Introduction to State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus

Document Transcript

State of Illinois v. Goddard, Cahoon, and Riley on Habeas Corpus
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Municipal Court, 4 February 1843
 
Historical Introduction
On 4 February 1843, JS presided over a hearing in the , Illinois, municipal court for Stephen Goddard, , and William Riley. The hearing grew out of an incident on 2 February in which Josiah Simpson interrupted a choir practice in Nauvoo and had a confrontation with Goddard. That night Goddard had Simpson arrested, and the next day Simpson was convicted of assault in a trial before Justice of the Peace . In retaliation, Simpson filed a complaint before Nauvoo alderman and justice of the peace that accused Goddard, Cahoon, and Riley of “unlawfully assaulting and beating” him. Spencer issued a warrant on 3 February, and the following morning Constable James Flack arrested the three men.
After their arrest, —who had been present at the altercation—brought Goddard and to visit JS, who advised the accused men to obtain a writ of from the city’s municipal court. That same morning, following JS’s advice, Clayton prepared a petition for a writ of habeas corpus for the three men, and , the municipal court clerk, issued the writ commanding Flack to present the prisoners. In preparation for the hearing, he also issued an attachment to summon the municipal court justices and subpoenas for witnesses.
The court assembled that evening with JS presiding. , who in his role as justice of the peace had issued the warrant for Goddard, , and Riley, sat as an associate justice in the municipal court. Although the prosecuting and defense attorneys indicated their desire to adhere strictly to procedural issues surrounding the case, Goddard, Cahoon, and Riley indicated through their attorney that they “wished for an investigation” into the charge itself. The court heard testimony from ten witnesses. Simpson’s brother reportedly testified that Riley had “struck” Simpson—a claim that , who had witnessed the conflict, dismissed as “utterly false.” In contrast, Clayton testified that the defendants had merely defended themselves from Simpson’s attacks. At the conclusion of the testimony, the court—going beyond what was understood at common law to be permissible in cases—“acquitted” Cahoon and heard his testimony on behalf of the remaining defendants. Ultimately, the court remanded Goddard and Riley to custody to await trial and then ordered Goddard, Riley, and Simpson to pay the costs of the hearing. While Goddard and Riley paid at least a portion of their costs, Simpson did not, and an execution issued in April 1843 was unsuccessful in obtaining any property.
 
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

    Clayton, Journal, 2–3 Feb. 1843.  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  2. 2

    Petition, 4 Feb. 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus].  

  3. 3

    Warrant, 3 Feb. 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus]; Petition, 4 Feb. 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus].  

  4. 4

    Clayton, Journal, 4 Feb. 1843; for more on habeas corpus, see “Nauvoo Municipal Court and the Writ of Habeas Corpus.”  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  5. 5

    Petition, 4 Feb. 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus]; Habeas Corpus, 4 Feb. 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus].  

  6. 6

    Habeas Corpus, 4 Feb. 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus]; Attachment, 4 Feb. 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus]; Subpoena, 4 Feb. 1843–A [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus]; Subpoena, 4 Feb. 1843–B [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus].  

  7. 7

    Docket Entry, ca. 4 Feb. 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus].  

  8. 8

    Clayton, Journal, 4 Feb. 1843; Docket Entry, ca. 4 Feb. 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus].  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  9. 9

    Affidavit, 4 Feb. 1843–B [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus].  

  10. 10

    In habeas corpus proceedings, courts had the authority to remand prisoners, set their bail, or discharge them from custody but not to determine guilt or innocence. (Tucker, Blackstone’s Commentaries, 1:291–292; Kent, Commentaries on American Law, 2:25; “Nauvoo Municipal Court and the Writ of Habeas Corpus.”)  

    Tucker, St. George. Blackstone's Commentaries: With Notes of Reference, to the Constitution and Laws, of the Federal Government of the United States; and of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 5 vols. Philadelphia: William Young Birch and Abraham Small, 1803.

    Kent, James. Commentaries on American Law. Vol. 2. New York: O. Halsted, 1827.

  11. 11

    Docket Entry, ca. 4 Feb. 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus].  

  12. 12

    Docket Entry, ca. 4 Feb. 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus]. A trial for Goddard and Riley was apparently held on 6 February, presumably before Spencer. According to Clayton, a jury found Goddard and Riley guilty and fined them three dollars each. Clayton, who had openly defended the two men, decried this as “an unjust sentence, brought to pass by a partial jury.” (Clayton, Journal, 6 Feb. 1843.)  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  13. 13

    Docket Entry, ca. 4 Feb 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus]; Execution, 26 Apr. 1843 [State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus].