1875.] THE STATE v. PETERS. 9
Opinion of the court.
that it was required by law, and necessary for the prosecution
of a private right. It only remains, therefore, to inquire
whether the statement was made under the sanction
of an oath, and if so, whether such oath was legally administered.
It is charged in the indictment that the statement in
question was made under the sanction of an oatl administered
by E. M. Griffin, a justice of the peace, in a praceeding
of forcible entry and detainer instituted before said
justice. It is a matter of judicial knowledge that justices
of the peace have jurisdiction of cases of this character.
The court knows, in like manner, that justices of the peace
are authorized to administer oaths, when required by law,
in the inception or progress of causes of which they have
jurisdiction. The indictment cannot therefore he held defective,
unless it is essential to show that Griffin was in fact
a justice of the peace, by setting forth a copy of his commission,
or to aver that the proceeding in question. was
within this particular justice's jurisdiction.
Through force of precedents it had no doubt become an
essential and necessary averment, in indictments for perjury
in the English courts prior to the statute of 2.3 Qeo.
II, ch. 11, to charge that the oath on which the perjuryis
assigned, to have been taken before an officer authorized
by law to administer it, and to show his authority for doing
so by setting out in the indictment a copy of his commission.
But these precedents have never been followed or
held of force in this State. This statute, as says Bishop,
was not enacted to change the common-law form of indictments,
but to get rid of prolix and embarrassing forms under
which the better common-law former of indictment for
this offense had been obscured and superseded by a series
of precedents which tended much more to facilitate the escape
of offenders than the security of innocent parties improperly
indicted. (The State v. Hayward, 1 Nott & McC.,
546; The King v. Callanan, 13 Eng. Com. Law, 57.)
Texas. Supreme Court. Cases argued and decided in the Supreme Court of Texas, during the latter part of the Tyler term, 1874, and the first part of the Galveston term, 1875. Volume 42.. St. Louis, Mo.. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth28531/. Accessed December 12, 2013.