Introduction to City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault

Document Transcript

City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Mayor’s Court, 6 December 1842
Hancock Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, 23 May 1843
 
Historical Introduction
On 1 December 1842, William C. Walker swore a complaint before JS accusing of committing assault and battery that day, as well as for violating unspecified , Illinois, city ordinances. Davis, a merchant and tavern keeper in Nauvoo, 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.
law authorized JS, as a justice of the peace, to try allegations of assault and battery, while the charter empowered him, as mayor, to hear alleged violations of the city’s ordinances. was arrested the day after Walker made his complaint and was brought before JS. All parties agreed to adjourn the assault case to 6 December at ten o’clock in the morning. Walker also swore out a second complaint accusing Davis of “indecent and unbecoming language and behavior” toward him. This second complaint, like the first complaint sworn the day before, did not specify which city ordinance Davis had violated, although it possibly relied on Nauvoo’s disorderly persons ordinance.
On 6 December, the day of the trial, Walker swore a third complaint before JS, amending his original accusation of assault and battery and broadening the time frame of the alleged assault, now stating it occurred “on or about” 1 December. The multiple complaints led to a possible error in the legal process. The first and third complaints of assault and battery alleged a violation of a state statute; however, the first and second complaints alleged a violation of an unidentified city ordinance. While JS had the authority under the charter to try in the mayor’s court for the city ordinance violation, law required that he, as a justice of the peace, empanel a jury to determine the assault and battery charges. Instead, it appears that JS combined both charges into a single case, which he tried alone. At the 6 December trial, JS found Davis guilty and fined him fifty dollars.
Because assault and battery was a violation of a state statute, appealed his conviction directly from the mayor’s court to the Circuit Court. On 19 January 1843, he 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; one of Bachman’s arguments was that Davis’s appeal bonds were irregularly entered and that “no appeal lies from Said Mayor Directly to the ‘Circuit Court.’” Bachman’s claim that the appeal to the circuit court was improper likely grew out of Davis’s direct appeal of the assault case from the mayor’s court to the circuit court, rather than to the municipal court.
Although the motions were submitted to the court on 16 May 1843, deliberations did not begin until 23 May 1843. In the assault case, the court sustained Bachman’s motion to dismiss the appeal and ordered to pay ’s court costs. By 18 December 1843, the costs were paid in full.
For 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 Ardent Spirits, 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

    “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.

  2. 2

    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.  

  3. 3

    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 Ardent Spirits, and City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of Miles.  

  4. 4

    See Complaint, 1 Dec. 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits]; Complaint, 1 Dec. 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault]; An Act to Extend the Jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace [29 Dec. 1826], Public and General Statue Laws of the State of Illinois, pp. 414–415, sec. 1; and Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840.  

    The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.

  5. 5

    Warrant, 1 Dec. 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault]; Docket Entry, between 1 and ca. 6 Dec. 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault]; Complaint, 2 Dec. 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault]; Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, An Ordinance Concerning Vagrants and Disorderly Persons, 13 Nov. 1841, 31.  

  6. 6

    Docket Entry, between 1 and ca. 6 Dec. 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault]; An Act relative to Criminal Jurisprudence, [26 Feb. 1833], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois, p. 206, sec. 53.  

    The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.

  7. 7

    See Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840; and An Act to Extend the Jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace [29 Dec. 1826], Public and General Statue Laws of the State of Illinois, pp. 414–415, secs. 1–2.  

    The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.

  8. 8

    See Docket Entry, between 1 and ca. 6 Dec. 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault].  

  9. 9

    See An Act to Extend the Jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace [29 Dec. 1826], Public and General Statue Laws of the State of Illinois, pp. 415–416, sec. 5. In contrast, section 17 of the Nauvoo charter indicated that convictions for alleged violations of city ordinances could be appealed to the Nauvoo Municipal Court, and then, if necessary, to the Hancock County Circuit Court. (See Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840.)  

    The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.

  10. 10

    See Supersedeas, 19 Jan. 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault]; Supersedeas, 19 Jan. 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits]; and Supersedeas, 19 Jan. 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–C]. For example, the slander and assault cases used the same praecipe, and some of the documents, such as 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].)  

  11. 11

    Agreement, 18 May 1843.  

  12. 12

    Bachman’s motion to dismiss the appeal for this case is not extant, but docket records indicate that it was filed. Given the similarities between the extant motions, it presumably included the same objections. (See 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 Ardent Spirits]; Motion, ca. 15 May 1843–B [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits]; 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].)  

  13. 13

    See Motion, ca. 15 May 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault]; and Motion, ca. 15 May 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–C].  

  14. 14

    See Docket Entry, Motion Sustained, 23 May 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault]; and Docket Entry, Fieri Facias, between 23 May and ca. 18 Dec. 1843 [City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault].