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DREYER v. PEOPLE OF STATE OF ILLINOIS, 187 U.S. 71 (1902)

U.S. Supreme Court

DREYER v. PEOPLE OF STATE OF ILLINOIS, 187 U.S. 71 (1902)

187 U.S. 71

EDWARD S. DREYER, Plff. in Err.,
v.
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS.
No. 37.

Argued and Submitted April 18, 1902.
Decided November 10, 1902.

[187 U.S. 71, 73]   By an indictment returned in the criminal court of Cook county, Illinois, on the 4th day of February, 1899, the plaintiff in error, Dreyer, was charged with the offense of having failed to turn over to his successor in office, as treasurer of the West Chicago park commissioners, revenues, bonds, funds, warrants, and personal property that came to his hands as such treasurer, of the value of $316,013.40,-said commissioners constituting a board of public park commissioners appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate of Illinois, and, as such, having the supervision of the public parks and boulevards in the town of West Chicago, and authority under the law to collect and disburse moneys, bonds, etc., for their maintenance.

The indictment was based on 215 of the Criminal Code of Illinois, which is as follows:

A trial was commenced on the 29th day of August, 1899, and a jury was impaneled and evidence heard. The jury, not having agreed upon a verdict, were discharged.

A second trial was begun on the 19th day of February, 1900. The defendant filed a plea of once in jeopardy, which in substance averred that it was not true, as recited in the order of court at the previous trial, that the jury were unable to agree upon a verdict; also, that the discharge of the jury was without the defendant's assent, was against his objections made at the time, and was without any moral or physical necessity justifying such a course on the part of the trial court.

On motion of the state the plea of former jeopardy was stricken from the files, the defendant at the time excepting to the action of the court.

There was a second trial, which resulted in the defendant being found 'guilty of failure to pay over money to his successor in office, in manner and form as charged in the indictment,' the jury stating in the verdict the amount not paid over to be $316,000, and imposing the punishment of confinement in the penitentiary.

The defendant, upon written grounds filed, moved for a new trial, and also moved in arrest of judgment. Both motions were overruled, and it was ordered and adjudged that the defendant be sentenced to the penitentiary 'for the crime of failure to pay over money to his successor in office, whereof he stands convicted.'

The judgment of the trial court having been affirmed by the supreme court of Illinois, the case is here upon writ of error allowed by the chief justice of that court.

Messrs.Alfred S. Austrian, T. A. Moran and Levy Mayer for plaintiff in error.

Messrs. H. J. Hamlin and [187 U.S. 71, 75]   Charles S. Deneen for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice Harlan, after stating the facts as above reported, delivered the opinion of the court:

It is contended that the judgment of the supreme court of Illinois, affirming the judgment, in the present case, of the criminal court of Cook county, in that state, denied to the plaintiff in error certain rights secured to him by the Constitution of the United States, particularly by the clause of the 14th Amendment forbidding a state to deprive any person of liberty without due process of law.

The defendant insists that three questions, involving rights secured by the Constitution of the United States, are presented by the assignments of error:

1. The first of those questions, as stated by his counsel, relates to the alleged 'omission to swear the bailiffs in the manner prescribed by the common law and the statutes of the state of Illinois before the jury retired to consider of their verdict.' This point will be first examined.

The Criminal Code of Illinois provides: 'When the jury retire to consider of their verdict, in any criminal case, a constable or other officer shall be sworn or affirmed to attend the jury to some private and convenient place, and to the best of his ability keep them together without meat or drink (water excepted), unless by leave of court, until they shall have agreed upon their verdict, nor suffer others to speak to them, and that when they shall have agreed upon their verdict he will return them into court: Provided, In cases of misdemeanor only, if the prosecutor for the People and the person on trial, by himself or counsel, shall agree, which agreement shall be entered upon the minutes of the court, to dispense with the attendance of an officer upon the jury, or that the jury, when they have agreed upon their verdict, may write and seal the same, and after delivering the same to the clerk, may separate, it shall be lawful for the court to carry into effect any such agreement, and receive any such verdict so delivered to the clerk as the [187 U.S. 71, 76]   lawful verdict of such jury.' Hurd's (Ill.) Rev. Stat. 1901, 435.

Referring to this section the supreme court, in the present case, said that it was reversible error, in a trial for a felony, to allow the jury to retire for the purpose of considering their verdict without being placed in charge of a sworn officer, as required by the statute,-citing McIntyre v. People, 38 Ill. 514, 518; Lewis v. People, 44 Ill. 452, 454; Sanders v. People, 124 Ill. 218, 16 N. E. 81; and Farley v. People, 138 Ill. 97, 27 N. E. 927. In Lewis v. People, just cited, the court observed that the provisions of the above section 'show the great care and solicitude of the general assembly to secure to every person a fair and impartial trial; and it is eminently proper, as in many cases the accused is imprisoned and it is not in his power to protect his rights from being prejudiced by undue influences. It should ever be the care of courts of justice to guard human life and liberty against being sacrificed by public prejudice or excitement. The jury should be entirely free from all outside influences from the time they are impaneled until they return their verdict and it is accepted and they discharged, and the legislature have determined that the provisions of this statute are necessary to accomplish the object. It is a provision easily complied with, and one member of the court, at least, has never, in practice, seen it dispensed with, except in cases of misdemeanor. The provisions of the statute are clear, explicit, and peremptory. We know of no power, short of its repeal, to dispense with this requirement.'

But the court further said: 'The point of controversy in the present case is not, however, whether it is reversible error to fail to comply with the statute, but whether the question is properly raised upon this record. No objection or exception was taken by the defendant, at the time of the retirement of the jury, that the officers in charge of it were not sworn, but the question was raised by him for the first time on his motion for new trial, one of the grounds of that motion being 'that when the jury retired to consider of their verdict in said case, no constable or other officer was sworn or affirmed to attend the jury, in manner and form as provided by the statute of the state of Illinois.' . . . Affidavits made by the bailiffs them- [187 U.S. 71, 77]   selves, and by an assistant of the prosecuting attorney, who participated in the trial, tend to prove that the oath administered was in the statutory form, but these affidavits also show that the only oath administered to them was on the 21st day of February, immediately after the impaneling and swearing of the jury. It is shown by the bill of exceptions that the trial was not concluded and the jury finally sent out, until February 28th, so that, even by the proof made on behalf of the people, the only oath taken by the bailiffs was some six days prior to their retirement with the jury, and prior to the introduction of evidence, and the subsequent steps of the trial. This cannot be held to be a compliance with the requirement of the statute that 'when the jury shall retire to consider of their verdict,' etc.; 'a constable or other officer shall be sworn,' etc. To swear the bailiffs immediately upon the jury being sworn, and prior to the introduction of the evidence, the arguments of counsel, and instructions of the court,-six or seven days prior to the retirement of the jury to consider of their verdict,-would be little less than farcical.' [188 Ill. 40, 58 N. E. 620, 59 N. E. 424.]

It was, however, held that, under the principles established by former decisions in Illinois, the requirement of the statute could be waived by the accused, and that his failure to object at the time, that the officer having charge of the jury was not sworn when the jury retired, was equivalent to a waiver of compliance with its provisions. And it was adjudged 'that the question whether or not, upon the retirement of the jury to consider of its verdict, it was placed in charge of a constable, or other officer, sworn to attend it, as prescribed by statute, is not properly raised by the record [of this case], and therefore [is] not available as error in this court.'

It thus appears that while the state court expressly recognized the rights of the accused under the statute, it adjudged that he had not properly raised on the record the question, raised for the first time on motion for a new trial, as to noncompliance with its provisions. But, manifestly, this decision presents no question of a Federal nature. A ruling to the effect that the accused shall be deemed to have waived compliance with the statute if the record does not show that he [187 U.S. 71, 78]   objected at the time to the action of the court was an adjudication simply of a question of criminal practice and local law, was not in derogation of the substantial right recognized by the statute, and did not impair the constitutional guaranty that no state shall deprive any person of liberty without due process of law. We cannot perceive that such a decision by the highest court of the state brings the case upon this point within the 14th Amendment, even if it should be assumed that the due process of law prescribed by that amendment required that a jury in a felony case should be placed in charge of an officer especially sworn at the time to attend and keep them together until they returned their verdict or were discharged.

We adjudge that in holding that the record did not sufficiently present for consideration the question now raised, the state court, even if it erred in its decision, did not infringe any right secured to the defendant by the Constitution of the United States.

2. Another question which counsel for the defendant contends is raised by the assignments of error relates to the final judgment of the criminal court of Cook county. It was adjudged by the trial court that the defendant be taken to the penitentiary of the state, at Joliet, and delivered to its warden or keeper, who was required and commanded to 'confine him in said penitentiary, in safe and secure custody, from and after the delivery thereof, until discharged by the state board of pardons as authorized and directed by law, provided such term of imprisonment in said penitentiary shall not exceed the maximum term for the crime for which the said defendant was convicted and sentenced.'

The judgment was in conformity with a statute of Illinois, approved April 21st, 1899, entitled 'An Act to Revise the Law in Relation to the Sentence and Commitment of Persons Convicted of Crime, and Providing for a System of Parole,' etc. The statute is sometimes referred to as the indeterminate sentence act of Illinois, and as its validity under the Constitution of the United States is assailed, its provisions must be examined.

That statute provides that every male person over twenty years of age, and every female person over eighteen years of [187 U.S. 71, 79]   age, convicted of a felony, or other crime punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary, except treason, murder, rape, and kidnapping, shall be sentenced to the penitentiary, the court imposing the sentence to fix its limit or duration, the term of such imprisonment not to be less than one year, nor exceeding the maximum term provided by law for the crime of which the prisoner was convicted, making allowance for good time, as provided by law. 1.

It was made the duty of each board of penitentiary commissioners to adopt such rules concerning prisoners committed to their custody as would prevent them from returning to criminal courses, best secure their self- support, and accomplish their reformation. To that end it provided that, whenever any prisoner was received into the penitentiary the warden should cause to be entered in a register the date of his admission, the name, nativity, nationality, with such other facts as could be ascertained, of parentage, education, occupation, and early social influences, as seemed to indicate the constitutional and acquired defects and tendencies of the prisoner, and, based upon these, an estimate of his then present condition, and the best probable plan of treatment. And the physician of the penitentiary was required to carefully examine each prisoner when received, and enter in a register the name, nationality or race, the weight, stature, and family history of each prisoner; also a statement of the condition of the heart, lungs, and other leading organs, the rate of the pulse and respiration, and the measurement of the chest and abdomen, and any existing disease or deformity, or other disability, acquired or inherited. Upon the warden's register was to be entered from time to time, minutes of observed improvement or deterioration of character, and notes as to the method and treatment employed; also all alterations affecting the standing or situation of the prisoner, and any subsequent facts or personal history, brought officially to his knowledge, bearing upon the question of the parole or final release of the prisoner; and it was the duty of the warden, or, in his absence, the deputy warden, of each penitentiary to attend each meeting of the board of pardons held at the penitentiary of which he was warden, for the purpose of examining prisoners as to [187 U.S. 71, 80]   their fitness for parole. He shall advise with that board concerning each case, and furnish it with his opinion, in writing, as to the fitness of each prisoner for parole, whose case the board considered. And it was made the duty of every public officer to whom inquiry was addressed by the clerk of the board of pardons concerning any prisoner, to give the board all information possessed or accessible to him, which might throw light upon the question of the fitness of the prisoner to receive the benefits of parole. 2.

It was made the duty of the judge before whom any prisoner was convicted, and also the state's attorney of the county in which he was convicted, to furnish the board of penitentiary commissioners an official statement of the facts and circumstances constituting the crime whereof the prisoner was convicted, together with all other information accessible to them in regard to the career of the prisoner prior to the time of the committal of the crime of which he was convicted, relative to his habits, associates, disposition, and reputation, and any other facts and circumstances tending to throw any light upon the question as to whether such prisoner was capable of again becoming a law-abiding citizen. 3.

Other sections of the statute are as follows:

In this connection we are referred to article 3 of the Constitution of Illinois, dividing the powers of government into three distinct departments,-legislative, executive, judicial,-and providing that 'no person or collection of persons being one of these departments shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except as hereinafter expressly directed or permitted;' to 1 of article 6 of the same Constitution, providing that 'the judicial powers, except as in this article is otherwise provided, shall be vested in one supreme court, circuit courts, county courts, justices of the peace, police magistrates, and in such courts as may be created by law in and for cities and incorporated towns;' and to 13 of article 5, providing that the pardoning power shall be in the governor of the state.

If we do not misapprehend the position of counsel, it is that the indeterminate sentence act of 1899 is inconsistent with the above provisions of the state Constitution, in that it confers judicial powers upon a collection of persons who do not belong to the judicial department, and, in effect, invests them with the pardoning power, committed by the Constitution to the governor of the state.

We will not stop to consider whether the statute is in conflict with the provisions of the state Constitution to which reference is here made. We may, however, in passing, observe that a similar statute, previously enacted, was upheld by the supreme court of Illinois. George v. People, 167 Ill. 447, 47 N. E. 741. It is only necessary now to say that, even if the statute in question were obnoxious to the objection now urged by plaintiff in error, it would not follow that this court would review a judgment of the highest court of the state, which expressly or by necessary implication sustained it as constitutional. A local statute investing a collection of persons not of the judicial department, with powers that are judicial, and authorizing them to exercise the pardoning power which alone belongs to the governor of the state, presents no question under the Constitution of the [187 U.S. 71, 84]   United States. The right to the due process of law prescribed by the 14th Amendment would not be infringed by a local statute of that character. Whether the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of a state shall be kept altogether distinct and separate, or whether persons or collections of persons belonging to one department may, in respect to some matters, exert powers which, strictly speaking, pertain to another department of government, is for the determination of the state. And its determination one way or the other cannot be an element in the inquiry, whether the due process of law prescribed by the 14th Amendment has been respected by the state or its representatives when dealing with matters involving life or liberty. 'When we speak,' said Story, 'of a separation of the three great departments of government, and maintain that that separation is indispensable to public liberty, we are to understand this maxim in a limited sense. It is not meant to affirm that they must be kept wholly and entirely distinct, and have no common link of connection or dependence, the one upon the other, in the slightest degree. The true meaning is, that the whole power of one of these departments should not be exercised by the same hands which possess the whole power of either of the other departments; and that such exercise of the whole would subvert the principles of a free Constitution.' Story, Const. 5th ed. 393. Again: 'Indeed, there is not a single constitution of any state in the Union, which does not practically embrace some acknowledgment of the maxim, and at the same time some admixture of powers constituting an exception to it.' Id. 395.

The objection that the act of 1899 confers upon executive or ministerial officers powers of a judicial nature does not, in our judgment, present any question under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

3. The remaining contention of the defendant is that, under the circumstances disclosed by the record, the second trial of the case placed him twice in jeopardy, and therefore the judgment should be reversed.

Under date of September 1st, 1899, the following order was made of record in the case: 'This day come the said People, [187 U.S. 71, 85]   by Charles S. Deneen, State's Attorney, and the said defendant, as well in his own proper person as by his counsel, also comes; and also come the jurors of the jury, aforesaid; and the aforesaid jury, hearing the arguments of counsel and instructions of the court, retire in charge of sworn officers to consider of their verdict.' And under date of September 2d, this order appears: 'This day come the said People, by Charles S. Deneen, State's Attorney, and the defendant, as well in his own proper person as by his counsel, also comes. And also come the jurors of the jury aforesaid, being now returned into court, and, being unable to agree upon a verdict, are thereupon, by order of this court, discharged from further consideration of this cause.'

It seems to be undisputed that the case was submitted to the jury at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and that the jury, having retired to consider of their verdict, were kept together until 9 o'clock and thirty minutes in the morning of the succeeding day, when they were finally discharged from any further consideration of the case.

The contention is that, notwithstanding the recital in the record that the jury were discharged by the court because they were unable to agree upon a verdict, such discharge was without moral or physical necessity, and operated as an acquittal of the defendant.

Upon the face of the question under examination the inquiry might arise whether the due process of law required by the 14th Amendment protects one accused of crime from being put twice in jeopardy of life or limb. In other words, is the right not to be put twice in jeopardy of life or limb forbidden by the 14th Amendment; or, so far as the Constitution of the United States is concerned, is it forbidden only by the 5th Amendment, which, prior to the adoption of the 14th Amendment, had been held as restricting only the powers of the national government and its agencies?

We pass this important question without any consideration of it upon its merits, and content ourselves with referring to the decision of this court in United States v. Perez, 9 Wheat. 579, 6 L. ed. 165. That was a capital case, in which, without the consent of the prisoner or of the attorney of the United States, the jury, [187 U.S. 71, 86]   being unable to agree, were discharged by the court from giving any verdict. This court, speaking by Mr. Justice Story, said: 'We are of opinion that the facts constitute no legal bar to a future trial. The prisoner has not been convicted or acquitted, and may again be put upon his defense. We think that in all cases of this nature the law has invested courts of justice with the authority to discharge a jury from giving any verdict, whenever, in their opinion, taking all the circumstances into consideration, there is a manifest necessity for the act, or the ends of public justice would otherwise be defeated. They are to exercise a sound discretion on the subject; and it is impossible to define all the circumstances which would render it proper to interfere. To be sure, the power ought to be used with the greatest caution, under urgent circumstances, and for very plain and obvious causes; and, in capital cases especially, courts should be extremely careful how they interfere with any of the chances of life in favor of the prisoner. But, after all, they have the right to order the discharge; and the security which the public have for the faithful, sound, and conscientious exercise of this discretion rests in this, as in other cases, upon the responsibility of the judges, under their oaths of office. We are aware that there is some diversity of opinion and practice on this subject in the American courts; but, after weighing the question with due deliveration, we are of opinion that such a discharge constitutes no bar to further proceedings, and gives no right of exemption to the prisoner from being again put upon trial.' If the due process of law required by the 14th Amendment embraces the guaranty that no person shall be put twice in jeopardy of life or limb,-upon which question we need not now express an opinion,-what was said in United States v. Perez is applicable to this case upon the present writ of error, and is adverse to the contention of the accused that he was put twice in jeopardy.

The principles settled in United States v. Perez, we may remark, were reaffirmed in Ex parte Lange, 18 Wall. 175, 21 L. ed. 878; Simmons v. United States, 142 U.S. 148 , 35 L. ed. 968, 12 Sup. Ct. Rep. 171; Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263 , 36 L. ed. 429, 12 Sup. Ct. Rep. 617; Thompson v. United States, 155 U.S. 274 , 39 L. ed. 149, 15 Sup. Ct. Rep. 73. [187 U.S. 71, 87]   The conclusion is that the judgment of the Supreme Court of Illinois did not deny to the plaintiff in error any right secured by the Constitution of the United States, and is therefore affirmed.

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