« EdellinenJatka »
averse to act, it may be granted by a mandatory writ, called a supplicavit, issuing out of the court of king's bench or chancery; which will compel the justice to act; as a ministeral and not as a judicial officer: and he must make a return to such writ, specifying his compliance, under his hand and seal (g). But this writ is seldom used : for, when application is made to the superior courts, they usually take the recognizances there, under the
directions of the statute 21 Jac. I. c. 8. And indeed a peer or peeress [*254) cannot be bound over in any other place than the courts of *king's
bench or chancery (4): though a justice of the peace has a power to require sureties of any other person, being compos mentis and under the degree of nobility, whether he be a fellew-justice or other magistrate, or whether he be merely a private man (h). Wives may demand it against their husbands ; or husbands, if necessary, against their wives (i). But feme coverts, and infants under age, ought to find security by their friends only, and not to be bound themselves : for they are incapable of engaging themselves to answer any debt ; which, as we observed, is the nature of these recognizances or acknowledgments.
3. A recognizance may be discharged, either by the demise of the king, to whom the recognizance is made; or by the death of the principal party bound thereby, if not before forseited ; or by order of the court to which such recognizance is certified by the justices (as the quarter sessions, , assises, or king's bench), if they see sufficient cause ; or in case he at whose request it was granted, if granted upon a private account, will release it, or does not make his appearance to pray that it may by continued (k).
Thus far what has been said is applicable to both species of recognizances, for the
peace, and for the good behaviour : de pace, et legalitae, tuenda, as expressed in the laws of king Edward. But as these two species of securities are in some respects different, especially as to the cause of granting, or the means of forfeiting them, I shall now consider them separately: and first, shall shew for what cause such a recognizance, with sureties for the peace, is grantable ; and then, how it may be forfeited.
1. Any justice (5) of the peace may, ex officio, bind all those to keep the peace, who in his presence make any affray; or threaten to kill or beat
another ; or contend together with hot and angry words ; or go [*255] about with unusual weapons *or attendance, to the terror of the
people ; and all such as he knows to be common barretors; and such as are brought before him by the constable for a breach of peace in his presence; and all such persons, as, having been before bound to the peace, have broken it and forfeited their recognizances (?). Also, wherever any private man hath just cause to fear that another will burn his house, or do him a corporal injury, by killing, imprisoning, or beating him; or that he will procure others so to do; he may demand surety of the peace against such person : and every justice of the peace is bound to grant it, if he who demands it will make oath, that he is actually under fear of death or bodily harm; and will shew that he has just cause to be so, by reason of the other's menaces, attempts, or having lain in wait for him ; (g) F. N. B. 80. 2 P. Wms. 202.
(k) I Hawk. P. C. 129. (h) 1 Hawk. P. C. 127.
(1) Ibid. 126. (i) Stra. 1207.
(4) A peeress may demand surety of the I Burr. 631, 703. I T. R. 696. peace against her husband. Fost. 359. 2 (5) See note 29. p. 350, book 1, as to law of Stra. 1202. 13 East, 171. N. Cas. T. Hard. 74. New-York, and 2 R. S. 704.
will also farther swear, that he does not require such surety out of malice, or for mere vexation (m) (6). This is called swearing the peace against another : and, if the party does not find such sureties, as the justice in his discretion shall require, he may immediately be committed till he does (n).
2. Such recognizance for keeping the peace, when given, may be forfeited by any actual violence, or even an assault
, or menace, to the person of him who demanded it, if it be a special recognizance; or, if the recognizance be general, by any unlawful action whatsoever, that either is or tends to a breach of the peace ; or more particularly, by any one of the many species of offences which were mentioned as crimes against the public peace in the eleventh chapter of this book : or, by any private violence committed against any of his majesty's subjects. But a bare trespass upon the lands or goods of another, which is a ground for a civil action, unless accompanied with a wilful breach of the peace, is no forfeiture of the recognizance (0). Neither are mere reproachful words, as calling a man knave or liar, any breach of the peace, so as to forfeit one's recognizance (being *looked upon to be merely the effect of unmeaning heat and pas- [* 256] sion), unless they amount to a challenge to fight (p).
The other species of recognizance, with sureties, is for the good abear. ance or good behaviour. This includes security for the peace, and somewhat more ; we will therefore examine it in the same manner as the other.
