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Making Habeas WorkA Legal History$
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Eric M. Freedman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479870974

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479870974.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 16 October 2019

The Criminal Prosecution Strands of Restraints on Government

The Criminal Prosecution Strands of Restraints on Government

(p.50) 7 The Criminal Prosecution Strands of Restraints on Government
Making Habeas Work

Eric M. Freedman

NYU Press

The legal restraints on public power during the colonial and early national periods included criminal prosecutions of officeholders, which could be pursued by both by private citizens and public prosecutors. We have only episodic knowledge of American private criminal prosecutions and thus cannot confidently generalize about their characteristics, as the Supreme Court seems to have recognized in Robertson v. United States ex rel. Watson (2010). Even today, the law on both the state and federal levels is continuing to evolve. In contrast, ample data shows that public criminal prosecution of officeholders has long been common and well-accepted. This chapter provides some examples from both sides of the Atlantic from the sixteenth through eighteenth century (e.g. prosecution of: London sheriffs Skynner and Catcher for gross abuse of female prisoners; General Thomas Picton, former Governor of Barbados, for ordering torture of native female prisoner to secure confession; North Carolina Secretary of State James Glasgow for issuing fraudulent land warrant; New Hampshire officials for failure to perform statutory duties).

Keywords:   Private criminal prosecutions, Robertson, Watson, Skynner, Catcher, Picton, Barbados, North Carolina, Glasgow, Statutory duties

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