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EX PARTE REGGEL, 114 U.S. 642 (1885)

U.S. Supreme Court

EX PARTE REGGEL, 114 U.S. 642 (1885)

114 U.S. 642

Ex parte REGGEL.

May 4, 1885. [114 U.S. 642, 643]   This is an appeal from the judgment upon habeas corpus, of the Third judicial district court of Utah, remanding the appellant to the custody of the marshal of the United States, by whom he had been arrested. The arrest was made under the authority of a warrant of the governor of Utah, which recited that it had been represented by the governor of Pennsylvania that Louis Reggel stood charged in that commonwealth with the crime of obtaining goods by false pretenses from Daniel Myers and Charles Goodman; that he had fled from the justice of that commonwealth, and had taken refuge in the territory of Utah. It then proceeded: 'And whereas, said representation and demand are accompanied by an indictment found against said Reggel by the grand inquest of the said state of Pennsylvania inqui ing for the city and county of Philadelphia, in and before the court of quarter sessions of the peace for the said city and county of Philadelphia, March sessions, 1882, whereby said Louis Reggel is charged with the said crime, and an affidavit taken before a notary public of said state showing said Reggel's flight from [114 U.S. 642, 644]   said state to and refuge in said territory, and also the statute laws of said state defining and making said acts of said Reggel a crime, and which said indictment, affidavit, and laws are certified by said governor of Pennsylvania to be duly authenticated: you are therefore required to arrest the said Louis Reggel,' etc.

The evidence laid before the governor of Utah was entirely documentary, and embraced the following papers:

(1) The requisition, in the customary form, of the governor of Pennsylvania, requesting the apprehension of Reggel, and his delivery to the agent of Pennsylvania, and to which was annexed a copy of the indictment and other papers, certified by him to be authentic.

(2) A duly-certified copy of the indictment referred to in the foregoing requisition, as follows:

(3) Duly-certified copies of certain provisions of the penal laws of Pennsylvania, as follows:

(4) An affidavit by Frederick Gentner, as follows:

{Seal of Court Quarter Sessions, County Philadelphia.}

Arthur Brown, for appellant.

Mr. Justice HARLAN, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court:

This case arises under sections 5278 and 5279 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, which provide:

It is not necessary to consider the question suggested by counsel as to the right of the governor of the territory to have withheld the papers upon which he based his warrant for the arrest of the accused; for the record shows that the requisition and the accompanying papers from the governor of Pennsylvania constituted the evidence upon which he acted, and were submitted to the court to which the writ of habeas corpus was returned. Under the act of congress, it became the duty of the governor of Utah to cause the arrest of Reggel, and his delivery to the agent appointed to receive him, when it appeared (1) that the demand by the executive authority of Pennsylvania was accompanied by a copy of an indictment, or affidavit made before a magistrate, charging Reggel with having committed treason, felony, or other crime within that state, and certified as authentic by her governor; (2) that the person demanded was a fugitive from justice.

The first of these onditions was met by the production to the governor of Utah of the indictment (duly certified as authentic) of the grand jury of the court of quarter sessions of the peace for the city and county of Philadelphia. Pennsylvania, wherein the accused was charged with having committed the crime of obtaining, by false pretenses, certain goods, with the intent to cheat and defraud the persons therein named; which offense, as was made to appear from the statutes of that common wealth, (a copy of which, duly certified as authentic, accompanied the indictment,) is a misdemeanor under the laws of Pennsylvania, punishable by a fine not exceeding $500, and imprisonment not exceeding three years.

It was objected in the court of original jurisdiction that there could be no valid requisition based upon an indictment for an offense less than a felony. This view is erroneous. It [114 U.S. 642, 650]   was declared, in Kentucky v. Dennison, 24 How. 99, that the words 'treason, felony, or other crime,' in section 2 of article 1 of the constitution, include every offense, from the highest to the lowest, known to the law of the state from which the accused had fled, including misdemeanors. It was there said by Chief Justice TANEY, speaking for the whole court, that, looking to the words of the constitution, 'to the obvious policy and necessity of this provision to preserve harmony between the states and order and law within their respective borders, and to its early adoption by the colonies, and then by the confederated states whose mutual interest it was to give each other aid and support whenever it was needed, the conclusion is irresistible that this compact ingrafted in the constitution included, and was intended to include, every offense made punishable by the law of the state in which it was committed.' It is within the power of each state, except as her authority may be limited by the constitution of the United States, to declare what shall be offenses against her laws; and citizens of other states, when within her jurisdiction, are subject to those laws. In recognition of this right, so reserved to the states, the words of the clause in reference to fugitives from justice were made sufficiently comprehensive to include every offense against the laws of the demanding state, without exception as to the nature of the crime.

Although the constitutional provision in question does not, in terms, refer to fugitives from the justice of any state who may be found in one of the territories of the United States, the act of congress has equal application in that class of cases; and the words 'treason, felony, or other crime' must receive the same interpretation when the demand for the fugitive is made, under that act, upon the governor of a territory, as when made upon the executive authority of one of the states of the Union.

Another proposition advanced in behalf of the appellant is that the indictment which accompanied the requisition does not sufficiently charge the commission of any crime; of which fact it was the duty of the governor of Utah to take notice, and which the court may not ignore in determining whether [114 U.S. 642, 651]   the appellant is lawfully in custody. In connection with this proposition, counsel discusses, in the light of the adjudged cases, the general question as to the authority of a court of the state or territory in which the fugitive is found to discharge him from arrest whenever, in its judgment, the indictment, according to the technical rules of criminal pleading, is defective in its statement of the crime charged. It is sufficient for the purposes of the present case to say that, by the laws of Pennsylvania, every indictment is to be deemed and adjudged sufficient and good in law which charges the crime substantially in the language of the act of assembly prohibiting its commission, and prescribing the punishment therefor; or, if at common law, so plainly that the nature of the offense charged may be easily understood by the jury; and that the indictment which accomp nied the requisition of the governor of Pennsylvania does charge the crime substantially in the language of her statute. That commonwealth has the right to establish the forms of pleadings and process to be observed in her own courts, in both civil and criminal cases, subject only to those provisions of the constitution of the United States involving the protection of life, liberty, and property in all the states of the Union.

The only question remaining to be considered, relates to the alleged want of competent evidence before the governor or of Utah, at the time he issued the warrant of arrest, to prove that the appellant was a fugitive from the justice of Pennsylvania. Undoubtedly the act of congress did not impose upon the executive authority of the territory the duty of surrendering the appellant, unless it was made to appear, in some proper way, that he was a fugitive from justice. In other words, the appellant was entitled, under the act of congress, to insist upon proof that he was within the demanding state at the time he is alleged to have committed the crime charged, and subsequently withdrew from her jurisdiction, so that he could not be reached by her criminal process. The statute, it is to be observed, does not prescribe the character of such proof; but that the executive authority of the territory was not required by the act of congress to cause the arrest of ap- [114 U.S. 642, 652]   pellant and his delivery to the agent appointed by the governor of Pennsylvania, without proof of the fact that he was a fugitive from justice, is, in our judgment, clear from the language of that act. Any other interpretation would lead to the conclusion that the mere requisition by the executive of the demanding state, accompanied by the copy of an indictment, or an affidavit before a magistrate, certified by him to be authentic, charging the accused with crime committed within her limits, imposes upon the executive of the state or territory where the accused is found the duty of surrendering him, although he may be satisfied from incontestable proof that the accused had, in fact, never been in the demanding state, and therefore could not be said to have fled from its justice. Upon the executive of the state in which the accused is found, rests the responsibility of determining, in some legal mode, whether he is a fugitive from the justice of the demanding state. He does not fail in duty if he makes it a condition precedent to the surrender of the accused that it be shown to him, by competent proof, that the accused is in fact a fugitive from the justice of the demanding state.

Did it sufficiently appear that the appellant was, as represented by the executive authority of Pennsylvania, a fugitive from the justice of that commonwealth? We are not justified by the record before us in saying that the governor of Utah should have held the evidence inadequate to establish that fact. The warrant of arrest refers to an affidavit taken before a notary public of Pennsylvania, showing Reggel's flight from that commonwealth. There was no such affidavit; but the reference, manifestly, was to the affidavit made by Frederick Gentner, which recited the finding by the grand jury of the city and county of Philadelphia, of a ture bill of indictment charging Reggel with 'the crime of false pretenses,' and stating that he 'is a fugitive from justice,' and was then in Salt Lake City, Utah territory. This is sworn to, and is attested by the seal of the court of quarter sessions,-the court in which the prosecution is pending. It is not entirely clear from the record, as presented to us, what is the official character of the person before whom the affidavit was made. The reason- [114 U.S. 642, 653]   able inference is that the affidavit was made in the court where the prosecution is pending, and that it is one of the papers accompanying the requisition of the governor of Pennsylvania, and which he certified to be authentic.

It is contended that Gentner's affidavit that Reggel is a fugitive from justice is the statem nt of a legal conclusion, and is materially defective in not setting out the facts upon which that conclusion rested. Although that statement presents, in some aspects of it, a question of law, we cannot say that the governor of Utah erred in regarding it as the statement of a fact, and as sufficient evidence that appellant had fled from the state in which he stood charged with the commission of a particular crime, on a named day, at the city and county of Philadelphia; especially, as no opposing evidence was brought to his attention. If the determination of that fact by the governor of Utah upon evidence introduced before him is subject to judicial review upon habeas corpus, the accused, in custody under his warrant,-which recites the demand of the governor of Pennsylvania, accompanied by an authentic indictment charging him, substantially in the language of her statutes, with a specific crime committed within her limits,-should not be discharged merely because, in the judgment of the court, the evidence as to his being a fugitive from justice was not as full as might properly have been required, or because it was so meager as perhaps to admit of a conclusion different from that reached by him. In the present case, the proof before the governor of Utah may be deemed sufficient to make a prima facie case against the appellant as a fugitive from justice within the meaning of the act of congress.

Judgment affirmed.

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