Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Notes on Criminal Procecutions and Impeachment, [26 January 1798]

Notes on
Criminal Prosecutions and Impeachment

[26 Jan. 1798]

4. Blackstone. 5. ‘a crime or misdemeanor is an act &c
‘crimes & misdemeanors, properly speaking, are mere synonimous terms: tho’ in common usage ‘crimes’ denote offences of a deeper & more atrocious dye, while smaller faults are comprised under the gentler name of ‘misdemeanors’ only.
 ‘the distinction of crimes & misdemeanors from civil injuries &c.
6. ‘there are crimes of an inferior nature, for instance battery. the aggressor may be punished criminally by fine & imprisonment. so a nuisance &c
  16. ‘to steal a pig or a fowl was a capital misdemeanor
[heresy]2 49. heresy called a crime even now; when only cognisable spiritually & by censure.
reviling }
50. reviling the ordinances of the church is a crime of grosser nature than non conformity.’
[witch]craft. 60. ‘witchcraft a crime punishable by imprisonment & pillory.’
[adultery]. 65. ‘the crime of adultery.’
[embezzling] 122 embezzling the public money is not a capital crime.’
[oppression] }
140. ‘oppression of judges is a crime of deep malignity & when prosecuted by impeachment [&c]
[libel] […] 150. ‘in a civil action [a libel must] appear false, but in a criminal prosecution &c
  205. ‘of these crimes, some are felonious & capital, others are simple misdemeanors
imprisonment 218. ‘the two remaining crimes, to wit, false imprisonment & kidnapping &c
[kid]napping. 219. kidnapping is a very heinous crime, punishable with fine, imprisonment & pillory’
  256. ‘a commoner can be impeached only for a misdemeanor, a peer for any crime.’
  275. ‘if the offense be inter minora crimina or a misdemeanor only &c
[qu]i tam 303. informations on penal statutes are a sort of qui tam actions, carried on by a criminal instead of a civil [process]
informations. 305. information. when a grand jury informs on oath that there is ground for a criminal suit.’
    ‘these informations [are confined] to misdemeanors, & go not to capital offences.’
[appeals] 308. ‘an appeal when spoken of as a criminal prosecution &c.
  368. ‘the next stage of criminal prosecution in such crimes & misdemeanors as are too high or too low for benefit of clergy, is judgment.’
  369. ‘the court must pronounce the judgment annexed to the crime. of these some are capital, some are punished by exile, imprisonment, confiscation, fine &c
[fines] [372.] ‘the reasonableness of fines in criminal cases has been regulated by magna charta.’
[2.]3 Wooddseson.
501. ‘1. treasons. 2. felonies capital. 3. felonies not capital. 4. inferior misdemeanors. between these several kinds of crimes there are the strongest lines of legal distinction.’
perjury 513. perjury is a crime against public justice.’ ‘these misdemeanors however are &c
atheism. 515. the crime of atheistical tenets’ ‘reformation of the criminal.’
blasphemy. 517. blasphemous words a crime against the laws &c.
nonconformity 524. nonconformity or dissent from the established worship a civil crime.’
information 551.4 ‘crimes are brought to trial by indictment or information.’
criminal prosecuti[ons] 561. ‘this mode of criminal allegation (information) cannot be brought in capital cases, nor misprision of treason.’
  563. ‘proceeding on a penal statute is a criminal prosecution.
  569. ‘such are the ordinary modes of commencing criminal prosecutions.’ viz. ba[…], appeal, indictmt, information.
appeals. 575. appeals in parliament a criminal prosecution.’
  578. appeals in parl. were not only of treason & felony, but of misdemeanors also.’
impeachments 580. ‘the other occasions of exercising criminal judicature by the lords, are the trials of indicted peers, the proceedings on impeachments &c.
  596. ‘two distinct modes of criminal prosecution, namely impeachments and penal acts.’
  601. ‘a peer may be accused before his peers of any crime, a commoner of misdemeanors only.’
[writing] &
605. impeachments for high crimes & misdemeanors by writing or speaking.’
misdemeanors. 606. ‘this was allowed in misdemeanors, & for higher crimes also’
impeachment. 619. ‘the nature of the crimes adducible to justice by impeachment.’
  621. ‘all the modes of criminal prosecutions whether by impeachment or otherwise’5
Constitution. Art. 2.§.4. ‘the President &c. shall be removed from office on impeachment for & conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes & misdemeanors.’
  Art. 3.§.2. ‘the trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury’6 and by Art. 1.§.3. ‘the judgment in impeachments no further than removal from office & disqualificat[ion.]
VIIIth. Amendment‘In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to trial by an impartial jury [&c]7

Note. In the preceeding quotations the emphatic words are strictly copied. the others [are] sometimes brought together from some distance8 omitting intervening words of the context not affecting the [sense, to?] abridge the trouble of writing. the words here expressed however are always the very words of the author.

PrC (DLC:TJ Papers, 102:7565–6); entirely in TJ’s hand; undated, with date being determined by letter above; faint and left margin clipped. Dft (same, 102:17563); undated; includes variations in arrangement of text, with citations from Wooddeson appearing before those from Blackstone and key words appearing to the right of citations; endorsed by TJ: “Impeachment.” PrC of Dft (same, 102:17564); with two pages pressed on single sheet.

1Here in Dft TJ wrote and enclosed in brackets “battery & nuisance, crimes.”

2This word and the remaining key words for the Blackstone citations are missing in Dft.

3In Dft this citation appears at head of first page with a canceled passage appearing above it which reads “high crimes & misdemeanors by writing or speaking. 2. Woodd. 605.”

4Above this citation in Dft TJ wrote and canceled “550. ‘criminal prosecutions’ ‘criminal appeals.’” He left the key word “appeals” to the right uncanceled.

5In Dft TJ wrote the following paragraph on the “Constitution” in a different ink and in a smaller hand at a later sitting. PrC of Dft ends at this point.

6TJ inserted the remainder of this sentence in Dft.

7Dft ends at this point.

8Preceding three words interlined.

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