1. First, then, the justices are empowered by the statute 34 Edw. III. c. 1. to bind over to the good behaviour towards the king and his people, all them that be not of good fame, wherever they be found; to the intent that the people be not troubled nor endamaged, nor the peace diminished, nor merchants and others, passing by the highways of the realm, be disturbed nor put in the peril which may happen hy such offenders (7). Under the general words of this expression, that be not of good fame, it is holden that a man may be bound to his good behaviour for causes of scandal, contra bonos mores, as well as contra pacem : as, for haunting bawdy-houses with women of bad fame; or for keeping such women in his own house ; or for words tending to scandalize the goverment, or in abuse of the officers of justice, especially in the execution of their office. Thus also a justice may bind over all night-walkers ; eaves-droppers ; such as keep suspicious company, or are reported to be pilferers or robbers ; such as sleep in the day, and wake in the night ; common drunkards; whoremasters ; the putative fathers of bastards ; cheats ; idle vagabonds; and other persons whose misbehaviour may reasonably bring them within the general words of the statues, as persons not of good fame: an expression, it must be owned, of so great a latitude, as leaves much to be determined by the discretion of the magistrate himself. But if he commits a man for want of
(6) The surety of the peace will not be taken immediately. 2 Stra. 1202. 13 East, granted but where there is a fear of some pre- 17), n. If the articles manifestly appear to sent or future danger, and not merely for a contain perjury, the court will refuse the apbattery or trespass, or for any breach of the plication, and even commit the exhibitant. % peace that is past. Dalt. c. 11.
Burr. 806. 3 Burr. 1922. The articles will The articles to entitle a party to have sure- not be received if the parties live at a distance ties of the peace must be verified by the path in the county, unless they have previously of the exhibitant. 1 Stra. 527. 12 Mod. 243. made application to a justice in the neigh. The truth of the allegations therein cannot be bourhood, 2 Burr. 780 ; unless the defendant controverted by the defendant, and if no ob. be very old, &c. 2 Stra. 835. 2 Burr. 1039. jections arise to the articles exhibited, the 1 Bla. Rep. 233. S. C. court or justice will order securities to be (7) See note (1), ante, 253. VOL. II.
sureties, he must express the cause thereof with convenient certainty; and
take care that such cause be a good one (9). [*257] *2. A recognizance for the good behaviour may be forfeited by
all the same means, as one for the security of the peace may be; and also by some others. As, by going armed with unusual attendance, to the terror of the people ; by speaking words tending to sedition ; or by committing any of those acts of misbehaviour, which the recognizance was intended to prevent. But not by barely giving fresh cause of suspicion of that which perhaps may never actually happen (r): for, though it is just to compel suspected persons to give security to the public against misbehaviour that is apprehended; yet it would be hard, upon such suspicion, without the proof of any actual crime, to punish them by a forfeiture of their recognizance (8).
OF COURTS OF A CRIMINAL JURISDICTION (1).
The sixth, and last, object of our inquiries will be the method of inflictiny those punishments, which the law has annexed to particular offences; and which I have constantly subjoined to the description of the crime itself. In the discussion of which I shall pursue much the same general method that I followed in the preceding book, with regard to the redress of civil injuries : by, first, pointing out the several courts of criminal jurisdiction, wherein offenders may be prosecuted to punishment; and by, secondly, deducing down, in their natural order, and explaining, the several proceedings therein.
First, then, in reckoning up the several courts of criminal jurisdiction, I shall, as in the former case, begin with an account of such as are of a public and general jurisdiction throughout the whole realm ; and, afterwards, proceed to such as are only of a private and special jurisdiction, and confined to some particular parts of the kingdom.
I. In our inquiries into the criminal courts of public and general jurisdiction, I must in one respect pursue different order from that in which I considered the civil tribunals. For there, as the several courts had a gradual subordination to each other, the superior correcting and reform
(2) 1 Hawk. P. C. 132.
(r) Ibid. 133.
