Trial of Charles M. Jefferds for Murder, at New York, December 1861

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John Walton and John W. Matthews were murdered June 30, 1860. In July, 1861, Charles M. Jefferds was tried for the murder of Walton and acquitted. In December, 1861, he was tried in the Court of General Sessions for the murder of Matthews.

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Page 163 - A free and voluntary confession is deserving of the highest credit, because it is presumed to flow from the strongest sense of guilt, and therefore it is admitted as proof of the crime to which it refers.
Page 222 - Pennsylvania, all murder which shall be perpetrated by means of poison, or by lying in wait, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, or which shall be committed in the perpetration or attempt to perpetrate any arson, rape, robbery, or burglary, shall be deemed murder in the first degree; and all other kinds of murder shall be deemed murder of the second degree.
Page 182 - With respect to all verbal admissions it may be observed that they ought to be received with great caution. The evidence, consisting as it does, in the mere repetition of oral statements, is subject to much imperfection and mistake...
Page 182 - Unless you give me a more satisfactory account, I will take you before a magistrate," evidence of the confession thereupon made was rejected.
Page 164 - ... had given the prisoner gin, he would, no doubt, have told the prisoner that what he had already said could not be given in evidence against him; and that it was for him to consider whether he would make a second confession. If the prisoner had been told this, what he afterwards said would...
Page 182 - The evidence, consisting as it does in the mere repetition of oral statements, is subject to much imperfection and mistake ; the party himself either being misinformed, or not having clearly expressed his own meaning, or the witness having misunderstood him. It frequently happens, also, that the witness by unintentionally altering a few of the expressions really used gives an effect to the statement completely at variance with what the party actually did say.
Page 4 - The court of general sessions of the peace in and for the city and county of New York.
Page 182 - In the proof of confessions, as in the case of admissions in civil cases, the whole of what the prisoner said on the subject, at the time of making the confession, should be taken together.
Page 163 - ... a confession forced from the mind by the flattery of hope, or by the torture of fear, comes in so questionable a shape, when it is to be considered as the evidence of guilt, that no credit ought to be given to it; and therefore it is rejected.
Page 186 - I am of opinion that a statement being made by a prisoner while he was drunk is not therefore inadmissible as evidence against him ; and that, to render a confession inadmissible, it must either be obtained by hope or fear. This is matter of observation for me, upon the weight that ought to attach to this statement when it is considered by the jury.

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