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COM. OF KENTUCKY v. POWERS, 201 U.S. 1 (1906)

U.S. Supreme Court

COM. OF KENTUCKY v. POWERS, 201 U.S. 1 (1906)

201 U.S. 1

COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
v.
CALEB POWERS.

Ex Parte: IN THE MATTER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, Petitioner.

Nos. 393, 15, Original.
No. 393
submitted January 22, 1906.
Decided March 12, 1906.

No. 15, Original, argued January 22, 1906

Decided March 12, 1906.

Messrs. N. B. Hays and Lawrence Maxwell, Jr., for appellant in No. 393. [201 U.S. 1, 2]   These cases arise out of a criminal prosecution begun in one of the courts of Kentucky, and, after several trials, removed on the petition of the accused, Caleb Powers, into the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Kentucky.

The principal question to be determined is whether the prosecution was removable from the state court.

After referring to the indictment and to the transfer of the prosecution into the circuit court of the United States, the petition for removal alleged that the accused was within the jurisdiction of the United States and of the commonwealth of Kentucky; that he was, and all of his life had been, a citizen of the United States, and of that commonwealth, and as such citizen was entitled to enforce in the judicial tribunals of Kentucky, [201 U.S. 1, 3]   on the trial and final disposition of said prosecution, all equal civil rights and equal protection of laws secured to him by that part of the Amendment providing that 'no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.' [Art. 14, 1.] He also claimed the rights secured by 1977 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 1259), providing, 'all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every state and territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other;' as well as those secured by the act of Congress of March 1st, 1875. (18 Stat. at L. 335, chap. 114, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 1260), the preamble of which declares that: 'Whereas, it is essential to just government we recognize the equality of all men before the law, and hold that it is the duty of government in its dealings with the people to mete out equal and exact justice to all, of whatever nativity, race, color or persuasion, religious or political; and it being the appropriate object of legislation to enact great fundamental principles into law.'

The petition then refers to the arrest of the accused on the 9th of March, 1900, upon the charge of being an accessory before the fact to the wilful murder of Wiliam Goebel, and alleges that on the 10th of March, 1900, and prior to the finding and reporting of the indictment against the accused, 'William S. Taylor, who was then the duly and legally elected, qualified, actual, and acting governor of the state of Kentucky, and had in his actual possession and under his actual control the office and executive mansion prepared by said state for its governor, and all the books, papers, records, and archives belonging thereto, in due form of law duly and legally granted and delivered [201 U.S. 1, 4]   to your petitioner, and your petitioner, accepted from him, a full, complete, absolute, and unconditional pardon, release, and acquittance of the identical charge against him in said indictment, and the charge now pending in said prosecution against your petitioner in said Scott circuit court, and under which your petitioner is now in custody; that said Taylor, at the time he granted said pardon, had the right and authority, under the Constitution and the laws of Kentucky, to grant same; that your petitioner accepted said pardon, and from the time same was granted he claimed, and he now claims, the full benefit and effect thereof and his liberty thereunder. That on the day said pardon was granted him it was, by said Taylor, as governor aforesaid, duly entered on the executive journal kept in his office, and a certificate thereof was duly and in due form of law, and as required by law, issued and delivered to him, duly executed by said governor and the secretary of said state, and placed in your petitioner's possession, and same was by your petitioner accepted. Your petitioner further states that at the time the said pardon was granted to him by his Excellency, the said William S. Taylor, and subsequent thereto, the said William S. Taylor was, and prior thereto he had been recognized, regarded, and treated as the duly elected, actual, and acting governor of the state of Kentucky by the executive power and executive departments, of the United States government, including the President, the Attorney General, and the Postmaster General, and by the postmaster at Frankfort, Kentucky;' that 'for said state to hold him in custody, or to try or to require him to be tried in any one of its courts for the offense alleged against him in and by said indictment, since the granting and acceptance of said pardon and the issuance and acceptance of the certificate thereof, is a denial to him of the equal protection of the laws and the equal civil rights to which he is entitled under and as provided for in and by the portions of said amendment to the Constitution of the United States above copied, and by said section of said Revised Statutes, and by said act of Congress;' and, that 'notwithstanding the granting and acceptance [201 U.S. 1, 5]   of said pardon, the issuance and acceptance of said certificate, the fact that the said William S. Taylor was the governor of Kentucky when said pardon was granted and when said certificate was issued, and was then recognized as such governor by said executive officers of the United States, that he cannot enforce in the said Scott circuit court in which said prosecution is pending, or in that part of the state in which said Scott county is located, or in any court, judicial tribunal, or place of the said state, the equal civil rights and the equal protection of the laws secured to him by each and all of the three portions of said amendment copied above, and by said section of the Revised Statutes of the United States, and by said act of Congress for the reasons now set forth.'

The accused here refers to the three trials to which he was subjected, and after stating that he was confined in the county jail, without bail, and awaiting trial, proceeds in his petition: 'That at each of said trials your petitioner presented to said Scott circuit court said certificate of pardon, and pleaded and offered in evidence said pardon and said certificate as a bar and complete defense to said prosecution and the trial and conviction of your petitioner under said indictment, but at each of said trials the said trial court overruled said pleas and refused to admit said pardon and certificate as evidence, and held and adjudged that said pardon and certificate were null and void and of no effect whatever, and in each of said trials the said holding of the trial court in reference to said pardon and certificate was duly excepted to and made one of the grounds which was presented and on which a reversal was asked by said court of appeals on the trial of each on said appeals heretofore mentioned, and on each one of said appeals your petitioner conteded that said pardon and certificate entitled him to an acquittal of the charge contained in said indictment, but the said court of appeals, on the trial and final disposition of each one of said appeals, failed and refused to hold that said pardon and certificate authorized your petitioner's acquittance of said charge; instead, that court, as the said trial court had [201 U.S. 1, 6]   done, held that said pardon and certificate were and are null and void and of no effect whatever. The holding of said court of appeals on the trial of each of said appeals was reduced to writing, and each holding, as prepared and ordered by said court of appeals, has been, by the official reporter of that court, under the court's direction, caused to be printed in, and is now a part of, the official printed reports of said court, and all of said holdings are now in full force and effect as, and they in fact are, the laws of said state in this case, and are binding upon and will have to control this honorable court. That the instances named are the only instances in which said court of appeals or any trial court of said state ever held any pardon and certificate thereof, granted, entered, and issued by any governor of Kentucky, to be void and of no effect. That in consequence of the action and holdings of said trial court and said court of appeals, above stated, this honorable court, cannot, and should this case be retried in this honorable court, could not, allow your petitioner to plead or introduce said pardon and certificate as evidence as a defense to the said charges contained in said indictment against him, and could not allow your petitioner his liberty and acquittal under and by virtue of said pardon and certificate, or allow said pardon and certificate to have any effect whatever in your petitioner's behalf, but instead is and will be bound in consequence of said laws to hold said pardon and certificate null and void and of no effect whatever.'

In the second paragraph of his petition for removal the accused states that he is a citizen of the United States and of Kentucky, and as such is entitled to enforce in the judicial tribunals of the state the equal civil rights and the equal protection of the law secured to him by the above constitutional provisions and statutes.

His petition then alleges: 'But your petitioner states that he is denied and cannot enforce in the judicial tribunals of this state and in the part of the state where this action is pending, the rights secured to him by said laws and each of said laws, [201 U.S. 1, 7]   because the said state of Kentucky has enacted a law which has not been repealed nor abrogated, and which is now in full force and effect, to wit , 281 of the Criminal Code of Practice of said state, which section reads as follows: 'The decisions of the court upon challenges to the panel and for cause, upon motions to set aside an indictment, and upon motions for a new trial, shall not be subject to exception;' and because of the decisions of the court of appeals of Kentucky, the highest judicial tribunal in this state, rendered in this action. . . . upholding the validity of said law, notwithstanding its plain contravention of the said provisions of the Constitution of the United States.

... * *

The affidavit referred to is given in full in the margin.

The affiant states that he ought not to be required to go to trial before a jury drawn as a panel for service at the present term of this court or already summoned from the county of Bourbon, for the following reasons, namely: that the political canvass in this state in 1899, in which the late William Goebel was candidate for the office of governor, was a heated and angry one, and tended to create great antagonism in the minds of his political adherents against those who opposed; that this canvass was followed by a contest before the state legislature for said office, in which the deepest and fiercest passions were stirred in the minds of his followers in this county, as well as in other counties of the state, including the county of Bourbon; that during that contest the said Geobel was killed, which killing tended still further to deepen and intensify the political passions of his friends and admirers in this county and in the county of Bourbon and throughout the state, against this affiant, who was a candidate for a state office on the Republican ticket in the said year of 1900. The passions thus created have since that time been stimulated and fed by the political contests which have since followed, and are still in existence, in this county and Bourbon county. Affiant says that, at a special term of this court in July, 1900, he was put on trial in this county, charged with being an accessory before the fact to the killing of said William Goebel, and was by the jury found guilty. From the judgment of the court at that term, the affiant appealed to the appellate court, the appeal being taken in the early part of September in said year; that at the subsequent October term of said court, jury commissioners for this county were selected whose duty it was to select a large number of names and place them in the jury wheel for service during the year 1901.

The three commissioners appointed were John Bradford, Ben Mallory, and H. H. Haggard, all three of whom were partisan supporters and allies, in the [201 U.S. 1, 11]   The petition then proceeds: 'Your petitioner states that although the statements in said affidavit were true and known to be true by the court, he was forced to submit to trial before a jury composed entirely of Goebel Democrats, your petitioner [201 U.S. 1, 12]   always having been a Republican in politics, as hereinabove stated; and, as hereinabove stated, your petitioner was at said trial found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment for life by the judgment of said Scott circuit court; that your petitioner took an appeal from the judgment so rendered, which judgment was [201 U.S. 1, 13]   reversed by the court of appeals of Kentucky at the September, 1902, term; that your petitioner was again and for the third time tried at a special term of the Scott circuit court under the charge hereinabove mentioned, which trial was begun and holden on the 3d day of August, 1903, and that of the number of one hundred and seventy-six venire men summoned from Bourbon county, from which the jury was selected, three only, or possibly four, were Republicans, and the remaining one hundred and seventy-three ( two) were Gobel Democrats and were summoned for Goebel Democrats and were summoned for from your petitioner, whereas there were many hundreds of Republicans and Independent Democrats in said county qualified for jury service, but your petitioner states they were purposely avoided and passed by in summoning said venire men, and that said trial jury was not selected impartially, as required by law; that in the year 1896 there were over twenty-six hundred votes in said county for William McKinley, Republican candidate for President of the United States, and about twenty-two hundred votes cast for William J. Bryan, his Democratic opponent; that in the year 1899 William S. Taylor, Republican candidate for governor of Kentucky, received twenty-seven more votes in said county than were cast for said William Goebel, his Democratic opponent, and that a jury impartially selected could not have been and would not have been, as it was, composed entirely of Goebel Democrats,-on his said third trial one juror, a Goebel supporter, but of doubtful politics, excepted.

Messrs. N. B. Hays, Lawrence Marwell, Jr., Robert B. Franklin, and C. J. Bronston for petitioner in No. 15 Original.

[201 U.S. 1, 18]   Messrs. Frank S. Black, Richard Yates, H. Clay Howard, James C. Sims, E. L. Worthington, R. C. Kinkead, and R. D. Hill for appellee.

Messrs. E. L. Worthington, Frank S. Black, Richard Yates, R. D. Hill, James C. Sims, and H. Clay Howard for respondent.

[201 U.S. 1, 22]  

Mr. Justice Harlan delivered the opinion of the court:

Powers, the accused, was indicted in the circuit court of Franklin county, Kentucky, for the crime of having been an accessory before the fact to the murder of William Goebel, who was assassinated in that county on the 30th day of January, 1900. The prosecution was removed by change of venue to the circuit court of Scott county. In the latter court the accused was found guilty and his punishment fixed by the jury at confinement in the state penitentiary for life. Upon appeal [201 U.S. 1, 23]   to the court of appeals of Kentucky the judgment was reversed and a new trial ordered. 110 Ky. 386, 53 L. R. A. 245, 61 S. W. 735. At the second trial the verdict was guilty, and the punishment was again fixed at confinement in the penitentiary for life. Upon appeal, that judgment was reversed and a new trial ordered. 114 Ky. 239, 70 S. W. 644, 1050, 71 S. W. 494. A third trial occurred, which resulted in a verdict of guilty, with the punishment fixed at death. This judgment was also reversed and the case sent back for a new trial. 26 Ky. L. Rep. 1111, 83 S. W. 146.

When the case came on for trial the fourth time the accused tendered and offered to file in the state court his petition praying, upon grounds therein stated (and which appear in the above statement), that the prosecution be removed for trial into the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Kentucky. But the state court would not allow the petition to be filed. Subsequently, a partial transcript of the record was filed in the Federal court, and the case was docketed in that court. The commonwealth objected to the filing of the transcript from the state court and to the docketing of the case in the Federal court, and moved to vacate the order of filing and docketing. That motion was overruled.

Thereupon the accused, by his counsel, presented to the Federal court an application for a writ of habeas corpus, in order that he might be discharged from the custody of the state authorities. For the reasons set forth in the opinion of that court the application was granted and a writ ordered to issue, commanding the jailer of Scott county, who held the accused in custody for the state, to deliver him into the custody of the marshal of the Federal court, which was done, that officer being directed to keep the accused confined in the county jail of Campbell county, Kentucky, until the further order of the Federal court. 139 Fed. 452. From that order the commonwealth of Kentucky has prosecuted the above appeal ( No. 393), the sole ground of such appeal being that the Federal court was without jurisdiction to make the [201 U.S. 1, 24]   order allowing the writ of habeas corpus and taking the accused from the custody of the state authorities. The accused has moved to dismiss the appeal because the remedy of the commonwealth was by a writ of mandamus.

The commonwealth also asked leave to file a petition for mandamus to compel the Federal court to remand the case to the state court and to restore the custody of the accused to the state authorities. Leave to file was granted and the Federal judge, having made his return, submitted the rule upon the record of the case, including the opinion filed by the court below when the writ of habeas corpus was awarded to take the accused from the custody of the state authorities. This is case No. 15, Original.

The fundamental question to be determined is whether the removal of this criminal prosecution from the state court into the Federal court was authorized by any statute of the United States. We say, by any statute, because the subordinate judicial tribunals of the United States can exercise only such jurisdiction, civil and criminal, as may be authorized by acts of Congress. Chief Justice Marshall, speaking for this court, has said that 'courts which originate in the common law possess a jurisdiction which must be regulated by their common law, until some statute shall change their established principles; but courts which are created by written law, and whose jurisdiction is defined by written law, cannot transcend that jurisdiction.' Ex Parte Bollman, 4 Cranch, 75, 93, 2 L. ed. 554, 560; United States v. Hudson, 7 Cranch, 32, 33, 3 L. ed. 259, 260; Cary v. Curtis, 3 How. 236, 245, 11 L. ed. 576, 581; M'Intire v. Wood, 7 Cranch, 504, 506, 3 L. ed. 420, 421; United States v. Eckford (United States v. Tillou) 6 Wall. 484, 488, 18 L. ed. 920, 921; Sheldon v. Sill, 8 How. 441, 449, 12 L. ed. 1147, 1151; Jones v. United States, 137 U.S. 202, 211 , 34 S. L. ed. 691, 695, 11 Sup. Ct. Rep. 80.

The adjudged cases make it clear that whatever the nature of a civil suit or criminal proceeding in a state court, it cannot be removed into a Federal court unless warrant therefor be found in some act of Congress. [201 U.S. 1, 25]   We are now to enquire whether the case was removable from the state court, in virtue of any act of Congress.

The removal of this prosecution into the Federal court was rested on 641 and 642 of the Revised Statutes (U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, pp. 520, 521), which are as follows:

The contention of the commonwealth is that the decisions of this court wholly preclude the suggestion that 641 authorized the removal of this case into the Federal court. In review of this contention we must see what has been heretofore decided. [201 U.S. 1, 26]   Among the cases to which our attention has been called, the first one, in point of time, involving the construction of 641, is Ex parte Wells, 3 Woods, 128, 132, Fed. Cas. No. 17,386, determined in the circuit court of the United States for the district of Louisiana, Mr. Justice Bradley presiding. The accused there sought to remove the prosecution from the state court, upon the ground, among others, that such vindictive prejudice existed against them on the part of the lawmaking and law-administering authorities of the state that they would be denied their rights as citizens in the state court, as well as before any jury that might be impaneled therein under the then-existing jury law of the state; consequently, they would not be able to enforce their rights in said court. It was also alleged that the state court and its officers had so manipulated the local law as to deprive the accused of an impartial jury, and that they would be deprived of the full and equal benefit of the laws and proceedings for the security of their persons. The court, having found that there was nothing in the Constitution or laws of the state that was hostile to the equal rights of the accused, in any particular, said: 'The allegations with regard to the manipulation of the law in such manner as to secure a jury inimical to the petitioners, and with regard to the existence of a general prejudice against them in the minds of the court, the jurors, the officials, and the people, are not within the purview of the statute authorizing a removal. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees the equal benefit of the laws, on which the present application is based, only prohibits state legislation violative of said right; it is not directed against individual infringements thereof. The civil rights bill of 1866 was broader in its scope, undertaking to vindicate those rights against individual aggression; but, still, only when committed under color of some 'law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom.' [14 Stat. at L. 27, chap. 31, 1.] And when that provision in this law, which is transferred to 641 of the Revised Statutes, gave the right to remove to the United States courts a cause commenced in a state court, against a person who is denied or cannot enforce any [201 U.S. 1, 27]   of the rights secured by the act, it had reference to a denial of those rights or impediments to their enforcement, arising from some state law, statute, regulation, or custom. It is only when some such hostile state legislation can be shown to exist, interfering with the party's right of defense, that he can have his cause removed to the Federal court.'

In Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, 309 , 312 S., 25 L. ed. 664, 666, 667, which was an indictment in a court of West Virginia against a person of the African race for the crime of murder, the accused, before the trial commenced, presented his petition for the removal of the case into the United States court upon the ground that the laws of the state, in relation to both grand and petit juries, discriminated against colored citizens, because of their race, in violation of the Constitution and the laws of the United States. The petition for removal was denied, and the accused was forced to a trial in the state court, found guilty, and sentenced. That judgment was affirmed by the supreme court of appeals of the state, and the case was brought here upon writ of error. This court held the state statute to be unconstitutional, as making an illegal discrimination against negroes, because of their race. After referring to what was said in United States v. Reese, 92 U.S. 214 , 23 L. ed. 563, to the effect that rights and immunities created by or dependent upon the Constitution of the United States can be protected by Congress, and that the form and manner of the protection may be such as Congress, in the legitimate exercise of its legislative discretion, shall provide, the court said; 'There is express authority to protect the rights and immunities referred to in the 14th Amendment, and to enforce observance of them by appropriate congressional legislation. And one very efficient and appropriate mode of extending such protection and securing to a party the enjoyment of the right or immunity is a law providing for the removal of his case from a state court, in which the right is denied by the state law, into a Federal court, where it will be upheld. This is an ordinary mode of protecting rights and immunities conferred by the Federal Constitution and laws. Section 641 is [201 U.S. 1, 28]   such a provision.' Adverting to the act from which 1977 and 1978 of the Revised Statutes (U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, pp. 1259-1262) were taken, the court further said: 'This act puts in the form of a statute what had been substantially ordained by the constitutional amendment. It was a step towards enforcing the constitutional provisions. Section 641 was an advanced step, fully warranted, we think, by the 5th section of the 14th Amendment.' Observe that this was the case of a state statute held to prevent the enforcement in the judicial tribunals of the state of rights secured to the accused by the Constitution of the United States. Upon that point this court said: 'That the petition of the plaintiff in error, filed by him in the state court before the trial of his case, made a case for removal into the Federal circuit court, under 641, is very plain, if, by the constitutional amendment and 1977 of the Revised Statutes, he was entitled to immunity from discrimination against him in the selection of jurors, because of their color, as we have endeavored to show that he was. It set forth sufficient facts to exhibit a denial of that immunity, and a denial by the statute law of the state. There was error, therefore, in proceeding to the trial of the indictment against him after his petition was filed, as also in overruling his challenge to the array of the jury, and in refusing to quash the panel.'

In Virginia v. Rives (Ex parte Virginia), 100 U.S. 313, 321 , 25 S. L. ed. 667, 670, which was an indictment in a court of Virginia against colored persons charged with the crime of murder, the accused moved that the venire, which was composed entirely of white men, should be modified so as to allow one third of the jury to be composed of colored men. That motion was overruled. Thereupon the defendants, before the trial, sought by petition to have the prosecution removed into the Federal court, upon the ground that the right secured to them by the act of Congress providing for the equal civil rights of all citizens of the United States was denied to them in the judicial tribunals of the county in which the prosecution was pending; also, upon the ground that the grand jury finding the indictment had been organized in discrimination against the [201 U.S. 1, 29]   colored race because of their race. The application to remove the case was denied, and the defendants were tried in the state court and convicted. The case at that stage of the trial was docketed, at the motion of the accused, in the Federal court, and, upon writ of habeas corpus sued out from that court. they were taken from the custody of the state, and placed in the custody of the United States marshal. The commonwealth of Virginia obtained from this court a rule against the judge of the Federal court to show cause why the accused should not be redelivered to the authorities of the state, to be dealt with according to the laws of that commonwealth. The judge made his return to the rule, averring that the indictments were removed into the Federal court by virtue of 641 of the Revised Statutes. It is important to notice that there was no claim in that case that either the Constitution or laws of Virginia denied the civil rights of colored people, or stood in the way of their enforcing the equal protection of the laws. The law, this court said, made no discrimination against them because of their color, nor any discrimination at all. And further, referring to the officer charged with the duty of selecting jurors, this court said: 'He made himself liable to punishment at the instance of the state and under the laws of the United States. In one sense, indeed, his act was the act of the state, and was prohibited by the constitutional amendment. But, inasmuch as it was a criminal misuse of the state law, it cannot be said to have been such a 'denial or disability to enforce in the judicial tribunals of the state,' the rights of colored men, as is contemplated by the removal act. 641. It is to be observed that act gives the right of removal only to a person 'who is denied, or cannot enforce, in the judicial tribunals of the state, his equal civil rights.' And this is to appear before trial. When a statute of the state denies his right, or interposes a bar to his enforcing it, in the judicial tribunals, the presumption is fair that they will be controlled by it in their decisions; and in such a case a defendant may affirm on oath what is necessary for a removal. Such a case is clearly within the provisions of 641. But [201 U.S. 1, 30]   when a subordinate officer of the state, in violation of state law, undertakes to deprive an accused party of a right which the statute law accords to him, as in the case at bar, it can hardly be said that he is denied, or cannot enforce, 'in the judicial tribunals of the state' the rights which belong to him. In such a case it ought to be presumed the court will redress the wrong. If the accused is deprived of the right, the final and practical denial will be in the judicial tribunal which tries the case, after the trial has commenced. If, as in this case, the subordinate officer, whose duty it is to select jurors, fails to discharge that duty in the true spirit of the law; if he excludes all colored men solely because they are colored; or if the sheriff to whom a venire is given, composed of both white and colored citizens, neglects to summon the colored jurors only because they are colored; of if a clerk whose duty it is to take the twelve names from the box rejects all the colored jurors for the same reason,-it can with no propriety be said the defendant's right is denied by the state, and cannot be enforced in the judicial tribunals. The court will correct the wrong, will quash the indictment or the panel, or, if not, the error will be corrected in a superior court. We cannot think such cases are within the provisions of 641. Denials of equal rights in the action of the judicial tribunals of the state are left to the revisory powers of this court.'

The question as to the scope of 641 of the Revised Statute again arose in the subsequent cases of Neal v. Delaware, 103 U.S. 370, 386 , 26 S. L. ed. 567, 570; Bush v. Kentucky, 107 U.S. 110, 116 , 27 S. L. ed. 354, 356, 1 Sup. Ct. Rep. 625; Gibson v. Mississippi, 162 U.S. 565, 581 , 584 S., 40 L. ed. 1075, 1078, 1079, 16 Sup. Ct. Rep. 904, and Smith v. Mississippi, 162 U.S. 592, 600 , 40 S. L. ed. 1082, 1085, 16 Sup. Ct. Rep. 900. In each of these cases it was distinctly adjudged, in harmony with previous cases, that the words in 641-'who is denied or cannot enforce in the judicial tribunals of the state, or in the part of the state where such suit or prosecution is pending, any right secured to him by any law providing for the equal civil rights of citizens of the United States, or of all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States'-did not give the right of removal, unless [201 U.S. 1, 31]   the Constitution or the laws of the state in which the criminal prosecution was pending denied or prevented the enforcement in the judicial tribunals of such state of the equal rights of the accused as secured by any law of the United States. Those cases, as did the prior ones, expressly held that there was no right of removal under 641, where the alleged discrimination against the accused, in respect of his equal rights, was due to the illegal or corrupt acts of administrative officers, unauthorized by the Constitution or laws of the state, as interpreted by its highest court. For wrongs of that character the remedy, it was held, is in the state court, and ultimately in the power of this court, upon writ of error, to protect any right secured or granted to an accused by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and which has been denied to him in the highest court of the state in which the decision, in respect of that right, could be had.

In Gibson v. Mississippi, supra, the words of this court as to the scope of 641 were very emphatic. In that case there was a conviction in a state court of a negro for the crime of murder, and in which one of the questions, upon writ of error to the highest court of that state, was as to the action of the trial court in denying a petition for the removal of the prosecution to the Federal court. This court said: 'When the Constitution and laws of a state, as interpreted by its highest judicial tribunal, do not stand in the way of the enforcement of rights secured equally to all citizens of the United States, the possibility that during the trial of a particular case the state court may not respect and enforce the right to the equal protection of the laws constitutes no ground, under the statute, for removing the prosecution into the circuit court of the United States in advance of a trial. We may repeat here what was said in Neal v. Delaware, namely, that in thus construing the statute 'we do not withhold from a party claiming that he is denied, or cannot enforce in the judicial tribunals of the state, his constitutional equality of civil rights, all opportunity of appealing to the courts of the United States for redress [201 U.S. 1, 32]   of his wrongs. For if not entitled, under the statute, to the removal of the suit or prosecution, he may, when denied, in the subsequent proceedings of the state court, or in the execution of its judgment, any right, privilege, or immunity given or secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, bring the case here for review.' . . . We therefore held in Neal v. Delaware that Congress had not authorized a removal of the prosecution from the state court, where jury commissioners or other subordinate officers had, without authority derived from the Constitution and laws of the state, excluded colored citizens from juries because of their race.' Again: 'The application was to remove the prosecution from the state court, and a removal, as we have seen could not be ordered upon the ground simply that citizens of African descent had been improperly excluded, because of their race, and without the sanction of the Constitution and laws of the state, from service on previous grand juries, or from service on the particular grand jury that returned the indictment against the accused. We do not overlook in this connection the fact that the petition for the removal of the cause into the Federal court alleged that the accused, by reason of the great prejudice against him on account of his color, could not secure a fair and impartial trial in the county, and that he prayed an opportunity to subpoena witnesses to prove that fact. Such evidence, if it had been introduced, and however cogent, could not, as already shown, have entitled the accused to the removal sought; for the alleged existence of race prejudice interfering with a fair trial was not to be attributed to the Constitution and laws of the state. It was incumbent upon the state court to see to it that the accused had a fair and impartial trial, and to set aside any verdict of guilty based on prejudice of race.'

The cases to which we have adverted had reference, it is true, to alleged discriminations against negroes because of their race. But the rules announced in them equally apply where the accused is of the white race. Section 641, as well as the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, is for the benefit of all [201 U.S. 1, 33]   of every race whose cases are embraced by its provisions, and not alone for the benefit of the African race.

