THE JUSTICES V. MURRAY, 76 U. S. 274 (1869)

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U.S. Supreme Court

The Justices v. Murray, 76 U.S. 9 Wall. 274 274 (1869)

The Justices v. Murray

76 U.S. (9 Wall.) 274


1. The provision in the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution of the United States which declares that no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States than according to the rules of the common law applies to the facts tried by a jury in a cause in a state court.

2. So much of the 5th section of the Act of Congress of March 3, 1863, entitled "An act relating to habeas corpus and regulating proceedings in certain cases," as provides for the removal of a judgment in a state court, and in which the cause was tried by a jury, to the circuit court of the United States for a retrial on the facts and law is not in pursuance of the Constitution, and is void.

Patrie brought a suit for an assault and battery and false

Page 76 U. S. 275

imprisonment against Murray and Buckley in the Supreme Court of the Third District of New York, to which the defendants pleaded the general issue and pleaded further as a special defense that the said Murray was Marshal of the Southern District of New York, and the said Buckley his deputy, and that as such marshal, he, Murray, was, by order of the President, on or about the 28th August, 1862, directed to take the plaintiff into custody; that the said Buckley, as such deputy, was directed by him, the marshal, to execute the said order; and that, acting as such deputy and in pursuance of his directions, he, Buckley, did, in a lawful manner, and without force or violence, take the said Patrie into custody; that during all the time he was in custody, he was kept and detained in pursuance of said order of the President, and not otherwise.

In December following, a writ of error was issued to the Supreme Court of the Third District to remove the cause to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York. The writ was issued under the 5th section of an Act of Congress passed March 3, 1863, entitled "An act relating to Habeas Corpus, and regulating proceedings in certain cases." The 5th section of this act provides as follows:

"If any suit or prosecution, civil or criminal, has been or shall be commenced in any state court, against any officer, civil or military, . . . or for any arrest or imprisonment made . . . at any time during the present rebellion, by virtue or under color of any authority by or under the President of the United States, . . . it shall . . . be competent for either party, within six months after the rendition of a judgment in any such cause,

Page 76 U. S. 276

by writ of error or other process, to remove the same to the circuit court of the United States for that district in which such judgment shall have been rendered, and the said circuit court shall thereupon proceed to try and determine the facts and law in such action in the same manner as if the same had been there originally commenced, the judgment in such case notwithstanding."

The state court refused to make a return to the writ of error. Thereupon an alternative mandamus was issued by the circuit court of the United States, to which a return was made setting forth the suit, trial, and judgment already referred to. To this there was a demurrer and joinder, and, after due consideration, the demurrer was sustained and a judgment for a peremptory mandamus rendered. From this judgment a writ of error was taken to this Court. [Footnote 1]

Page 76 U. S. 277

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