STATE v. BOON.
[NO NUMBER IN ORIGINAL]
SUPREME COURT OF NORTH CAROLINA, HILLSBOROUGH
1 N.C. 191; 1802 N.C. LEXIS 2; Tay. 246
April, 1802, Decided
PRIOR HISTORY: [**1] The prisoner was indicted on the third section of the act passed in
1791, the words of which are, "that if any person shall be hereafter guilty of wilfully and
maliciously killing a slave, such offender shall, upon the first conviction thereof be adjudged
guilty of murder, and shall suffer the same punishment as if he had killed a free man, any law,
usage or custom to the contrary notwithstanding"
The prisoner was found guilty by a jury in Hillsborough Superior Court, and being brought up
to receive judgment, several exceptions were taken in arrest, by his counsel, upon which the
presiding Judge directed the case to be sent up to obtain the opinion of this Court. The case was
ably argued by Haywood and Duffy for the prisoner, and the Attorney-General for the State.
The following authorities were cited in behalf of the prisoner: 2 Hale's Pl. Cor., 334; Kelyng,
104; 4 Bl. Com., 98, 366; 2 Hawk., 446.
DISPOSITION: Prisoner discharged.
HEADNOTES: The act of 1791 relative to the killing of slaves is too uncertain to warrant the
court in passing sentence of death upon prisoner convicted under it.
JUDGES: HALL, J., JOHNSTON, J., TAYLOR, J., MACAY, J.
OPINIONBY: HALL; JOHNSTON; TAYLOR; MACAY