BENSON V. UNITED STATES, 146 U. S. 325 (1892)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Benson v. United States, 146 U.S. 325 (1892)

Benson v. United States

No. 1007

Argued October 28, 31, 1892

Decided Decembers, 1892

146 U.S. 325


The Constitution permits a state to cede to the United States jurisdiction over a portion of its territory.

The United States has exclusive jurisdiction over the entire Fort Leavenworth Reservation in Kansas, except as jurisdiction was reserved to the State of Kansas by the act of cession.

If a party does not object to testimony when offered, he cannot afterwards be heard to say that there was error in receiving it.

An objection to the competency of testimony made after the witness has left the stand, and after several other witnesses have been subsequently examined, comes too late, and a motion, in such case, to strike out the testimony on the ground of incompetency is held to have been properly overruled.

When two persons are jointly indicted for crime and a severance is ordered, one of the accused, whose case is undisposed of, may be called and examined as a witness on behalf of the government against his co-defendant.

The plaintiff in error, Benson, was indicted in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Kansas jointly with one Mary Rautzahn, for a murder alleged to have been committed at the Fort Leavenworth Military Reservation, within that district and within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States.

On the trial, Benson's wife was called as a witness on behalf of the government, and was admitted to testify. At the time when her evidence was taken, no objection was made to it, but in a subsequent stage of the proceedings, after several other witnesses had been examined, a motion was made to exclude it.

On the motion of the government, a severance was had between the case of Mary Rautzahn and that of Benson. She, not having been tried, was called as a witness on behalf of the government against Benson, and her testimony was admitted.

Page 146 U. S. 326

Benson, being convicted, sued out this writ of error, and assigned for error (1) that the alleged crime was not committed within the jurisdiction of the United States; (2) that the evidence given by his wife was improperly admitted against him, and (3) that Mary Rautzahn was not a competent witness against him.

Page 146 U. S. 329

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