Introduction to State of Illinois v. J. Hoopes and L. Hoopes on Habeas Corpus
State of Illinois v. J. Hoopes and L. Hoopes on Habeas Corpus
Hancock Co., Illinois, Justice of the Peace Court, 4 April 1843
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Municipal Court, 5 April 1843
On 5 April 1843, JS presided over a hearing in the , Illinois, municipal court for and , who had been charged with . The charges grew out of a conflict between the Hoopeses and Elizabeth Ann Driggs on 1 April. After the conflict, Driggs swore out an affidavit before alderman and Nauvoo justice of the peace , claiming that the father and son had “Seriously frighten[ed]” her “in a riotous and Tumultuous Manner” by bringing a horse into her home, thus “forcibly” removing her from the premises. Wells issued an arrest warrant to Constable on 3 April, and Parker arrested the two men the next day on a charge of riot.
On 4 April 1843, and petitioned the Municipal Court for a writ of habeas corpus. In their petition, the men made three arguments challenging their arrest: first, that their actions did not amount to as defined by law; second, that the warrant was “insufficient in Law” to keep them in custody; and third, that the “Warrant was obtained through private pigue [pique], malicious intent, falshood, and misrepesentation.” The specific rationales for their first two arguments are unclear. However, the third argument was almost a direct quotation from a Nauvoo ordinance governing habeas corpus, which authorized the municipal court to investigate the circumstances behind the issuance of the arrest warrant. In response to their petition, , the clerk of the municipal court, issued a writ of habeas corpus and notified the members of the court to assemble the next morning to hear the case.
The municipal court assembled on 5 April with JS presiding as chief justice. , who as a justice of the peace had issued the warrant, sat as an associate justice in the proceedings. After hearing five of the eight witnesses, including Driggs, the court—going beyond what was understood at common law to be permissible in habeas corpus cases—ruled that the Hoopeses were “acquitted of the charges” and ordered “that they be released & dis[c]harged” from custody. The court also ordered that Driggs’s husband, Samuel, pay the costs of the hearing. Subsequent efforts by the court to collect the costs were unsuccessful.
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.
Hancock Co., Illinois, Justice of the Peace Court
Ca. 2 April 1843
Elizabeth Ann Driggs, Complaint, before Robert D. Foster, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
Ca. 2 Apr. 1843. Not extant.
3 April 1843
Daniel H. Wells, Warrant, to Nauvoo City Marshal, for Jonathan Hoopes and Lewis Hoopes, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
3 Apr. 1843. Not extant.
Ca. 3 Apr. 1843; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of George Stiles; notation in handwriting of John D. Parker; docket in handwriting of James Sloan.
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Municipal Court
4 April 1843
Jonathan Hoopes and Lewis Hoopes, Petition, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, to the Judges of the Nauvoo Municipal Court
4 Apr. 1843; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of George Stiles; signatures of Jonathan Hoopes and Lewis Hoopes; docket in handwriting of James Sloan.
4 April 1843
James Sloan, Habeas Corpus, to Nauvoo City Marshal, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
4 Apr. 1843; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; docket in handwriting of James Sloan; notation in handwriting of Henry G. Sherwood; endorsement in handwriting of James Sloan.
4 Apr. 1843. Not extant.
4–circa 26 April 1843
Docket Entry, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
4–circa 26 April 1843; Nauvoo Municipal Court Docket Book, 51–52; handwriting of James Sloan; notation in handwriting of James Sloan; notation in handwriting of Willard Richards; notations in handwriting of Thomas Bullock.
26 April 1843
James Sloan, Execution, to Nauvoo City Marshal, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
26 Apr. 1843; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; docket in handwriting of James Sloan; notations in handwriting of John D. Parker.
7 May 1844
Willard Richards, Fee Bill, to Nauvoo City Marshal, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
7 May 1844; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of Willard Richards; docket in handwriting of Willard Richards; endorsement in handwriting of John P. Greene; notation in handwriting of Jonathan Wright.
10 February 1845
Daniel Spencer, Pay Order, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, to Nauvoo City Treasurer, for Nauvoo Municipal Court Clerk, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
The second claim may have been a reference to how Elizabeth Ann Driggs, a domestic dependent, had filed the complaint before Wells in her own name, rather than allowing her husband, Samuel, to do so on her behalf. Typically, justices of the peace approached injuries against dependents as breaches of the peace, meaning society as a whole, rather than allowing the injured dependent to pursue a specific criminal charge. (Edwards, People and Their Peace, 106.)
Edwards, Laura F. The People and Their Peace: Legal Culture and the Transformation of Inequality in the Post-revolutionary South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.
According to the ordinance, if the court found that the warrant or process had been obtained “through private pique, malicious intent, religious or other persecution, falsehood, or misrepresentation” the petitioner was to be “released & discharged.” (Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 8 Aug. 1842, 98–99.)
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.