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Entered according to act of Congress, in the Clerk's office of the District Court
of the United States for the Eastern District of Louisiana, by M. M. ROBINSON, in the year *one thousand eight hundred and forty one.
NEW YORK : PRINTED BY A. S. GOULD, 144 NASSAU STREET.
The want of some convenient arrangement of the penai laws of the state, has been generally felt. No revision of the laws having ever been made, it has become not a litile difficult to ascertain, among the mass of statutes that have accumulated since the organization of the territorial government, what portion still retains the force of law. The embarrassment resulting from this state of things, seems not to have been confined to those engaged in the administration of the law. The recurrence, in different acts, of provisions often identical, and the occasional enactment of special statutes for cases already embraced in some general provision of the law, prove, that even those entrusted with the business of legislation, have not always been aware of the existence of laws to be found in the statute book, and still in full force.
The Digest of the laws published under the authority of the legislature in the year 1828, was prepared without any attempt at a general revision. Nor was any effort made in that compilation, to separate the penal code from the mass of general and private acis, though the attention of the legislature appears to have been turned to the importance of such an arrangement as early as the year 1821, when an act was passed under which the late Mr. Livingston was employed to prepare a code of criminal law for the consideration of the general assembly. The projet reported by that eminent lawyer, did not receive the sanction of the legislature.
An attempt has been made in the present publication to separate the penal law, actually in force, from all other matter. The undertaking has not been without difficulty. It was often no casy matter to determine whether a particular provision could be considered as forming properly a part of such a code. Wherever any offence has been punished by imprisonment or other infamous punishment, and, as a general rule, where any act or omission has been punished by fine or forfeiture, such provisions have been regarded as forming a part of the penal law, and have been included in this Digest. In some instances, however, this principle could not have been rigidly observed, without embracing various provisions of acts confined to particular subjects, often of no public interest, and which neither convenience nor analogy required to be included in a work like the present. Of this class are the laws regulating the militia, the laws providing for the collection of taxes, the laws regulating the police of public roads and levees, the laws imposing fines on officers of incorporated cities for various neglects of duty, the laws establishing particular ferries and bridges, and the laws punishing malicious injuries to the property of different incorporated companies.
The acts punishing offences committed by slaves, are not embraced in this work. They form an entirely different system of penal law. Such portions of what is termed the Black Code, and of the supplementary acts, as - punish offences committed by free persons, have alone been included.
In the preparation of this Digest an endeavor has been made to unite the most convenient form for reference, with the advantages of a strictly analytical arrangement. The nature of the materials have not, in all cases, rendered it practicable to preserve the divisions of the subject with all the strictness which could have been desired; and in some instances it is to be feared, that these divisions' themselves, may appear arbitrary or obscure. Whatever difficulty may result from either of these sources, it is hoped, will be entirely obviated by the elaborate Index at the end of the volume."
In the chapter on Courts of Criminal Jurisdiction and subordinate officers, all the provisions of the laws constituting those courts or necessary to the exercise of their criminal jurisdiction, now in force, will be found ; as well as the different laws creating or conferring authority on any officer connected with the administration of criminal justice.
The division into articles, numbered consecutively from the commencement, has been adopted from its great convenience. In the references to the original acts, it has been thought best, wherever they could be found in the Digest of 1828, to refer to that publication, as the original editions of the earlier acts are often difficult to be obtained ; the laws passed since the compilation of that work, or those of an earlier period not included in it, are cited from the publications made after each session by authority of the legislature.
Wherever any alteration in the language of an original act has been rendered necessary bị subsequent changes in the law, or by the plan of this Digest, it has, in all cases,
been marked by the use of brackets in the text, or fully explained in the notes. Where any ambiguity in the english text, is explained by the french translation, the latter will be found in the notes..
The decisions, in criminal cases, of the Superior Court of the territory of Orleans, reported in the first and second volumes of Martin, have been added, in the notes to the appropriate articles.
The work is submitted, not without apprehension that it may be found occasionally incorrect. Such errors, however, it is hoped, will not prove either numerous or important enough, seriously to impair its usefulness as an index to the law on the subject of which it treats.
New-Orleans, 45 Camp Street,