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House. Comm. on Juror and Witness Competency. Report, 1840
House No. 30 Five men were named a committee to examine petitions, etc. about the competency of jurors and witnesses. On February 11, 1840, the
men submitted majority and minority reports. The competency of a witness should not be questioned if he does not believe in God Almighty, nor should he
be questioned about his beliefs to establish credibility. Witnesses and jurors may affirm, rather than swear, if they choose. Nowhere in either the
state or federal Constitution does disbelief disqualify one from service in court. The petitions wanted a law which spelled out this freedom. The
subject had been discussed several times before, but the committee spent over twenty pages re-hashing those arguments. On p. 36: An Act concerning
jurors and witnesses, 1840. No witness would be questioned on his religious belief and no juror could be dismissed for his religious belief. Any juror
or witness could affirm rather than swear. P. 37 was the Minority Report which thought the existing law was sufficient and the new law was making an
exception for atheists. (Digitized from a microfilm copy of title originally held by the Massachusetts State Library).
Title:   Ordered, that the various petitions, memorials and other papers, in relation to the competency of jurors and witnesses, be taken from the files of the last year, and referred to a special committee of the House ...
OCLC Number:   1418962226
Available Volumes
NameFiche CountOnlinePaper Backup
Vol. 1YesNo