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MINDER v. STATE OF GA., 183 U.S. 559 (1902)

U.S. Supreme Court

MINDER v. STATE OF GA., 183 U.S. 559 (1902)

183 U.S. 559

ISADORE MINDER, Plff. in Err.,
No. 417.

Argued December 3, 1901.
Decided January 6, 1902.

Messrs. John Randolph Cooper, Herman Brosch, and Marion W. Harris for plaintiff in error.

Mr. J. M. Terrell for defendant in error.

Mr. Chief Justice Fuller delivered the opinion of the court:

At the November term, 1900, of the superior court of Bibb county, Georgia, Isadore Minder was tried on an indictment for murder, convicted, and sentenced to death. A motion for new trial was made upon the ground, among other things, that the court erred in refusing to continue the case on account of the absence of material witnesses residing in Alabama, whose names were given. The defense was insanity, and the motion for continuance set forth that the witnesses would testify that the accused was insane; 'that all the powers of the court have been exhausted to procure the attendance of said witnesses;' that they had refused to attend; and that the court had no authority under the Constitution and laws of the state of Georgia to procure their attendance or their testimony, and that their depositions would not be admissible in evidence if obtained. The motion further stated that if he were tried 'without being [183 U.S. 559, 560]   afforded process by which either to compel the attendance or to procure the depositions of said witnesses, that defendant, who is a citizen of the United States and a resident of Georgia, would be deprived of his life, liberty, and property without due process of law, and would be denied his right and privilege and immunities as a citizen of the United States in violation of the Constitution of the United States, and particularly the 1st paragraph of the 14th Amendment thereto; and in violation of said Amendment would be denied the equal protection of the laws with American citizens of other states of this Union where the state and Federal process affords the defendant means to secure the depositions of nonresident witnesses in capital cases, and the state allows the introduction of such depositions in evidence in behalf of the defendant in such other states.' It was further stated that 'unless the state will consent to the introduction of depositions from said nonresident witnesses, and will afford him a reasonable opportunity to secure the same, petitioner will be denied the equal protection of the laws, and will be deprived of his life and liberty without due process of law.' The motion for new trial was overruled by the superior court, and defendant sentenced, whereupon an appeal was taken to the supreme court which affirmed the judgment. 113 Ga. 772, 39 S. E. 284.

This writ of error was then sued out, and the errors assigned were, in substance, that the supreme court erred in not reversing the judgment of the court below for error in denying the motion for continuance, which denial it was contended was a denial of due process of law and the equal protection of the laws secured by the 14th Amendment. This point was made in the Supreme Court and the matter of the ruling on the motion to continue was disposed of thus:

The requirements of the 14th Amendment are satisfied if trial is had according to the settled course of judicial procedure obtaining in the particular state, and the laws operate on all persons alike and do not subject the individual to the arbitrary exercise of the powers of government. Because it is not within the power of the Georgia courts to compel the attendance of witnesses who are beyond the limits of the state, or because the taking or use of depositions of witnesses so situated in criminal cases on behalf of defendants is not provided for, and may not be recognized in Georigia, we cannot interfere with the administration of justice in that state on the ground of a violation of the 14th Amendment in these particulars.

Judgment affirmed.

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