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.