United States V. Hodges: Treason, Jury Trials, and the War of 1812

43 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2018

See all articles by Jennifer Elisa Smith

Jennifer Elisa Smith

University of Maryland - Thurgood Marshall Law Library; University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Date Written: December 1, 2016

Abstract

In August 1814 a number of British soldiers were arrested as stragglers or deserters in the town of Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Upon learning of the soldiers’ absences the British military took local physician, Dr. William Beanes, and two other residents into custody and threatened to burn Upper Marlboro if the British soldiers were not returned. John Hodges, a local attorney, arranged the soldiers’ return to the British military. For this, Hodges was charged with high treason for “adhering to [the] enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” The resulting jury trial was presided over by Justice Gabriel Duvall, a Supreme Court Justice and Prince Georges County native, and highlights how the crime of treason was viewed in early American culture and the role of the jury as deciders of the facts and the law in early American jurisprudence. Contextually, Hodges’ trial took place against the backdrop of the War of 1812 and was informed by the 1807 treason trial of Aaron Burr. What can history tell us about current events?

Keywords: legal history, american history, treason, jury

Suggested Citation

Smith, Jennifer Elisa, United States V. Hodges: Treason, Jury Trials, and the War of 1812 (December 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3240213 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3240213

Jennifer Elisa Smith (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Thurgood Marshall Law Library ( email )

501 West Fayette Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States

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