Treason – attempting to overthrow one’s state or the United States, either by making or inciting war against the government or by materially supporting its enemies

     This page is continued from Criminal Law Self-Help >>>> Types of Crimes and Corresponding Laws:

***************************

treason:
n. (13c)

1. The offense of attempting to overthrow the government of the state to which one owes allegiance, either by making war against the state or by materially supporting its enemies. — aka high treason; alta proditio. Cf. SEDITION. — treasonable; treasonous, adj. [1]

1. Levying war against the United States or adhering to the enemies of the United States, giving them aid and comfort. US Const Art 3 § 3.

A breach of allegiance. United States v Wiltberger (US) 5 Wheat 76, 5 L Ed 37.

A criminal attempt to destroy the existence of the government. Respublica v Chapman (Pa) 1 Dall 53, l L Ed 33. [2]

1. The act of transferring one’s allegiance from one’s own country to the enemy, and giving the enemy aid and comfort. [3]

U.S. Const. art. Ill, § 3
“The Treason Clause”:

     “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.  No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

treason, felony, or other crime – A phrase found in Article IV, § 2, clause 2, of the United States Constitution, relative to extradition for crime, embracing every act forbidden and made punishable by a law of a state.   See Kentucky v Dennison (US) 24 How 66, 16 L Ed 717.

     Excerpt from Joseph Chitty, A Practical Treatise on the Criminal Law (2d ed. 1826):

     “The judgment of high treason was, until very lately, an exception to the merciful tenor of our judgments.  The least offensive form which is given in the books is, that the offender ‘be carried back to the place from whence he came, and from thence to be drawn to the place of execution, and be there hanged by the neck, and cut down alive, and that his entrails be taken out and burned before his face, and his head cut off, and his body divided into four quarters, and his head and quarters disposed of at the king’s pleasure.’  Some of the precedents add other circumstances, of still more grossness and aggravation. But this horrible denunciation was very seldom executed in its more terrible niceties. [4]

     Excerpt from Frederick Pollock & Frederic W. Maitland’s History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I (2d ed. 1899):

     “[S]everal important characteristics marked off high treason from all other crimes.  For one thing, it earned a peculiarly ghastly punishment.  For another, it was ‘unclergyable,’ while every felony was ‘clergyable’ unless some statute had otherwise ordained.  Thirdly, while the felon’s land escheated to his lord, the traitor’s land was forfeited to the king.  This last distinction influenced the development of the law. [5]

Various Forms of Treason:

constructive treason (17c) 1. Speech that manifests a desire or intent to make war against the state or materially support an enemy, even though the speech is unaccompanied by acts that further the desire or intent.  *  There is no crime of constructive treason in U.S. law because treason requires an affirmative act. and intent alone cannot substitute for an act. 

2. Hist. Speech that is critical of the government.  *  This sense arose during the reign of Henry VIII of England. Critical speech remained a capital crime until the early 18th century.

petty treason (16c) Archaic. Murder of one’s employer or husband.  *  Until 1828, this act was considered treason under English law. — aka petit treason.

     Excerpt from Rollin M. Perkins‘& Ronald N. Boyce’s Criminal Law (3d ed. 1982):

     “The frequent reference to high treason is a carry-over from an ancient division of the offense that has long since disappeared. In the feudal stage of history the relation of lord to vassal was quite similar to the relation of king to subject.  The relation of husband to wife came to be regarded in the same category, as also did the relation of master to servant, and that of prelate to clergyman. And just as it was high treason to kill the king, so a malicious homicide was petit treason if it involved a killing of (originally, lord by vassal, and later) husband by wife, master by mistress or servant, or prelate by clergyman. When the special brutality provided by the common law for the punishment of petit treason disappeared, this crime became merged with murder and only one crime of treason remained.” [6]

Laws Against Treason:

United States Code
Title 18 – CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
PART I – CRIMES
CHAPTER 115 – TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES

§2381. Treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States. [7]

treasonable misdemeanor (18c) English law. An act that is likely to endanger or alarm the monarch, or disturb the public peace in the presence of the monarch. 

treason felony English law. 1. An act that shows an intention of committing treason, unaccompanied by any further act to carry out that intention.  *  This offense usually results in life imprisonment rather than the death penalty.  2. Scots law. The devising of the overthrow of the sovereign or successors.  3. Scots law. The devising of the levying of war on the sovereign to compel a change of measures or counsels, to intimidate Parliament, or to induce a foreign invasion. [1]

misprison for treason – The concealment or failure to promptly disclose to the authorities knowledge of the commission of treason. [3]

Laws Against Misprison for Treason:

United States Code
Title 18 – CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
PART I – CRIMES
CHAPTER 115 – TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES

§2382. Misprision of treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States and having knowledge of the commission of any  treason

against them, conceals and does not, as soon as may be, disclose and make known the same to the President or to some judge of the United States, or to the governor or to some judge or justice of a particular State, is guilty of misprision of treason and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than seven years, or both. [8]

     In Enclosure II: Considerations on a Convention with Spain, March 22, 1792, Thomas Jefferson wrote: [9]

Special thank to IZquotes for the above graphic we’re utilizing in accordance with Fair Use.

References:

Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is compiled in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[4]: 1 Joseph Chitty, A Practical Treatise on the Criminal Law 702 (2d ed. 1826).

[5]: 2 Frederick Pollock & Frederic W. Maitland, History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I 500 (2d ed. 1899)

[6]: Rollin M. Perkins‘& Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 493-99 (3d ed. 1982).

[7]: U.S. House of Representatives’ Office of Law Revision Counsel, “United States Code Title 18 – CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE — PART I – CRIMES — CHAPTER 115 – TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES § 2381. Treason: http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=treason&f=treesort&fq=true&num=13&hl=true&edition=prelim&granuleId=USC-prelim-title18-section2381

[8] U.S. House of Representatives’ Office of Law Revision Counsel, “United States Code Title 18 – CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE — PART I – CRIMES — CHAPTER 115 – TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES § 2382. Misprision of treason”: http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=treason&f=treesort&fq=true&num=14&hl=true&edition=prelim&granuleId=USC-prelim-title18-section2382

[9]: National Archives’ Founder’s Online, “Enclosure II: Considerations on a Convention with Spain“: https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-23-02-0275

*******************************

Back to Types of Crimes and Corresponding Laws

Back to Criminal Law Self-Help

Home Page

Like this website?

Please Support Our Fundraiser

or donate via PayPal:

 

Disclaimer: Wild Willpower does not condone the actions of Maximilian Robespierre, however the above quote is excellent!

This website is being broadcast for First Amendment purposes courtesy of

Question(s)?  Suggestion(s)?
Distance@WildWillpower.org.
We look forward to hearing from you!