Introduction to City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits

Document Transcript

City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Mayor’s Court, 1 December 1842
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Municipal Court, 6 December 1842
Hancock Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, 24 May 1843
 
Historical Introduction
On 1 December 1842, Ira Miles swore a complaint before JS against for selling small quantities of liquor in violation of the city’s temperance ordinance. Davis, a merchant and tavern keeper in , Illinois, had joined the church in 1840, but in 1842 his relationship with JS and the church deteriorated. In March JS brought charges against Davis for slandering his character, and a jury found Davis guilty of violating Nauvoo’s vagrancy and disorderly persons ordinance. Between 29 November and 6 December 1842, Davis was accused of violating several city ordinances and was tried in five cases in Nauvoo courts. In each of these cases, JS participated as either mayor, justice of the peace, complainant, or witness.
Miles initiated one of the five cases with his complaint on 1 December. JS issued a warrant based on the complaint, and was arrested the next day. On the same day as the arrest, 2 December, JS presided at the trial in the mayor’s court. and represented the , while Davis represented himself. After hearing witness testimony, JS found Davis guilty and fined him twenty-five dollars.
appealed his conviction to the Nauvoo Municipal Court on 6 December. That day, issued a subpoena for twelve witnesses. represented Davis, while continued to represent the . JS, as chief justice, presided over the appeal and was joined by the other justices of the municipal court. After hearing witness testimony, the court upheld the verdict and fine, after which Davis announced his intention to appeal the municipal court’s decision.
On 19 January 1843, filed a notice of appeal before the Circuit Court, and the appeal was heard at the May 1843 term. This appeal was one of three that Davis made to the circuit court following his string of prosecutions in in late November and early December 1842. Because of the similarities between the three cases in the circuit court, some of the same documents were used multiple times, and it is possible that some were misfiled and are currently associated with the wrong case. According to an attorney’s agreement signed before the circuit court proceedings, the three appeals were to focus on “the legailty of the Ordinances and if the City Council has the authority under the charter to pass said Ordinances.” Subsequently, on 16 May 1843, C. O. Warner, the defense attorney, filed a motion to dismiss the suits, while George Bachman, Nauvoo’s attorney, filed to dismiss Davis’s appeals. All of the motions used almost identical language. Warner claimed that the proceedings had been contrary to the constitutions of and the and that no law or ordinance had been violated. Bachman, meanwhile, primarily objected to the procedures of Davis’s appeals, claiming that his appeal bonds were irregularly entered and that the appeal to the circuit court was improper. On 23 May, the circuit court rejected the motions to dismiss and instead held a jury trial on the temperance charge. Although the jurors upheld Davis’s conviction on 24 May, they reduced the fine from twenty-five dollars to 6¼ cents. The costs and fine were subsequently collected later that year.
For the other cases involving JS that were brought against around this time, see City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–B, City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–C, City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault, and City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of Miles.
 
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.

Footnotes

  1. 1

    Complaint, 1 Dec. 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits]. The Nauvoo city ordinance forbade selling whiskey “or other Spirituous Liquors” in small quantities, such as by the glass. The ordinance specified that upon conviction, the court could impose a fine “not exceeding twenty five Dollars.” (Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, An Ordinance in Relation to Temperance, 15 Feb. 1841, 8.)  

  2. 2

    “Good News from America,” Millennial Star, July 1840, 1:63.  

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  3. 3

    See Introduction to City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–A; and Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, An Ordinance Concerning Vagrants and Disorderly Persons, 13 Nov. 1841, 31. In September 1842 William Clayton recorded a rumor in JS’s journal that the posse attempting to arrest JS for extradition to Missouri had used Davis’s tavern as a base of operations. JS, Journal, 3 Sept. 1842.  

  4. 4

    For the other cases, see City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–B, City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–C, City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault, and City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of Miles.  

  5. 5

    See Warrant, 1 Dec. 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits]; Docket Entry, ca. 2 Dec. 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits]; and JS, Journal, 2 Dec. 1842.  

  6. 6

    See Docket Entry, ca. 6 Dec. 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits]; and Subpoena, 6 Dec. 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits].  

  7. 7

    See Supersedeas, 19 Jan. 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits]; Supersedeas, 19 Jan. 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault]; and Supersedeas, 19 Jan. 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–C]. For example, the slander and assault cases both used the same praecipe, and some of the documents, like Davis’s attorney’s motion to dismiss, show signs of being docketed with two different case numbers. (See Praecipe, 9 May 1843; and Motion, ca. 15 May 1843–A [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–C].)  

  8. 8

    Agreement, 18 May 1843.  

  9. 9

    Only two of Bachman’s motions to dismiss the appeals are extant, but docket records indicate that a third was filed. (See Motion, ca. 15 May 1843–A [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits]; Motion, ca. 15 May 1843–B [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits]; Motion, ca. 15 May 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault]; Docket Entry, Motions, 16 May 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault]; Motion, ca. 15 May 1843–A [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–C]; and Motion, ca. 15 May 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–C].)  

  10. 10

    See Motion, ca. 15 May 1843–A [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits]; Motion, ca. 15 May 1843–B [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits]; and Motions Overruled and Jury Impaneled, 23 May 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits].  

  11. 11

    See Verdict, 24 May 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits].  

  12. 12

    See Docket Entry, Fieri Facias, between 24 May and ca. 18 Dec. 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits].