Introduction to State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus

Document Transcript

State of Illinois v. Colton on
Hancock Co., Illinois, Justice of the Peace Court, 10 April 1844
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Municipal Court, 13 April 1844
Hancock Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, 25 May 1844
 
Historical Introduction
On 13 April 1844, JS presided over a hearing in the , Illinois, municipal court for Andrew Colton. Three days earlier, Colton and A. D. Rhodes had testified against Andrew J. Higbee in a trial before , Illinois, justice of the peace . Following the trial, Higbee filed a complaint before Foster charging Colton and Rhodes with . Foster initiated proceedings against the two men, but Colton requested a change of venue. Accordingly, Foster transferred the case to , another Hancock County justice of the peace who was also Andrew Higbee’s uncle. Colton motioned for a dismissal of the charge, but Higbee denied the motion, and Colton was “forced into trial.” Colton then asked for another change of venue. Presumably because Colton had already submitted a motion to the court, Higbee denied his request and proceeded with a preliminary hearing. Higbee held that there was probable cause to believe that Colton had committed perjury and ordered him to enter into a $200 , binding him to appear at the next session of the Hancock County Circuit Court for trial. When Colton refused to pay bail, Higbee issued a ordering him to be committed to the county jail at , Illinois.
On 12 April 1844, while in the custody of Constable , Colton petitioned the Municipal Court for a writ of . In the petition, Colton claimed that he did not know “by what authority” he was being “deprived of his Liberty,” that had been biased, and that the proceedings were “instituted through malice private pique & corruption & a desire to injure his reputation & not for the purpose of promoting the Ends of Justice.” Colton also requested that the municipal court investigate his innocence.
, clerk of the municipal court, issued a writ of and subpoenaed witnesses to appear at a hearing before the court the next day. The court assembled on 13 April with JS presiding. A question was evidently raised concerning the municipal court’s authority to review detentions in “cases arising under the [state] statutes” on habeas corpus. JS asked the lawyers present for their opinion on the issue, and city attorney replied that the court had jurisdiction. After hearing testimony from , who recounted how he had transferred the case to , who in turn denied Colton a second change of venue, the court discharged Colton from arrest for unclear reasons. The docket entry, recorded by Richards, suggests that the court discharged Colton due to Higbee’s refusal to grant a change of venue. However, JS’s journal, also kept by Richards, indicates that Colton “was discharged on the insuffici[e]ncy of the papers.” Because Andrew J. Higbee was the original complainant, the municipal court ordered him to pay the costs of the hearing, which amounted to $15.03¾. The court’s efforts to collect the costs from Higbee were unsuccessful.
In May 1844, Colton’s case came before the Circuit Court, suggesting that the circuit court was either unaware of or ignored the proceedings before the municipal court. Based on entries in the circuit court docket book, it appears that Colton may have eventually signed a to appear at the next session of the court despite his earlier refusal. However, when his case came up, the grand jury did not indict Colton and instead ordered that he be discharged from the recognizance.
 
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, 10 Apr. 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus]; see also An Act relative to Criminal Jurisprudence [26 Feb. 1833], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois [1839], p. 229, sec. 164.  

    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.

  2. 2

    Warrant, 10 Apr. 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus]; Petition, 12 Apr. 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus]; “Andrew Jackson Higbee, 1825–1888,” Individual Record, FamilySearch Ancestral File (Ancestral File no. LC6R-DCF).  

    FamilySearch Ancestral File. Compiled by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. https://www.familysearch.org/search/family-trees.

  3. 3

    Petition, 12 Apr. 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus]. Illinois law specified that requests for a change of venue had to be made prior to “the commencement of any trial before a justice of the peace.” (An Act Concerning Justices of the Peace and Constables [3 Feb. 1827], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois [1839], p. 408, sec. 25.)  

    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.

  4. 4

    Mittimus, 11 Apr. 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus].  

  5. 5

    Petition, 12 Apr. 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus]. For more on habeas corpus, see “Nauvoo Municipal Court and the Writ of Habeas Corpus.”  

  6. 6

    Petition, 12 Apr. 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus].  

  7. 7

    Habeas Corpus, 12 Apr. 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus]; Subpoena, 12 Apr. 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus].  

  8. 8

    Minutes, 13 Apr. 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus].  

  9. 9

    Docket Entry, 12–ca. 13 Apr. 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus].  

  10. 10

    JS, Journal, 13 Apr. 1844.  

  11. 11

    Execution, 4 June 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus].  

  12. 12

    Execution, 4 June 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus]; Docket Entry, 12–ca. 13 Apr. 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus]. Although an execution was issued in June 1844, city marshal John P. Greene died without serving it and the seventy-day limit on the execution expired. In February 1845, as one of the last official acts of the city officers after the Nauvoo charter had been repealed the month prior, the mayor tallied up outstanding fees owed by the city—apparently including the unpaid costs from this case—and authorized payment out of the city treasury. (An Act Concerning Justices of the Peace and Constables [3 Feb. 1827], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois [1839], p. 408, sec. 27; Daniel Spencer, Order of City Treasury, to William Clayton, 10 Feb. 1845, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.)  

    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.

    Nauvoo, IL, Records, 1841–1845. CHL.

  13. 13

    Docket Entry, Discharge, 25 May 1844 [State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus].