and abetting in the robbery of the Mail. 325 Williams. Murder,
153 Ward. Manslaughter,
122 Wentworth et al. Larceny.
THE SECOND VOLUME.
Having completed the second volume of Criminal Law Cases, with apparent satisfaction to the profession, (of which my greatest pride is to be considered a member, although an humble one,) I have thought it might be useful, particularly to the young student, who is desirous of becoming acquainted with criminal jurisprudence, to introduce these cases to his notice, by a short and succinct view of the criminal laws of our country.
The importance of an accurate knowledge of criminal law has never been disputed; but the difficulty of obtaining it has often been acknowledged. The humiliating fact, that we are almost entirely indebted to English cases and decisions on this branch of the law cannot be denied. The evils which must result from such a system are altogether incalculable. The criminal jurisprudence of a republic must, of course, vary most essentially from that of a country governed on monarchical principles; and we will venture to affirm, that no kingdom on earth presents to the American jurist a chain of precedents calculated to produce an enlarged, correct, and enlightened view of the criminal code of the United States.For this we are to look to our own courts and our own adjudications. The civil jurisprudence of our country is its greatest ornament. In most of the states of the Union, eminent professional gentlemen have been selected to report the proceedings of their courts of justice. Voluminous reports have been made: many with great accuracy and learning; altogether forming a body of law as creditable to themselves, as useful to their country. But from these reports, criminal trials and decisions are almost entirely excluded. This is owing to the circumstance, that trials of this nature do not take place (with but few exceptions) in the supreme courts of the respective states, but at the circuits and courts of oyer and terminer, and sessions, &c. Some few, indeed, are removed into the supreme court, where merely the law argument is reported; in other states the appeal lies directly to the legislature, and the case thereby entirely escapes the attention of the reporter. The consequence has been, that few reported trials of a criminal nature are to be found in the United States. To supply this deficiency, these reports have been undertaken, and they will be continued until all the cases are collected and published, if the same support is offered that the work has hitherto received. VOL. II.
This work is designed to bring together, in a few volumes, all the criminal cases that have occurred in this country since the revolution, making together a complete body of American State Trials. Of the importance of this publication, perhaps I ought not to speak. It is designed for gentlemen who are able and willing to judge for themselves. Many of them have expressed their astonishment to me that no attempt has been made to collect them before; and that they are much gratified that exertions are now made to rescue from oblivion, criminal trials which, in their day, agitated the community, and called forth the talents of the first men of the age.
Having said thus much in reference to the work itself, I proceed lo a short analysis of the criminal laws of the United States.
A crime is an act committed or omitted, in violation of the public laws, either forbidding or commanding it. 4 Blac. Com. 5.
2 Hawk. P.C. In the early ages of society, crimes were defined and punished ch. 23. Spen- by the party injured, or by his relatives. His. Law Tracis, chap. cer's State of 1. See also, 4 Blac. Com. 313. relative to appeals, which evidently Ireland. p. grew out of the right of the suffering party, or his relatives, to 1513.
redress the injury. In the very early periods of society, those actions, even the most atrocious, which are now viewed and prosecuted solely as crimes against the state, were considered and resented merely as private injuries. In those ages, the conceptions of men were too crude to consider an injury done to an individual, as a crime committed against the public ; they viewed it only as a prejudice to the party, or the relations of the party, who were immediately affected. The privilege of resenting private injuries, in the opinion of a very ingenious writer on the History of the Criminal Law, was that private right which was the latest of being surrendered to society. An improvement in government so opposite to a strong propensity of human nature, could not have been instantaneous. The progressive steps, leading to its completion, were slow and almost imperceptible. 3 Wils. 7.
As society progressed in the improvements of art and science, it was found as inconvenient as it was dangerous to entrust this power into the hands of individuals. It was found, that although the crime might be correctly defined, the punishment was often tyrannical and arbitrary. It was found, that when the definition of the crime and its punishment depended more upon the passions and feelings of the party injured, or his relatives, than upon any settled rule of law, punishment could neither be certain or equal.
Necessity, the Necessity, therefore, compelled the sovereign power not only to rule of defini- explain and define the crime, but to apportion the punishment. tion and pun
Necessity is a rule to determine what act is a crime, and what ishment kind and degree of punishment ought to be inflicted upon a delin
quent for the commission of it. “Every act of authority," says Beccaria, "of one man over another, for which there is not an absolute necessity, is tyrannical. It is upon this, then, that the sovereign's right to punish crimes is founded ; that is, upon the neces