Introduction to Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes

Document Transcript

Extradition of JS, Wight, Brown, Pratt, Rigdon, and Baldwin for Treason and Other Crimes
Warren Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, 10 June 1841
 
Historical Introduction
In April 1839, grand juries in and counties, Missouri, indicted JS and dozens of other Latter-day Saint men for treason and other crimes allegedly committed during the 1838 conflict between church members and their antagonists in . Most of the men named in the indictments had likely already left the state in forced compliance with Missouri governor ’s October 1838 expulsion order, while JS and about ten other Latter-day Saint prisoners escaped state custody in spring and early summer 1839 and relocated to . Following the escapes, Boggs obtained certified copies of the indictments and related case documents, but for unknown reasons the governor did not immediately initiate proceedings to have the men extradited from Illinois to Missouri for trial.
An 1840 incident between residents of and evidently prompted to seek JS’s extradition. On 7 July 1840, a group of vigilantes from Tully, Missouri—a town approximately thirty miles southwest of , Illinois—abducted four Latter-day Saint men. The vigilantes carried their captives into Missouri, where they were beaten in an effort to coerce them into confessing that they had stolen about $2,000 in property from Tully. Following the kidnapping, two of the captives, Alanson Brown and , escaped or were otherwise permitted to return to Nauvoo, where they swore affidavits recounting their experience. Church members in Nauvoo petitioned Illinois governor to demand that Missouri officials apprehend and extradite the kidnappers to stand trial in Illinois. Carlin agreed to do so, sending an agent to meet with Governor Boggs in August 1840.
evidently agreed to honor ’s requisition on the condition that the governor would in turn apprehend and extradite JS, , Alanson Brown, , , and to answer charges from the 1838 conflict. In compliance with federal law, Boggs attached certified copies of the 1839 indictments for treason, burglary, and murder. The governor was apparently unaware that these indictments had been dismissed by the circuit courts, as it had become evident that the defendants were not going to appear for trial. Boggs’s agents met with Carlin in , Illinois, on 6 September 1840. The Illinois governor accepted the requisition and issued an arrest warrant for JS and the other named Latter-day Saints, in accordance with state law. Subsequently, Sheriff of , Illinois, attempted to serve the warrant in , but JS and the others had evidently been warned and the sheriff could not locate them. He returned the warrant unserved.
In early June 1841, while visiting , Illinois, on church business, JS visited at the governor’s residence. The governor made no mention during the meeting of the requisition or the unserved warrant and JS departed. On 5 June, Deputy Sheriff of , Illinois, arrested him on the original warrant at , Illinois, approximately thirteen miles north of Quincy. After returning to Quincy, JS secured from the Adams County Circuit Court a writ of , a common law remedy that allowed an authorized judge to review the legality of an arrest. That evening, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit agreed to hear the case on habeas corpus in the Warren County Circuit Court, which was scheduled to be in session the following week.
The hearing was held on 9–10 June 1841 in , Illinois, the seat of Warren County. Although no legal records from the hearing have been located, newspapers, including the church’s Times and Seasons, published summaries of the proceedings. JS was represented by attorneys , , , , , and , while the state of Illinois was represented primarily by lawyers , Lincoln B. Knowlton, and Henry Jennings. During the first day of the hearing, JS’s attorneys attempted to introduce witnesses who would testify that the April 1839 treason indictment “was obtained by fraud, bribery, and duress.” Furthermore, the lawyers desired to introduce “evidence on the merits of the case,” that is, as to whether JS had actually committed treason in . After hearing arguments on both sides, declined to rule on the admissibility of the proffered evidence, “as it involved great and important considerations, relative to the future conduct of the different states.”
The following morning, discharged JS on the grounds that ’s original warrant had been returned unserved in September 1840 and was therefore no longer valid. , who in 1841 was an Supreme Court justice, later wrote that Douglas discharged JS “upon the ground that the writ upon which he had been arrested had been once returned, before it had been executed, and was functus officio,” which a nineteenth-century law dictionary defined as “something which once had life and power, but which now has no virtue whatsoever.” Carlin evidently anticipated Douglas’s decision. On 8 June 1841, he issued a new warrant for JS and the other Latter-day Saints named in the requisition. The warrant was delivered to Warren County sheriff Samuel L. Hogue, who noted that he was unable to locate any of the named men in his county. No further action was taken against JS or the other Latter-day Saint defendants based on the 1 September 1840 requisition.
 
Calendar of Documents
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Footnotes

  1. 1

    See Indictment, ca. 10 Apr. 1839, in Transcript of Proceedings, Treason, 6 July 1839 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes]; Indictment, ca. 10 Apr. 1839, in Transcript of Proceedings, Burglary, 6 July 1839 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes]; Indictment, 24 Apr. 1839, in Transcript of Proceedings, Murder, 18 July 1839 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes]; and Robert Wilson, Gallatin, MO, to James L. Minor, Jefferson City, MO, 18 Mar. 1841, in Document Containing the Correspondence, 156–159. For more information on the 1838 conflict and JS’s winter 1838–1839 incarceration, see Introduction to State of Missouri v. Gates et al. for Treason.  

  2. 2

    See Introduction to Part 3: 4 Nov. 1838–16 Apr. 1839, in JSP, D6:274–278; and “History of Parley P. Pratt,” Millennial Star, 24 Dec. 1864, 26:824.  

    JSP, D6 / Ashurst-McGee, Mark, David W. Grua, Elizabeth Kuehn, Alexander L. Baugh, and Brenden W. Rensink, eds. Documents, Volume 6: February 1838–August 1839. Vol. 6 of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Ronald K. Esplin, Matthew J. Grow, and Matthew C. Godfrey. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2017.

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

  3. 3

    See Austin A. King, Richmond, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, 7 June 1839, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA; Thomas C. Burch, Keytesville, MO, to James L. Minor, Jefferson City, MO, 24 June 1839, Mormon Collection, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis; James L. Minor, Jefferson City, MO, to Roger N. Todd, Columbia, MO, 9 July 1839, photocopy, Daviess County Legal Documents, BYU; Indictment, ca. 10 Apr. 1839, in Transcript of Proceedings, Treason, 6 July 1839 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes]; Indictment, ca. 10 Apr. 1839, in Transcript of Proceedings, Burglary, 6 July 1839 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes]; Indictment, 24 Apr. 1839, in Transcript of Proceedings, Murder, 18 July 1839 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes].  

    Mormon War Papers, 1838–1841. MSA.

    Burch, Thomas C. Letter, Keytesville, MO, to James L. Minor, Jefferson City, MO, 24 June 1839. Mormons Collection. Missouri History Museum Archives, St. Louis.

    Daviess County Legal Documents. Photocopies. BYU.

  4. 4

    H. M. Woodyard et al., Tully, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, 24 July 1840, photocopy, Missouri Historical Society, Selected Papers Pertaining to Mormonism, CHL; Alanson Brown, Affidavit, Hancock, Co., IL, 13 July 1840, in Times and Seasons, July 1840, 1:141; James Allred, Affidavit, Hancock, Co., IL, 16 July 1843, in Times and Seasons, July 1840, 1:141–142; Minutes, Hancock, Co., IL, 13 July 1840, in Times and Seasons, July 1840, 1:142–143; “The Mormons,” Quincy (IL) Whig, 12 Sept. 1840, [2]; “A Looker On,” Quincy, IL, Letter to the Editor, 7 Sept. 1840, Western World (Warsaw, IL), 16 Sept. 1840, [2]–[3].  

    Missouri Historical Society. Selected Papers Pertaining to Mormonism, 1831–1859. Microfilm. CHL. MS 8217.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    Quincy Whig. Quincy, IL. 1838–1856.

    Western World. Warsaw, IL. 1840–1841.

  5. 5

    JS, Wight, and Baldwin were named in an April 1839 indictment for treason presented by a grand jury in Daviess County, Missouri. Brown was named in a Daviess County burglary indictment. Pratt was named in an indictment for murder in Ray County, Missouri, while Rigdon was identified as an accessory to murder. Although Brown was named in the burglary indictment, he was not as well-known as the others. He was, however, one of the escaped Tully kidnapping victims, which presumably explains why he was included in the requisition. JS, Wight, Pratt, and Rigdon were prominent church leaders, while Baldwin was likely known to Missouri authorities as he had been imprisoned with JS in 1838–1839. (Indictment, ca. 10 Apr. 1839, in Transcript of Proceedings, Treason, 6 July 1839 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes]; Indictment, ca. 10 Apr. 1839, in Transcript of Proceedings, Burglary, 6 July 1839 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes]; Indictment, 24 Apr. 1839, in Transcript of Proceedings, Murder, 18 July 1839 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes]; Requisition, 1 Sept. 1840 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes]; “The Mormons,” Quincy (IL) Whig, 12 Sept. 1840, [2]; “The Mormon Affair,” Missouri Whig and General Advertiser (Palmyra, MO), 26 Sept. 1840, [2]; Introduction to Part 3: 4 Nov.–16 Apr. 1839, in JSP, D6:274.)  

    Quincy Whig. Quincy, IL. 1838–1856.

    Missouri Whig, and General Advertiser. Palmyra, MO. 1839–1841.

    JSP, D6 / Ashurst-McGee, Mark, David W. Grua, Elizabeth Kuehn, Alexander L. Baugh, and Brenden W. Rensink, eds. Documents, Volume 6: February 1838–August 1839. Vol. 6 of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Ronald K. Esplin, Matthew J. Grow, and Matthew C. Godfrey. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2017.

  6. 6

    The U.S. Constitution states that “a Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.” In 1793, Congress passed a statute that enacted this provision and specified that the requisition—the document requesting the extradition—should be accompanied by either an affidavit or an indictment specifying the charge. (U.S. Constitution, art. 4, sec. 2; An Act Respecting Fugitives from Justice, and Persons Escaping from the Service of Their Masters [12 Feb. 1793], Public Statutes at Large, 2nd Cong., 2nd Sess., chap. 7, p. 302.)  

    The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845. . . . Edited by Richard Peters. 8 vols. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1846–1867.

  7. 7

    Requisition, 1 Sept. 1840 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes]. The Daviess County Circuit Court dismissed the burglary indictment in December 1839. Similarly, the Boone County Circuit Court, which held jurisdiction over the treason and murder cases due to changes of venue, dismissed those indictments on 5 August 1840. (See Docket Entry, Nolle Prosequi, State of Missouri v. Voorhease et al. [Daviess Co. Cir. Ct. 1839], Daviess County Circuit Court Record, vol. A, 1837–1843, p. 150, microfilm 959,085, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Roger N. Todd, Clerk Certificate, 6 Mar. 1841, in Document Containing the Correspondence, 153–156; Docket Entry, Nolle Prosequi, 5 Aug. 1840 [State of Missouri v. Gates et al. for Treason]; and Docket Entry, Nolle Prosequi, State of Missouri v. Pratt et al. [Boone Co. Cir. Ct. 1840], Boone County Circuit Court Record, vol. C, p. 316, microfilm 981,755, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

  8. 8

    See “A Looker On,” Quincy, IL, Letter to the Editor, 7 Sept. 1840, Western World (Warsaw, IL), 16 Sept. 1840, [2]; and An Act Concerning Fugitives from Justice [6 Jan. 1827], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois, p. 318, sec. 1.  

    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.

  9. 9

    See “A Looker On,” Quincy, IL, Letter to the Editor, 7 Sept. 1840, Western World (Warsaw, IL), 16 Sept. 1840, [2]; Editorial, Times and Seasons, Sept. 1840, 1:170; and “The Late Proceedings,” Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841, 2:448.  

    Western World. Warsaw, IL. 1840–1841.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  10. 10

    JS History, vol. C-1, 1205; “The Late Proceedings,” Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841, 2:447.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  11. 11

    “The Late Proceedings,” Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841, 2:447; An Act to Establish Circuit Courts, [23 Feb. 1841], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], p. 108, sec. 18; “Habeas Corpus,” in Bouvier, Law Dictionary [1839], 1:454; see also Kent, Commentaries on American Law, 25–31; and Walker, “Habeas Corpus in Early Nineteenth-Century Mormonism,” 4–97.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Twelfth General Assembly, at Their Session, Began and Held at Springfield, on the Seventh of December, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty. Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1841.

    Bouvier, John. A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America, and of the Several States of the American Union; with References to the Civil and Other Systems of Foreign Law. 2 vols. Philadelphia: T. and J. W. Johnson, 1839.

    Kent, James. Commentaries on American Law. 4th ed. Vol. 2. New York: By the author, 1840.

    Walker, Jeffrey N. “Habeas Corpus in Early Nineteenth-Century Mormonism: Joseph Smith’s Legal Bulwark for Personal Freedom.” BYU Studies 52, no. 1 (2013): 4–97.

  12. 12

    “The Late Proceedings,” Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841, 2:447–449; “Joe Smith Arrested,” Peoria (IL) Register and North-Western Gazetteer, 18 June 1841, [2];JS History, vol. C-1, 1205. The latter paper also identified three additional attorneys for the state: Perkins and Minshall, both of Schuyler County, Illinois, and Mitchell of Warren County.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    Peoria Register and North-Western Gazetteer. Peoria, IL. 1837–1843.

  13. 13

    “The Late Proceedings,” Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841, 2:447–448. The Illinois habeas corpus statute permitted a judge to “settle the said facts, by hearing the testimony and arguments” and then to discharge prisoners for procedural flaws in the arresting documents under specific scenarios, including in cases “where the process appears to have been obtained by false pretense or bribery.” (An Act Regulating the Proceeding on Writs of Habeas Corpus [22 Jan. 1827], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois, pp. 323–324, sec. 3.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    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.

  14. 14

    “The Late Proceedings,” Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841, 2:448.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  15. 15

    Ford, History of Illinois, 266; “Functus Officio,” in Bouvier, Law Dictionary [1856], 1:551.  

    Ford, Thomas. A History of Illinois, from Its Commencement as a State in 1818 to 1847. Containing a Full Account of the Black Hawk War, the Rise, Progress, and Fall of Mormonism, the Alton and Lovejoy Riots, and Other Important and Interesting Events. Chicago: S. C. Griggs; New York: Ivison and Phinney, 1854.

    Bouvier, John. A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America, and of the Several States of the American Union; with References to the Civil and Other Systems of Foreign Law. 6th ed. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Childs and Peterson, 1856.

  16. 16

    Warrant, 8 June 1841 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes]; Requisition, 1 Sept. 1840 [Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes].