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Opinion of the Court.

Williams's case, cited in United States v. Smith, (1809) 4 Day, 121, 125. And there can be no doubt that, in this respect, section 1045 of the Revised Statutes must receive the same construction that has been given to section 5278 by this court, saying: "To be a fugitive from justice, in the sense of the act of Congress regulating the subject under consideration, it is not necessary that the party charged should have left the State in which the crime is alleged to have been committed, after an indictment found, or for the purpose of avoiding a prosecution anticipated or begun, but simply that having within a State committed that which by its laws constitutes a crime, when he is sought to be subjected to its criminal process to answer for his offence, he has left its jurisdiction and is found within the territory of another." Roberts v. Reilly, 116 U. S. 80, 97.

Nor is it necessary, in order to satisfy the terms of the statute now before us, that the fugitive should have the intention of fleeing from justice às administered by any particular court, or system of courts, having criminal jurisdiction over the territory where the act supposed to have been criminal was committed.

The statute speaks generally of "fleeing from justice," without restriction either to the justice of the State, or to the justice of the United States. A person fleeing from the justice of his country is not supposed to have in mind the object of avoiding the process of a particular court, or the question whether he is amenable to the justice of the nation or of the State, or of both. Proof of a specific intent to avoid either could seldom be had; and to make it an essential requisite would often defeat the whole object of the provision in question.

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In the Constitution, laws and treaties of the United States, the words "fleeing from justice," or "fugitive from justice, have not been used as of themselves implying a flight from the justice of the nation only.

Section 1045 of the Revised Statutes is a reënactment of the corresponding proviso in the first Crimes Act of the United States: "Provided, that nothing herein contained

Opinion of the Court.

shall extend to any person or persons fleeing from justice." Act of April 30, 1790, c. 9, § 32; 1 Stat. 119.

At the time of the passage of that act, the only use, in the Constitution or statutes of the United States, of the words "flee from justice," was in article 4, section 2, of the Constitution, concerning persons charged with crime in one State and found in another State of the Union. And the earliest act passed by Congress in execution of that provision of the Constitution used, both in the title and in the enacting clause, the general words "fugitive from justice," as applicable to that class of cases. The whole title of that act, so far as it related to this subject, was "An act respecting fugitives from justice." Act of February 12, 1793, c. 7; 1 Stat. 302. And that part of the act is reënacted in section 5278 of the Revised Statutes. The treaties made by the United States with foreign countries, for the extradition of persons accused of crime, make no distinction between crimes against one of the States of the Union and crimes against the United States. By successive treaties between the United States and Great Britain, for instance, each nation engages to "deliver up to justice all persons" who, being charged with certain crimes committed within the jurisdiction of either nation, seek an asylum in the country of the other. Treaties of 1794, art. 27; 1842, art. 10; 8 Stat. 129, 576. There can be no doubt that these treaties apply to all offences of the kinds specified, committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, even if cognizable only in the courts of the several States. United States v. Rauscher, 119 U. S. 407, 430.

From these considerations, our conclusion is that, in order to constitute "fleeing from justice," within the meaning of section 1045 of the Revised Statutes, it is not necessary that there should be an intent to avoid the justice of the United States; but it is sufficient that there is an intent to avoid the justice of the State having criminal jurisdiction over the same territory and the same act.

The only case cited at the bar which restricts the effect of this section to persons fleeing from the justice of the United States, is United States v. O'Brian, 3 Dillon, 381, which ap

Opinion of the Court.

pears to us to have proceeded upon too narrow a construction of the section, inconsistent alike with its words and with its purpose.

Judgment affirmed.



No. 878. Argued October 22, 28, 1895. -Decided December 2, 1895.

The act of March 3, 1877, c. 107, 19 Stat. 377, providing for the sale of desert lands in certain States and Territories, does not embrace alternate sections, reserved to the United States, along the lines of railroads for the construction of which Congress has made grants of lands. Cases initiated under that act, but not completed, by final proof, until after the passage of the act of March 3, 1891, c. 561, 26 Stat. 1095, were left by the latter act, as to the price to be paid for the lands entered, to be governed by the law in force at the time the entry was made. When the practice in a department in interpreting a statute is uniform, and the meaning of the statute, upon examination, is found to be doubtful or obscure, this court will accept the interpretation by the department as the true one; but where the departmental practice has not been uniform, the court must determine for itself what is the true interpretation.

THE case is stated in the opinion.

