I learned the phrase "misprision of felony early in my teaching career when a student in Rhetoric 101 — think 1st semester College Composition — responded to a personal narrative assignment with the story of a young woman who'd joined heR friends in perjury and maybe insurance fraud in a context I've long-ago forgotten.
I sought advice from older colleagues and was told that since the event was in the past and directly harmed at most only a fictive individual — a corporation — and indirectly only their other customers for small sums, my duty to protect the confidentiality of student work outweighed my other social duties, and, if necessary, I should go to prison rather than betray the student/teacher relationship.
"Prison?" I asked.
I was told prosecution was highly unlikely, but it looked like a felony was committed, I had information about said felony, and, if I didn't report it, I might be guilty of "misprision of felony," at that place and time at least, itself a felony.
When the student came in for our "tutorial" conference, I started out with how we should talk a bit about her very nice development of the Persona of the essay, her "I", the protagonist-Narrator of the story who, in the story, committed perjury and what just might look like insurance fraud.
And after a moment for that to sink in, that is what we talked about.
Okay, so much for confession for me. (In my adult life I also advocated draft resistance and apparently violated Federal and possibly Provincial election law in Canada going with a group to have a great time in Toronto and informally advise on the Pierre Trudeau campaign. "But that was in another country, / And besides" — we yanks were with the George McGovern campaign and, as the US election worked out, maybe didn't have much advice to give.) But —
But what about the Family Trump and people representing Russia and the possibility that members of the 2016 Trump campaign new that a foreign entity or two were messing around in a US election. Is there "misprision of election-law violation"? Did they have a legal as well as a civic duty to report what could have been some sort of crime. Is even the non-action of silence a crime far more a crime here as it could have been for me as a writing teacher?
I did say I taught Rhetoric 101; so the question may be rhetorical.