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Introduction to State of Ohio v. JS for Assault and Battery

State of Ohio v. JS for Assault and Battery
Painesville Township, Geauga Co., Ohio, Justice of the Peace Court, 22 April 1835
Geauga Co., Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, 20 June 1835
 
Historical Introduction
On 21 April 1835, Justice of the Peace Lewis Miller of , Ohio, issued a warrant for JS’s arrest for the assault and battery of his brother-in-law in , Ohio. The incident allegedly occurred earlier that day, during an argument between JS and Stoddard over whether a parcel of land contained water. Eyewitnesses gave differing accounts of the altercation, with some asserting that Stoddard threatened JS with a cane, a claim Stoddard denied. Witnesses agreed that JS knocked Stoddard to the ground with the flat of his hand, although they differed as to the number of times he hit him. JS subsequently asked for Stoddard’s forgiveness, which Stoddard granted. However, , an opponent of the church living in Painesville, filed a complaint before Miller, apparently claiming to have witnessed the fight.
After Miller issued the warrant on 21 April, it was served the same day by Constable , who then brought JS before Miller for a preliminary hearing. Attorneys and represented the state, while and represented the defense. Miller subpoenaed five witnesses. For an unknown reason, he then adjourned until the following day and granted JS bail rather than holding him in custody overnight. On 22 April, Miller heard testimony from four members of the Smith family—JS’s parents, and , and his brothers and . was evidently not available to testify. The justice held that there was sufficient evidence to send the case to the Court of Common Pleas and ordered JS to enter into a recognizance for $200 on the condition that he appear at the court’s next session.
The next term of the Court of Common Pleas began on 16 June 1835. was the prosecuting attorney; it is unknown who represented JS. A grand jury indicted JS for unlawfully striking “with force and arms.” JS pleaded “guilty, unless the Court on hearing the evidence adduced shall be of opinion that he is not guilty.” According to the Painesville Telegraph, “by consent of the parties, the case was submitted to the Court without Jury.” JS may have believed that presiding judge Matthew Birchard would be less biased against him than a jury. On 20 June, Birchard heard testimony from Stoddard, , , and a man named Burgess. The judge held that JS was “not guilty as he Stands charged” and “ordered that he be discharged from said Indictment.” The Telegraph, reporting that Stoddard had testified that he forgave JS, indicated that Birchard made his decision because “the injured party was satisfied” and because “the assault might perhaps be justified on the principle of self-defence.”
 
Calendar of Documents
This calendar lists all known documents created by or for the court, whether extant or not. It does not include versions of documents created for other purposes, though those versions may be listed in footnotes. In certain cases, especially in cases concerning unpaid debts, the originating document (promissory note, invoice, etc.) is listed here. Note that documents in the calendar are grouped with their originating court. Where a version of a document was subsequently filed with another court, that version is listed under both courts.
State of Ohio v. JS for Assault and Battery
Painesville Township, Geauga Co., Ohio, Justice of the Peace Court, 22 April 1835
Geauga Co., Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, 20 June 1835
 
Historical Introduction
On 21 April 1835, Justice of the Peace Lewis Miller of , Ohio, issued a warrant for JS’s arrest for the assault and battery of his brother-in-law in , Ohio. The incident allegedly occurred earlier that day, during an argument between JS and Stoddard over whether a parcel of land contained water. Eyewitnesses gave differing accounts of the altercation, with some asserting that Stoddard threatened JS with a cane, a claim Stoddard denied. Witnesses agreed that JS knocked Stoddard to the ground with the flat of his hand, although they differed as to the number of times he hit him. JS subsequently asked for Stoddard’s forgiveness, which Stoddard granted. However, , an opponent of the church living in Painesville, filed a complaint before Miller, apparently claiming to have witnessed the fight.
After Miller issued the warrant on 21 April, it was served the same day by Constable , who then brought JS before Miller for a preliminary hearing. Attorneys and represented the state, while and represented the defense. Miller subpoenaed five witnesses. For an unknown reason, he then adjourned until the following day and granted JS bail rather than holding him in custody overnight. On 22 April, Miller heard testimony from four members of the Smith family—JS’s parents, and , and his brothers and . was evidently not available to testify. The justice held that there was sufficient evidence to send the case to the Court of Common Pleas and ordered JS to enter into a recognizance for $200 on the condition that he appear at the court’s next session.
The next term of the Court of Common Pleas began on 16 June 1835. was the prosecuting attorney; it is unknown who represented JS. A grand jury indicted JS for unlawfully striking “with force and arms.” JS pleaded “guilty, unless the Court on hearing the evidence adduced shall be of opinion that he is not guilty.” According to the Painesville Telegraph, “by consent of the parties, the case was submitted to the Court without Jury.” JS may have believed that presiding judge Matthew Birchard would be less biased against him than a jury. On 20 June, Birchard heard testimony from Stoddard, , , and a man named Burgess. The judge held that JS was “not guilty as he Stands charged” and “ordered that he be discharged from said Indictment.” The Telegraph, reporting that Stoddard had testified that he forgave JS, indicated that Birchard made his decision because “the injured party was satisfied” and because “the assault might perhaps be justified on the principle of self-defence.”
 
Calendar of Documents
This calendar lists all known documents created by or for the court, whether extant or not. It does not include versions of documents created for other purposes, though those versions may be listed in footnotes. In certain cases, especially in cases concerning unpaid debts, the originating document (promissory note, invoice, etc.) is listed here. Note that documents in the calendar are grouped with their originating court. Where a version of a document was subsequently filed with another court, that version is listed under both courts.
 
Painesville Township, Geauga Co., Ohio, Justice of the Peace Court
 
Geauga Co., Ohio, Court of Common Pleas