Landmark Case Concerning the Confessional and the Court [Trial]. Phillips, Daniel, Defendant. Sampson, William [1764-1836], Reporter. The Catholic Question in America: Whether a Roman Catholic Clergyman be in Any Case Compellable to Disclose the Secrets of Auricular Confession. Decided at the Court of General Sessions, In the City of New York. Present, The Honorable DeWitt Clinton, Mayor. The Honorable Josiah Ogden Hoffman, Recorder. Richard Cunningham, Isaac S. Douglass, Esqrs. Sitting Aldermen. With the Arguments of Counsel, And the Unanimous Opinion of the Court, Delivered by the Mayor, With His Reasons in Support of that Opinion. New York: Printed by Edward Gillespy, 1813. 138, cxxviii,  pp. Lacking final errata leaf, supplied in facsimile. Octavo (9" x 6"). Recent quarter calf over cloth, raised bands and lettering piece to spine, endpapers renewed, extra calf lettering piece tipped-in to rear pastedown. Light browning to text, faint dampspotting in places, some edgewear to final leaves of text, early owner signature (Thos. E. Worthington 1813) to head of title page. $750. * Only edition. This landmark decision established the legal precedent exempting Catholic priests from disclosing evidence relating to criminal activities learned through the Sacrament of Confession. "The case against Daniel Phillips for receiving stolen property hung on the prosecution's attempt to extract testimony from Anthony Kohlmann, a Catholic priest who may have heard Phillips's confession. The extensive 'Report,' p. -114, gives a good general account of confidential conversation between defendants and religious leaders, doctors, lawyers, spouses, and other persons. Although the district attorney claimed to be reluctant to pursue the matter, Catholic authorities had asked that the question be settled before the court. The court recognized the inviolability of the confessional, and Phillips was acquitted due to lack of evidence.": Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 14043.
Book number 68749