COLORADO V. SYMES, 286 U. S. 510 (1932)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Colorado v. Symes, 286 U.S. 510 (1932)

Colorado v. Symes

No.19, Original

Rule to show cause issued March 21, 1932

Return to rule submitted April 11, 1932

Decided May 31, 1932

286 U.S. 510


1. The protection of Jud.Code, § 33, by which criminal proceedings begun in state courts against revenue officers on account of their

Page 286 U. S. 511

official acts, etc., may be removed to federal courts, extends to prohibition agents. 27 U.S.C. § 45. P. 286 U. S. 517.

2. While this removal act should be construed liberally to effect its purpose of maintaining the supremacy of the federal laws, it must also be construed with the highest regard for the right of the States to make and enforce their own laws in the field belonging to them under the Constitution, Id.

3. A federal officer claiming removal from a state court of a prosecution against him charging murder, must plainly set forth, by petition made, signed and unequivocally verified by himself all the facts relating to the occurrence, as he claims them to be, on which the accusation is based, and it must fairly appear from the showing made that his claim is not without foundation and is made in good faith. P. 286 U. S. 518.

4. A federal prohibition agent who was charged by the state with murdering one Smith by intentionally striking him on the head with a gun, showed by his petition for removal that, in performance of his official duties, he and another agent went to a place to observe whether federal law was being violated and that the deceased entered, and was about to take a drink of wine from a bottle; but the crucial occurrences that followed were disclosed only in such statements as that the petitioner "proceeded to take possession of said bottle" and to "arrest . . . Smith," and that thereupon Smith "did resist arrest" and attempt to destroy the bottle of wine, and "did proceed to assault your petitioner" and did "attempt to escape," and that one Green did attempt to assist deceased to escape, and that, "in the scuffle that ensued" and while petitioner was engaged in the discharge of his duties, etc., it became necessary "in order to subdue . . . Smith for your petitioner to strike" him "on the head with your petitioner's gun." Held too vague, uncertain and incomplete a disclosure. P. 286 U. S. 520.

5. The district judge, in his discretion, may permit a petition for removal under Jud.Code, § 33, to be amended. P. 286 U. S. 521.

Mandamus to determine the jurisdiction of a district court to try a criminal prosecution removed from a state court. The case here was heard upon the state's petition and the return of the District Judge to a rule to show cause. See 284 U. S. 523, 528, and 530.

Page 286 U. S. 514

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