We have not overlooked the suggestion, earnestly pressed upon our attention, that it is impossible for the accused to obtain a fair trial in the locality where the prosecution is pending. Indeed, the suggestion is, in effect, that there was a deliberate purpose on the part of those charged with the administration of justice in that locality to take his life, under the forms of law, even if the facts did not establish his guilt of the crime charged. It is true that, looking alone at the petition for removal, the trials of the accused disclose such misconduct on the part of administrative officers connected with those trials as may well shock all who love justice and recognize the right of every human being, accused of crime, to be tried according to law. The case, as made by the record, it must be conceded, tends to show, if it does not justify the belief, that administrative officers having connection with the trial of the accused had it in mind, at each trial, to exclude from the jury, so far as it was possible to do so, every person, however competent, who belonged to the same political party as the accused. In his separate opinion, in 26 Ky. L. Rep. 1111, 1117, 83 S. W. 146, 149, Judge Barker, of the court of appeals of Kentucky, referring to the third trial of the accused, said: 'It is clear that the trial judge was of opinion that it was not an offense against the 14th Amendment or a denial of the equal protection of the laws to the defendant to exclude Republicans [the accused being a Republican in politics] from the jury, solely because they were Republicans, provided the selected Democrats [the deceased Goebel being a Democrat in politics] were possessed of the statutory qualifications required for jury service.'

It is appropriate here to recall that the circuit court, referring to the petition for removal, said: 'The commonwealth of Kentucky has not filed a reply to said petition for removal, or in any way taken issue with the defendant as to any of the allegations thereof. Said allegations must, therefore, be accepted as true, save in so far as they may contradicted by thetranscript [201 U.S. 1, 34]   on file herein. In the case of Dishon v. Cincinnati, N. O. & T. P. R. Co. 66 C. C. A. 345, 133 Fed. 471, Judge Richards, in discussing the affirmative allegations of a petition for removal in a civil suit under the jurisdictional acts of 1887, 1888, (24 Stat. at L. 552, chap. 373, 25 Stat. at L. 433, chap. 866, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 508), said: 'If these averments were not true, the plaintiff should have denied them, and an issue would then have been made for the court below to try and determine. No answer was filed; no issue in any other way was taken. The plaintiff contented himself with making a motion to remand, and which only raised a legal question, namely, whether, upon the facts stated in the petition for removal, taken in connection with the record, a case for removal was made out.' In the case of Whitten v. Tomlinson, 160 U.S. 231 , 40 L. ed. 406, 16 Sup. Ct. Rep. 297, Justice Gray, in referring to a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, under 751-755, U. S. Rev. Stat. ( U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, pp. 592, 593), said: 'In a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, verified by oath of the petitioner, as required by U. S. Rev. Stat. 754, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 593, facts duly alleged may be taken to be true, unless denied by the return, or controlled by other evidence. But no allegation of fact in the petition can be assumed to be admitted, unless distinct and unambiguous.' The allegations of the petition for removal are not borne out by the transcript in all their detail. They are, however, borne out to a substantial degree, and are not contradicted in any substantial particular. It establishes the discrimination complained of in the selection of the jurors by the subordinate officers having to do therewith on the second and third trials, and that on both trials the Scott circuit court held that such discrimination was not illegal and the defendant had no right to complain thereof, it not being claimed that the jurors selected did not possess the statutory qualifications. As to the first trial, all that the transcript shows is that it was one of the grounds of defendant's motion for new trial that the circuit judge, after the regular panel was exhausted, had refused to draw from the wheel the names of the jurors placed there in the fall of 1899, before any motive for discrimination had arisen, concerning which Judge Du Relle had this to say in the opinion delivered by him on behalf of the majority of the court of appeals [201 U.S. 1, 35]   on the first appeal: 'In the grounds relied on in the motion for new trial it is stated that the court overruled the motion of appellant, after the regular panel was exhausted, to draw the remaining names necessary to complete the jury from the jury wheel. It is to be regretted that, in a case concerning which so much feeling existed, the simple and easy mode was not adopted, which would have put beyond cavil the question of the accused having a trial by jury impartially selected. This will doubtless be done upon the succeeding trial."

Taking, then, the facts to be as represented in the petition for removal, still the remedy of the accused was not to have prosecution removed into the Federal court, that court not being authorized to take cognizance of the case upon removal from the state court. It is not contended, as it could not be, that the Constitution and laws of Kentucky deny to the accused any rights secured to him by the Constitution of the United States or by any act of Congress. Such being the case, it is impossible, in view of prior adjudications, to hold that this prosecution was removable into the circuit court of the United States by virtue of 641 of the Revised Statutes. Such a case as the one before us has not been provided for by any act of Congress; that is, a circuit court of the United States has not been authorized to take cognizance of a criminal prosecution commenced in a state court for an alleged crime against the state, where the Constitution and laws of such state do not permit discrimination against the accused in respect of such rights as are specified in the first clause of 641. This court, while sustaining the subordinate courts of the United States in the exercise of such jurisdiction as has been lawfully conferred upon them, must see to it that they do not usurp authority not affirmatively given to them by acts of Congress. In Mansfield C. & L. M. R. Co. v. Swan, 111 U.S. 379, 382 , 28 S. L. ed. 462, 463, 4 Sup. Ct. Rep. 510, 511, we said that 'the rule, springing from the nature and limits of the judicial power of the United States, is inflexible and without exception, which requires this court, of its own motion, to deny its own jurisdiction, and, in the exercise of its appellate power, that of [201 U.S. 1, 36]   all other courts of the United States, in all cases where such jurisdiction does not affirmatively appear in the record on which, in the exercise of that power, it is called to act. On every writ of error or appeal the first and fundamental question is that of jurisdiction,-first, of this court, and then of the court from which the record comes. This question the court is bound to ask and answer for itself, even when not otherwise suggested, and without respect to the relation of the parties to it.' This principle has been again and again reaffirmed. Great Southern Fire Proof Hotel Co. v. Jones, 177 U.S. 449, 453 , 44 S. L. ed. 842, 843, 20 Sup. Ct. Rep. 690, and authorities there cited.

Now, it affirmatively appears of record that the circuit court has taken jurisdiction of this case on removal from the state court, when, as we hold, no act of Congress authorized it do so. We cannot, in fidelity to the law, as declared in former cases, overlook this defect of jurisdiction in the court below or fail to express our inability to concur in the views of the learned court below upon this point.