(8) See 7 Geo. IV. c. 64, 931, and 3 Geo. is also a court of general sessions in each IV. c. 46, 937; also I R. S. 632.
county, which has cognizance of all offences (1) In New-York, the lowest criminal court not punishable with death or imprisonnent in is the special sessions, which consists of three the state.prison for life, and of other, matters. justices of the peace, or a judge of the coun. (See 2 R. S. 208, $ 4.)' In each county iwice iy and two justices ; and has cognizance of every year the court of oyer and terminer all cases of petit larceny charged as a first sits, and has cognizance of the greatest ofoffence, and of other smaller offences. (See 2 fences. (2 R. S. 201, 94, and 205, ¢ 29.) Bills R. S. 711, 91.) The trial is by jury. In the of exceptions may be taken to the decisions of city of New York, the court consists of any these courts and carried to the supreme court. three of the judges of the common pleas, of (Id. 736, 9 21, &c.) Writs of error also lie on whom the first judge, the major, or recorder iheir judgments, (Id. 740, Ø 14,) but proceed. must be one ; and there is no jury : but the ings are not stayed of course. (Id. 736, 0 23: accused may, when sentence is pronounced, 740, 916, &c.) appeal, and then the sentence is void. There
ing the errors of the inferior, I thought it best to begin with the lowest, and so ascend gradually to the courts of appeal, or those of *the most extensive powers. But as it is contrary to the genius [*259] and spirit of the law of England, to suffer any man to be tried twice for the same offence in a criminal way, especially if acquitted upon the first trial ; therefore these criminal courts may be said to be all independent of each other ; at least so far, as that the sentence of the lowest of them can never be controlled or reversed by the highest jurisdiction in the kingdom, unless for error in matter of law, apparent upon the face of the record ; though sometimes causes may be removed from one to the other before trial. And therefore as, in these courts of criminal cognizance, there is not the same chain and dependence as in the others, I shall rank them according to their dignity, and begin with the highest of all; viz.
1. The high court of parliament ; which is the supreme court in the kingdom, not only for the making, but also for the execution of laws; by the trial of great and enormous offenders, whether lords or commoners, in the method of parliamentary impeachment (2). As for acts of parliament to attaint particular persons of treason or felony, or to inflict pains and penalties, beyond or contrary to the common law, to serve a special purpose, I speak not of them ; being to all intents and purposes new laws, made pro re nata, and by no means an execution of such as are already in being. But an impeachment before the lords by the commons of Great Britain, in parliament, is a prosecution of the already known and established law, and has been frequently put in practice; being a presentment to the most high and supreme court of criminal jurisdiction by the most solemn grand inquest of the whole kingdom (a). A commoner cannot however be impeached before the lords for any capital offence, but only for high misdemeanors (6): a peer may be impeached for any *crime [*260] (3), (4). And they usually in case of an impeachment of a peer (a) I Hal. P. C. * 150.
judges of the parliament, have taken upon them, in (b) When, in 4 Edw. III., the king demanded the the presence of our lord the king, to make and renearls, barons, and peers, to give judgment against der the said judgment, yet the peers who now are, Simon de Bereford, who had been a notorious ac- or shall be in time to come, be not bound or charge complice in the treasons of Roger earl of Mortimer, ed to render judgment upon others than peers; nor they came before the king in parliament, and said that the peers of the land have power to do this, all with one voice, that the said Simon was not their but thereof ought ever to be discharged and acpeer; and
therefore they were not bound to judge quitted; and that the aforesaid judgment now ren. him as a peer of the land. And when afterwards, dered be not drawn to example or consequence in in the same parliament, they were prevailed upon, time to come, whereby the said peers may be charge in respect of the notoriety and heinousness of his ed hereafter to judge others than their peers, concrimes, to receive the charge, and to give judgment trary to the laws of the land, if the like case hapagainst him, the following protest and proviso was pen, which God forbid." (Rot. Parl. 4 Ed. III. n. entered in the Parliament-roll:-." And it is assented 2 & 6. 2 Brad. Hist. 190. Selden. judic. in parl. and accorded by our lord the king, and all the great ch. 1.) men, in full parliament, that albeit the peers, as
(2) The house of representatives of the U. viz. in treason, selony, misprision of treason, 8. has the sole power of jmpeachment, (Const. and misprision of felony : and the statute law Art. 1. sect. 2, 0 5,) the senate the sole power which gives such trial, hath reference unto of trying impeachments, and two thirds of the these, or to other offences made treason or members must concur. (Id. sect. 3. 96.) The felony ; his trial by his peers shall be as belike provision exists in New York, as to the fore ; and to this effect are all these statutes, impeachment of the civil officers of the state viz. 32 H. VIII. c. 4, Rastall 404, pl. 10; 33 (Const. New.York, Art. 5, sect. 1, 2.) A judg. H. VIII. c. 12, Rastall 415; 35 H. VIII. c. 2, ment on impeachment in either case does not Rastall 416 ; and in all these express mention extend further than to removal and disqualifi- is made of trial by peers. But in this case of cation from offices : but this does not prevent a præmunire, the same being only in effect an indictment for the same crime.
