MISPRISION, crim. law. 1. In its larger sense, this word is used to signify every considerable misdemeanor, which has not a certain name given to it in the law; and it is said that a misprision is contained in every treason or felony whatever. 2. In its narrower sense it is the concealment of a crime.
2. Misprision of treason, is the concealment of treason, by being merely passive; Act of Congress of April 30, 1790, 1 Story's L. U. S. 83; 1 East, P. C. 139; for if any assistance be given, to the traitor, it makes the party a principal, as there is no accessories in treason.
3. Misprison of felony, is the like concealment of felony, without giving any degree of maintenance to the felon; Act of Congress of April 30, 1790, s. 6, 1 Story's L. U. S. 84; for if any aid be given him, the party becomes an accessory after the fact.
4. It is the duty of every good citizen, knowing of a treason or felony having been committed; to inform a magistrate. Silently to observe the commission of a felony, without using any endeavors to apprehend the offender, is a misprision. 1 Russ. on Cr. 43; Hawk. P. C. c. 59, s. 6; Id. Book 1, c. s. 1; 4 Bl. Com. 119.
5. Misprisions which are merely positive, are denominated contempts or high misdemeanors; as, for example, dissuading a witness from giving evidence. 4 Bl. Com. 126.