The circuit court said: 'I, therefore, conclude that the prior action of the Scott circuit court denying the defendant the equal protection of the laws is a real hindrance and obstacle to his asserting his right thereto in a future trial therein,-just as real as an unconstitutional statute would be,-and that the defendant is denied the equal protection of the laws in said court, within the meaning of said section, and entitled to a removal on account thereof. He is denied in said court the equal protection of the laws because he has been denied, and such denial has never been set aside, but remains in full force and effect. . . . By an 'inability to enforce in the judicial tribunals of the state' is meant, as I construe the statute, any judicial tribunal of the state that may have jurisdiction of the prosecution.' This view is met by what has been said in former cases, namely, that the words in 641-'who is denied or cannot enforce in the judicial tribunals of the state'-have no application to any case where the rights secured to an accused 'by any law providing for the equal civil rights of citizens of the United States, [201 U.S. 1, 37]   or of all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States,' are recognized or are not denied by the Constitution or laws of the state in which the prosecution is pending.

Under this holding, the accused is not deprived of opportunity to have his rights, of whatever nature, which are secured or guaranteed to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, fully protected by a Federal court. But, it is said that the action of the trial court in refusing to quash the indictment or the panel of petit jurors, although the motion to quash was based on Federal grounds, cannot, under the laws of Kentucky, be reviewed by the court of appeals, the highest court of that commonwealth. If such be the law of Kentucky, as declared by the statutes and by the court of appeals of that commonwealth, then, after the case is disposed of in that court by final judgment, in respect of the matters of which, under the local law, it may take cognizance, a writ of error can run from this court to the trial court as the highest court of Kentucky in which a decision of the Federal question could be had; and this court in that event, upon writ of error, reviewing the final judgment of the trial court, can exercise such jurisdiction in the case as may be necessary to vindicate any right, privilege, or immunity specially set up or claimed under the Constitution and laws of the United States, and in respect of which the decision of the trial court is made final by the local law; that is, it may re-examine the final judgment of the trial court so far as it involved and denied the Federal right, privilege, or immunity asserted. This must be so, else it will be in the power of a state to so regulate the jurisdiction of its courts as to prevent this court from protecting rights secured by the Constitution, and improperly denied in a subordinate state court, although specially set up and claimed. What we have said is clear from 709 of the Revised Statutes (U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 575), which declares that 'a final judgment or decree in any suit in the highest court of a state, in which a decision in the suit could be had, . . . where any title, right, privilege, or immunity is claimed under the Constitution, . . . and the decision is against the title, right, privilege, or immunity [201 U.S. 1, 38]   specially set up or claimed, by either party, under such Constitution , . . . may be re-examined and reversed or affirmed in the Supreme Court upon a writ of error.' Looking at the object of that section it must be held that this court has jurisdiction, upon writ of error, to re-examine the final judgment of a subordinate state court denying a Federal right, specially set up or claimed, if, under the local law, that court is the highest court of the state entitled to pass upon such claim of Federal right. The great case of Cohen v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. 264, 5 L. ed. 257, which was a criminal prosecution for a misdemeanor, was brought to this court, upon writ of error, from the quarterly session court for the borough of Norfolk, Virginia, and our jurisdiction was sustained upon the ground that such court was the highest court of the state in which, under the laws of Virginia, that case was cognizable. In Downham v. Alexandria, 9 Wall. 659, 19 L. ed. 807, which was a suit for taxes against a dealer in liquors, the court said: 'The legislature, then, having thought fit to make the judgment of the district court in this case final and without appeal, that court is, for this case, the highest court in which the decision could be made; and the writ of error is, therefore, warranted by the act of Congress, and regular.' In Gregory v. McVeigh, 23 Wall, 294, 306, 23 L. ed. 156, 157, which was a writ of error to the corporation court of Alexandria, Virginia, and in which there was a motion to dismiss for want of jurisdiction, this court, said: 'The court of appeals is the highest court in the state of Virginia. If a decision of a suit could be had in that court, we must wait for such a decision before we can take jurisdiction, and then can only examine the judgment of that court. If, however, the suit is one of which that court cannot take jurisdiction, we may re-examine the judgment of the highest court which, under the laws of the state, could decide it. . . . We think, therefore, that the judgment of the corporation court of the city of Alexandria is the judgment of the highest court of the state in which a decision of the suit could be had, and that we may re-examine it upon error.' In Bergemann v. Backer, 157 U.S. 655, 659 , 39 S. L. ed. 845, 848, 15 Sup. Ct. Rep. 727, 728, a criminal prosecution for murder [201 U.S. 1, 39]   in a subordinate court of New Jersey, this court said: 'If the proceedings in the court of oyer and terminer could not, under the laws of New Jersey, be reviewed in a higher court of that state, except upon the allowance of a writ of error by such court or by some judge, and if such allowance was refused, then the judgment of the court of original jurisdiction was, within the meaning of the acts of Congress, the judgment of the highest court of the state in which a determination of the case could be had, and such judgment could have been, upon writ of error re-examined here, if it had denied any right, privilege, or immunity specially set up and claimed under the Constitution of the United States.' So, in Missouri, K. & T. R. Co. v. Elliott, 184 U.S. 530, 539 , 46 S. L. ed. 673, 678, 22 Sup. Ct. Rep. 446, in which the defendant made a claim of immunity in virtue of an authority exercised under the United States, it was held that our writ of error ran, not to the supreme court of Missouri, but to the Kansas City court of appeals,-the highest court in which, under the law of that state, the question as to that immunity could be decided.

