Threat

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THREAT, crim. law. A menace of destruction or injury to the lives or property of those against whom it is made.
     2. Sending threatening letters to persons for the purpose of extorting money, is said to, be a misdemeanor at common law. Hawk. B. 1, c. 53, s. 1; 2 Russ. on Cr. 575; 2 Chit. Cr. L. 841; 4 Bl. Com. l26. To be indictable, the threat must be of a nature calculated to overcome a firm and prudent man. The party who makes a threat may be held to bail for his good behaviour. Vide Com. Dig. Battery, D; 13 Vin. Ab. 357.

THREAT, evidence. Menace.
     2. When a confession is obtained from a person accused of crime, in consequence of a threat, evidence of such confession cannot be received, because, being obtained by the torture of fear, it comes in so questionable a shape, that no credit ought to be given to it; 1 Leach, 263; this is the general principle, but what amounts to a threat is not so easily defined. It is proper to observe, however, that the threat must be made by a person having authority over the prisoner, or by another in the presence of such authorized person, and not dissented from by the latter. 8 C. & P. 733. Vide Confession, and the cases there cited.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.