FRANKLIN V. SOUTH CAROLINA, 218 U. S. 161 (1910)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Franklin v. South Carolina, 218 U.S. 161 (1910)

Franklin v. South Carolina

No. 164

Argued April 20, 21, 1910

Decided May 31, 1910

218 U.S. 161


On writ of error to review a judgment of conviction of the state court this Court has no jurisdiction to notice errors other than those which involve alleged violations of federal rights. The states have the right to administer their own laws for the prosecution of crime so long as fundamental rights secured by federal law are not denied.

Whether provisions as to qualifications of jurors and electors in subsequently adopted constitution and subsequently enacted laws of one of the states enumerated in the Act of Congress of June 25, 1868, c. 70, 15 Stat. 73, providing that the constitution of such states should never be amended so as to deprive citizens of the United States of their rights as electors, violate such act will not be determined at the instance of a person convicted of crime unless it appears that persons qualified under the federal act were disqualified, and thereby prevented from serving on the jury by the constitution and laws the validity whereof is attacked.

Quaere whether the Act of June 25, 1868, c. 70, 15 Stat. 73, does restrict the states enumerated therein in fixing the qualifications for suffrage within such states respectively.

Where the real objection is that a grand jury is so made up as to exclude persons of the race of accused, the facts establishing the contention must be averred and proved. Martin v. Texas, 200 U. S. 316.

Where the state court has held that, under the state jury law, the commissioners are only required to select men of good moral character and that competent negroes are equally eligible with others, this Court cannot hold that a negro is denied equal protection of the law by reason of the statute because the commissioners have not selected any negroes for the grand jury which indicted him, and so held as to the jury law of 1902 of South Carolina.

The granting and denial of continuances are matters within the discretion of the trial court, and are not ordinarily reviewable; in this case, the refusal to grant a continuance did not amount to a denial of due process of law to the accused.

Quaere, and not decided in this case, to what extent one can resist arrest under process issued under a void or unconstitutional law.

Page 218 U. S. 162

Where one about to be arrested by an officer of the law under process issued under a law which is unconstitutional shoots the officer upon his entering the room, the question of right of resistance to arrest is for the jury, and the accused is not entitled to a peremptory instruction of dismissal, nor is he denied due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment by the refusal of the court to give such instruction because the process was issued under a statute violative of the Thirteenth Amendment, to-wit, § 357 of the Criminal Code of South Carolina in regard to agricultural contracts.

80 S.C. 332 affirmed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

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