Privilege From Arrest

This clause is practically obsolete. It applies only to arrests in civil suits, which were still common in this country at the time the Constitution was adopted.435 It does not apply to service of process in either civil436 or criminal cases.437 Nor does it apply to arrest in any criminal case. The phrase “treason, felony or breach of the peace” is interpreted to withdraw all criminal offenses from the operation of the privilege.438

Footnotes

435
Long v. Ansell, 293 U.S. 76 (1934). [Back to text]
436
293 U.S. at 83. [Back to text]
437
United States v. Cooper, 4 U.S. (4 Dall.) 341 (C.C. Pa. 1800). [Back to text]
438
Williamson v. United States, 207 U.S. 425, 446 (1908). [Back to text]