U.S. Supreme Court
Beckwith v. Bean, 98 U.S. 266 (1878)
Beckwith v. Bean
98 U.S. 266
A., who was an officer of the army and acting as a provost-marshal in Vermont, arrested B., during the rebellion, on the charge of aiding and abetting deserters from the army. At the time of making the arrest, A. had no warrant, but was acting under orders of his commanding officer based upon a report made to him by A. B. having brought an action for false imprisonment against A., the latter, for the purpose of satisfying the jury of the misconduct of B. and in support of his own testimony as to the state of facts which he at the time of making the arrest believed in good faith to exist, offered to show, by evidence which was not known to him at the time of B.'s release from imprisonment, that the latter had, during the rebellion, been engaged in procuring men to enlist in the army and to desert after they had obtained their bounty; but the court, on the ground that the offered evidence did not become known to A. until after the commencement of the suit, excluded it. Held that the evidence was admissible in mitigation of damages.