but a contempt, no trial shall be here in this (3) For misdemeanors, as libels, riots, &c. of a peer by his peers.” Per Fleming, C. J., peers are to be tried, like commoners, by a assented to by the whole court, in Rex v. jury, for, "at the common law, in these four Lord Vaux, 1 Bulstr. 197. cases only, a peer shall be tried by his peers, (4) But according to the last resolution of
for treason) address the crown to appoint a lord high steward for the greater dignity and regularity of their proceedings; which high steward was formerly elected by the peers themselves, though he was generally commissioned by the king (c); but it hath of late years been strenuously maintained (d), that the appointment of an high steward in such cases is not indispensably necessary, but that the house may proceed without one. The articles of impeachment are a kind of bills of indictment, found by the house of commons, and afterwards tried by the lords ; who are in cases of misdemeanors considered not only as their own peers, but as the peers of the whole nation. This is a custom derived to us from the constitution of the ancient Germans ; who in their great councils sometimes tried capital accusations relating to the public : “ licet apud consilium accusare quoque, et discrimen capitis intendere (e).” And it has a peculiar propriety in the English constitution; which has much improved upon the ancient model imported bither from the continent. For, though in general the union of the legislative and judicial powers ought to be more carefully avoided (f), yet it may happen that a subject, intrusted with the adminis
tration of public affairs, may infringe the rights of the people, and [*261] be guilty of such crimes, as the ordinary magistrate either *dares
not or cannot punish. Of these the representatives of the people, or house of commons, cannot properly judge ; because their constituents are the parties injured, and can therefore only impeach. But before what court shall this impeachment be tried ? Not before the ordinary tribunals, which would naturally be swayed by the authority of so powerful an accuser. Reason therefore will suggest, that this branch of the legislature, which represents the people, must bring its charge before the other branch, which consists of the nobility, who have neither the same interests nor the same passions as popular assemblies (g). This is a vast superiority, which the constitution of this island enjoys, over those of the Grecian or Roman republics ; where the people were at the same time both judges and accusers, It is proper that the nobility should judge, to insure justice to the accused; as it is proper that the people should accuse, to insure justice to the commonwealth. And therefore, among other extraordinary circumstances attending the authority of this court, there is one of a very singular nature, (c) 1 Hal. P. C. 350.
(e) Tacit. de mor. Germ. 12. (d) Lords' Journ. 12 May, 1679. Com. Journ. 15 (1) See Book. II. page 269. May, 1679. Fost. 142, 4c.
(8) Montesq. Sp. L. xi. 6.
the house of lords, a commoner may be im- ing published a proclamation of James the peached for a capital offence.-On the 26th of Second. On the 2d of July a long report March, 1680, Edward Fitzharris, a commoner, precedents was produced, and a question was was impeached by the commons of high trea: put to the judges whether the record 4 Edw.
Upon which the attorney-general ac- III. No. 6, was a statute. They answered, as quainted the peers that he had an order from it appeared to them by the copy, they believed the king to prosecute Fitzharris by indict. it to be a statute; but if they saw the roll itment, and a question thereupon was put whe- sels, they could be more positive. It was then ther he should be proceeded against according moved to ask the judges, but the motion was to the course of the common law or by way negatived, whether by this record the lords of impeachment, and it was resolved against were barred from trying a commoner for a ca. proceeding in the impeachment. 13 Lords' pital crime upon an impeachment of the com Journ.
755. Fitzharris was afterwards pro- mons. And ihey immediately resolved to prosecuted by indictment, and he pleaded in ceed in this impeachment, notwithstanding abatement that there was an impeachment the parties were commoners and charged with pending against him for the same offence; but high treason. 14 Lord's Journ. p. 260. But this plea was over-ruled, and he was convict. the impeachment was not prosecuted with efed and executed. But on the 26th of June, fect, on account of an intervening dissolution 1689, sir Adam Blair and four other common- of parliament. ers were impeached for high treason, in hav.