It is necessary to notice one other point made in behalf of the accused. At each of the trials he pleaded in bar of the prosecution a pardon granted to him on the 10th day of March, 1900, by William S. Taylor, who was alleged to have been, at the time, the duly elected, qualified, actual, and acting governor of Kentucky, having in his possession and under his control all the books, papers, records, and archives, as well as the executive mansion, belonging to the office of governor. That pardon, it is alleged, was accepted by the accused. It is further alleged that at the time said pardon was issued Taylor had been recognized, regarded, and treated as the lawful governor of Kentucky by the executive power and executive department of the government of the United States, including the President, the Attorney General, and the Postmaster General, and by the postmaster at Frankfort, the capital of Kentucky. The petition for removal alleged that the court in which the accused was tried, as well as the court of appeals of Kentucky, had refused to recognize said pardon as having any legal effect, and had [201 U.S. 1, 40]   thereby denied to him the equal civil rights and the equal protection of the laws secured to him by the above provisions of the Constitution and laws of the United States; consequently, it was contended, he was denied, and could not enforce, in any judicial tribunal of Kentucky, the rights which said pardon gave him.

Manifestly, in view of what has already been said, this question as to the pardon of the accused does not make a case of removal on the ground of the denial or inability to enforce in the judicial tribunals of Kentucky of a right secured to the accused 'by any law providing for the equal civil rights of citizens of the United States or of all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States.' Whether the non-recognition by the courts of the state of the validity of the alleged pardon involved a denial of any right secured to the accused by any other law or by the Constitution of the United States, we need not now consider. As the circuit court could not, in virtue of 641, take cognizance of this prosecution or removal, we cannot properly pass upon the merits of any question of Federal right which might arise in the case. It is sufficient to say that if the accused, by reason of the Taylor pardon, acquired any right under the Constitution or laws of the United States, and if, at the next trial of his case, that right, having been specially set up and claimed, should be denied by the highest court of the state in which a decision of that question could be had, such action of that court, in respect of that pardon, can be reviewed here upon writ of error. We do not perceive that any question arising out of the pardon could make a case under 641 for the removal of the prosecution from the state court.

We are all of opinion that the order awarding the writ of habeas corpus cum causa must be reversed, with directions to set aside that order as well as the order docketing the case in the circuit court of the United States; also, that the rule in relation to mandamus must be made absolute, the prosecution remanded to the state court, and the custody of the accused surrendered to the state authorities.

It is so ordered.

Footnotes

contest referred to, of the said William Goebel, deceased. The said jury commissioners discharged the work assigned to them by placing in said jury wheel the names of two hundred citizens of Scott county, for purposes of said jury service; that at the February term, 1901 of the circuit court of this county, and at the May term of the said year, seventy-five or more names were drawn from the jury wheel for said service; that at the present term there were drawn from the said jury wheel for the purpose of securing a jury in this case about one hundred and twenty-five names, that being the entire number of names placed in the wheel. Affiant further states that at the regular state election of 1900, in the county of Scott, there were cast for the Democratic candidate, in round numbers, 2,500 votes, and for the Republican candidate 2,100 votes; that of these 2,100 votes not less than 1,300 were white voters of equal character, standing, and intelligence with the white voters who cast their votes for the Democratic party at said election.

Affiant says that, despite these conditions, which were shown to exist in this county, that of the 200 names placed in the jury wheel by the aforesaid commissioners and drawn out as herein described, only five were supporters of the Republican party, and the other 195 being active partisan friends and supporters of the party with which William Goebel was identified as its leader, and whose minds and passions had been inflamed against this affiant by continued political agitation.

The affiant further says that of the five Republicans whose names were placed in the jury wheel for jury service by said commissioners, as before stated, one man drawn for service at the February term of this court, 1901, and another at the May term; of the remaining three, two of them at the present term disqualified themselves herein by previously formed opinions, and the fifth and last, after qualification and acceptance on the voir dire, was peremptorily challenged by the commonwealth. The affiant says that it will be impossible under these circumstances for him to avoid being tried at this term of this court except by a jury composed entirely of his political opponents, and exclusively made up of those who were the adherents and admirers of said Goebel, and it will be impossible for him to obtain a fair and impartial trial before any jury so constituted and formed.

The affiant further states that the officers of this county who went to Bourbon county to summon the men for jury service sent directly to the sheriff of Bourbon county, who, together with his deputies, were earnest and ardent adherents, supporters, and friends of the said William Goebel, and opposed politically to this affiant; that the officers of this county consulted and advised with the said officers of Bourbon county as to the selection of the men summoned, and that Wallace Mitchell, deputy sheriff of said county, James Burke, another deputy sheriff of said county, Joseph Williams, a constable of Bourbon county, and James A. Gibson, a guard for county prisoners in Bourbon county, all of whom are the political adherents of said Goebel and politically opposed to this affiant, acted with them in making the selection and summoning said men.

He says that the political complexion of Bourbon is almost equally Democratic and Republican, there being a slight majority in favor of the Democratic party; that of the Republicans, about three fifths are colored, but there are many conscientious, fairminded and respectable citizens of Bourbon county, qualified for jury service, of the same political faith of this affiant, a great many of whom could have been as readily and conveniently summoned, and who would give to both sides herein a fair and impartial trial; but that none of such persons were summoned with the exception of two men, and with these exceptions ninety-one of the ninety- three names appearing upon the list furnished this affiant as a correct list of the men summoned from Bourbon county are the names of the supporters and adherents of said Goebel, and opposed politically to this affiant, and were summoned for jury service herein by reason of such fact, as this affiant believes.

Affiant further states that said Wallace Mitchell the deputy sheriff of Bourbon county, is now a candidate for sheriff of said county, seeking an election at the hands of the supporters and adherents of said William Goebel, and is their nominee for said office. Said Mitchell, in the fall of 1900, acted in summoning for jury service in this court in the case of the Com. v. Youtsey, indicted for the same offense as this affiant, and in making the selection of men to serve as jurors therein, made the statement that he would not summons a single Brown Democrat or Republican for such service, and he did not summons any such.

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