United States v. Ashton

24 F. Cas. 873 (1834)

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United States v. Ashton

Massachusetts Circuit Court
24 F. Cas. 873 (1834)

KL

Facts

James Ashton (defendant) was indicted for an endeavor to commit a revolt aboard a ship he was crewing with several other men. The ship set sail from Boston for Rio de Janeiro. The crew noticed the ship had a leak and asked the captain to return to the port to fix it. The captain refused and said he would return to port if the leak got worse. A few days later, the ship got caught in a storm. The crew stayed up all night pumping water out of the ship and again asked the captain to return to Boston, arguing that the ship was not seaworthy. He refused, so the crew members refused to continue to perform their duties until the captain agreed to return to Boston. The captain relented and returned, and Ashton and the crew were charged with endeavoring to commit revolt. At trial, evidence was mixed about the ship’s condition, with several witnesses claiming it was old and rotten and others stating it was ready for voyage. The prosecutor objected to the admission of any evidence about whether the ship was ready for sea, claiming that unseaworthiness was not a defense against the indictment. The trial court admitted the evidence.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Story, J.)

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