Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Utah’s First Criminal Trial

What was the charge in Utah’s first criminal trial
a.                  Murder
b.                  Stealing
c.                   Bank robbery
d.                  Cattle rustling
Yesterday’s answer:
c.   Bishops and High Councils
The following list is the first five ordinances passed by Brigham Young and the Council of Fifty on January 1, 1848 one month before the Valley became a U.S. territory. What’s interesting is that in the early days of the valley it was the Bishops and High Councils that would convict people in the case of crime. The five ordinances were:
1.                     Idlers and vagrants, or any “neglecting in any manner to use necessary exertion,” should have their property taken by two or more trustees. Those convicted of assault were to be industriously employed as a form of rehabilitation.
2.                     Disorderly or dangerous persons and disturbers of the peace were to receive a certain number of lashes on the bare back, not to exceed thirty-nine, and to be fined in any sum not less than five dollars but not exceeding five hundred dollars.
3.                     Any person convicted of the crime of adultery or fornication should be sentenced to receive lashes on the back, not to exceed thirty-nine.
4.                     Persons convicted of stealing, robbing, housebreaking, or maliciously causing destruction by fire were to receive lashes on the bare back, not exceeding thirty-nine, “to restore fourfold.”
5.                     Any person convicted of drunkenness, cursing, swearing, or foul or indecent language, unnecessarily firing of guns, or other disturbing acts should be fined a minimum of $25.

Chronicles of Courage, Daughters of Utah Pioneers (Salt Lake City; Utah Printing Company, 1990) 252-53.

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