Thursday, November 13, 2014

David MATLOCK, Jr. sues for false imprisonment (1853)

As shown in Hendricks County Circuit Court Order Book 7 (September 1853 - October 1857), in September 1853 David Matlock, Jr. sued John Wilson, James McLain, William Brittain and Seth Hurin for false imprisonment. Because Matlock was under 21, the case was filed on his behalf by his next friend, Thomas Nichols. Matlock alleged that John Wilson was an unlicensed constable who, with the help of his fellow church members McLain and Brittain, had arrested Matlock at a church camp meeting for having disturbed the meeting of a religious society (men and women were segregated at the camp meeting; Matlock had seated himself with the women and allegedly refused to move). Matlock had then been brought before Seth Hurin (a justice of the peace), found guilty and fined $5. A Hendricks County jury had found for Matlock and awarded him $100 in damages.

Wilson et al. appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court and in June 1856, they overturned the decision, noting that religious societies had the power to impose their own rules for their meetings. They ordered a new trial. At the new trial, the jury found that John Wilson owed Matlock $5 in damages, and that Matlock should pay the defendants for their costs for the Supreme Court case.

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