Municipal Court of Nauvoo

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The Municipal Court of Nauvoo was the judicial body of Nauvoo, Illinois from 1840 until 1845.


The Nauvoo City Charter was passed by the Illinois Legislature on December 16, 1840. The legislature mandated that the "The Municipal Court shall sit on the first Monday of every month, and the City Council at such times and place as may be prescribed by city ordinance; special meetings of which may at any time be called by the Mayor or any two Aldermen."

The Municipal Court could hear citizen appeals, with the charter saying: "Appeals may be had from any decision or judgment of said Mayor or Aldermen, arising under the city ordinances, to the Municipal Court under such regulations as may be presented by ordinance;"

The Act stated that the Municipal Court "shall be composed of the Mayor as Chief Justice, and the Aldermen as Associate Justices". According to the charter, "The Municipal Court shall have power to grant writs of habeas corpus in all cases arising under the ordinances of the City Council."


Chief Justice (Mayor)[1]
  1. John C. Bennett February 1, 1841 – May 17, 1842
  2. Joseph Smith May 19, 1842 – June 27, 1844
  3. Chancy Robison[2]
Associate Justices (Aldermen)[3]

Notable cases[edit]

On August 8, 1842, the court released Smith and Rockwell after they were arrested and charged with the attempted assassination of Lilburn Boggs, former Governor of Missouri.

On July 1, 1843, the court intervened in a case against Joseph Smith. The Governor of Missouri issued a writ authorizing the arrest and extradition of Joseph Smith on the charge of treason. The Governor charged Joseph H. Reynolds with arresting and conveying Smith to Daviess County, Missouri. The Municipal Court of Nauvoo dismissed the charges against Smith.[4]

In June 1844, the Circuit Court for Hancock County charged Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and 15 other co-defendants with inciting a "riot" in the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor. In response, the Municipal Court of Nauvoo dismissed all State charges (despite being a municipal, not state, court).[5]


In January 1845, the legislature repealed the Nauvoo Charter by a vote of 25-14 in the Senate and 75-31 in the House.[6] Nauvoo was dis-incorporated and its assets placed into a receivership.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nauvoo City Officers" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  2. ^ Jenson, Andrew. The Historical Record: A Monthly Periodical. Salt Lake City, Utah. p. 843. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Bennett, Samuel C. - Details". Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  4. ^ "Chapter 30: 1843 Joseph Smith arrested again, Part III - Misc". 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  5. ^ "Hearing on the Nauvoo Expositor Affair in Auvoo Municipal Court". Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  6. ^ Flanders, Robert B. (1965). Nauvoo : Kingdom on Mississippi. p. 324. ISBN 978-0252005619. 

External links[edit]