Mr. Assistant Attorney General Dodge for appellant. Mr. George H. Gorman was on his brief.

Mr. Harvey Spaulding for appellee.

MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the court.

On the 5th day of February, 1889, the appellant, Benjamin Healey, filed in the local land office at Visalia, California, a declaration of his intention to reclaim a tract of land containing 639.20 acres, and belonging to the United States.

The declaration stated all the facts required in the cases embraced by the act of Congress of March 3, 1877, c. 107, providing for the sale of "desert lands" in certain States and Territories. 19 Stat. 377; Supp. Rev. Stat. 2d ed. 137. That act fixed $1.25 per acre as the price of such lands.

Opinion of the Court.

The lands described in the declaration constituted one of the alternate reserved sections of public lands reserved to the United States, along the line of the railroad extending from the States of Missouri and Arkansas to the Pacific coast, for the construction of which provision was made by the act of Congress of July 27, 1866, c. 278, 14 Stat. 292, 294.

At the time of filing his declaration the plaintiff "being so required, without protest and without taking any steps for relief against the demand of the receiver"— paid the sum of $319.60, or 50 cents per acre, for the lands described. He made, September 21, 1891, satisfactory proof of the reclamation of the tract in question and, without protest, paid for the land reclaimed, in addition to the amount paid at the time of filing his declaration, the sum of $1278.40, or $2 per acre; in all, $2.50 per acre. A patent was thereupon issued to him. This action was brought against the United States to recover the sum of $799, which amount, it is claimed, was in excess of what the receiver was entitled to demand from the appellee - his contention being that the statute only required the payment of 25 cents per acre at the time of filing his declaration, and $1 per acre more when making his final proof; in all, $1.25 per acre.

The Court of Claims sustained this demand, and gave judgment in favor of the appellee for $799.

An examination of the statutes regulating the sale of the public lands is necessary in order to determine the question now presented. That question is, whether the act of 1877, providing for the sale of "desert lands," embraces alternate sections reserved to the United States, along the line of railroads for the construction of which Congress made a grant of lands.

By the act of April 24, 1820, making further provision for the sale of the public lands, 3 Stat. 566, c. 51, it was provided that from and after the first day of July thereafter no lands should be sold, either at public or private sale, for less than one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre.

The next act referred to in the opinion of the Court of Claims is that of September 4, 1841, c. 16, appropriating the

Opinion of the Court.

proceeds of the sales of the public lands and granting preemption rights. 5 Stat. 453, 455. That act allowed every person of the class described in it to enter not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres or one quarter-section of public land, upon paying the minimum price therefor, subject, however, to certain limitations and exceptions, one of which was that "no sections of land reserved to the United States alternate to other sections granted to any of the States for the con struction of any canal, railroad, or other public improvement" should be liable to entry under that act. § 10.

By the act of March 3, 1853, c. 143, the preëmption laws of the United States, as they then existed, were extended over the alternate reserved sections of public lands along the lines of all railroads for the construction of which public lands had been or might thereafter be granted by acts of Congress. But that act contained a proviso declaring that "the price to be paid shall in all cases be $2.50 per acre, or such other minimum price as is now fixed by law or may be fixed upon lands hereafter granted." 10 Stat. 244.

Other enactments show that Congress steadily held to the policy of requiring double the minimum price for alternate sections of public lands reserved to the United States in grants to aid in the construction of railroads. In the first grant of this character that of September 20, 1850, to the States of Illinois, Mississippi, and Alabama of alternate even-numbered sections in aid of the construction of a railroad from Chicago to Mobile-it was provided "that the sections and parts of sections of land which, by such grant, shall remain to the United States, within six miles on each side of said road and branches, shall not be sold for less than double the minimum price of the public lands when sold." 9 Stat. 466, c. 61, § 3. A similar provision will be found in nearly all, if not in all, subsequent acts making grants of public lands for the construction of railroads.1

11852, 10 Stat. 8, c. 45, § 2; c. 28, § 2; id. p. 15, c. 31, § 16; p. 20, c. 43, § 2; id. p. 21, c. 44, § 2; id. c. 99, § 2; 1863, 12 Stat. 772, c. 98, § 2;

1853, id. p. 155, c. 59, § 3; 1856, 11 Stat. 9, id. p. 17, c. 41, § 2; id. p. 18, c. 42, § 2; id. p. 30, c. 83, § 2; 1857, id. p. 195, 1864, 13 Stat: 66, c. 80, § 4; id. p.

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