Callan v. Wilson

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United States Supreme Court

127 U.S. 540

Callan  v.  Wilson

This is an appeal from a judgment refusing, upon writ of habeas corpus, to discharge the appellant from the custody of the appellee, as marshal of the District of Columbia. It appears that by an information filed by the United States in the police court of the District, the petitioner, with others, was charged with the crime of conspiracy, and, having been found guilty by the court, was sentenced to pay a fine of $25, and, upon default in its payment, to suffer imprisonment in jail for the period of 30 days. He perfected an appeal to the supreme court of the District; but having subsequently withdrawn it, and having refused to pay the fine imposed upon him, he was committed to the custody of the marshal, to the end that the sentence might be carried into effect. The contention of the petitioner is that he is restrained of his liberty in violation of the constitution. The various grounds of this contention will be considered, so far as it is necessary to do so, after we shall have ascertained the precise nature of the offense of which the petitioner was found guilty. The information shows that one Franz Krause, Louis Naecker, August Naecker, Charles Arndt, Louis Naecker, Jr., Herman Feige, Gustav A. Bruder Fritz Boetcher, Herman Arndt, Julius Schultz, Louis Brand, Caspar Windus, Ernest Arndt, and Christian Feige were, during the months of July and August, 1887, residents of this District, each pursuing the calling of a musician. That during those months there was in the District an association or organization of musicians by the name of 'The Washington Musical Assembly, No. 4308, K. of L.,' containing 150 members, and a branch of a larger association known as 'The Knights of Labor of America,' extending throughout the United States, and having a membership of 500,000 persons, of which 10,000 were residents of this District. That during the period named Edward C. Linden, Louis P. Wild, John N. Pistorio, James C. Callan, (the appellant,) Joseph B. Caldwell, George N. Sloan, John Fallon, Anton Fischer, and Frank Pistorio were members of the said local assembly, each pursuing the calling of a musician; that on the 17th of July, 1887, said local association imposed upon Franz Krause, one of its members, two fines, one of $25 and the other of $50, which he refused to pay, upon the ground that they were illegal; and that said Linden, Wild, Pistorio, Callan, Caldwell, Sloan, Fallon, Fischer, with sundry other persons, whose names were unknown, did no the 7th day of August, 1887, unlawfully and maliciously combine, conspire, and confederate together to extort from Krause the sum of $75 on account of said fines; to prevent the parties first above named,-Krause, Naecker, and others,-and each of them, from pursuing their calling and trade anywhere in the United States; and to 'boycott,' injure, molest, oppress, intimidate, and reduce to beggary and want, not only said persons, and each of them, but any person who should work with or for them, or should employ them or either of them. The information charges that the manner in which the defendants, so conspiring, proposed to effect said result, was to refuse to work as musicians, or in any other capacity, with or for the persons first above named, or with or for any person, firm, or corporation working with or employing them; to request and procure all other members of said organizations, and all other workmen and tradesmen, not to work as musicians, or in any capacity, with or for them, or either of them, or for any person, firm, or corporation that employed or worked with them, or either of them; and to warn and threaten every person, firm, or corporation that employed, or proposed to employ, the said persons, or either of them, that if they did not forthwith cease to so employ them, and refuse to employ them, and each of them, such person, firm, or corporation, so warned and threatened, would be deprived of any custom or patronage, as well from the persons so combining and conspiring as from all other members of said organization in and out of the District. The information further charges that on the 8th day of August, 1887, the said persons, among whom was the appellant, in execution of the purpose of said conspiracy, combination, and confederacy, sent and delivered to each member of 'The Washington Musical Assembly, No. 4308, K. of L.,' and to divers other persons in the District, whose names are unknown, a certain printed circular of the tenor following:


'WASHINGTON, D. C., August 8, 1887.

'DEAR SIR AND BROTHER: In accordance with a resolution of this as sembly, and in compliance with the constitution and by-laws of the order, you are hereby notified that the followingnamed members of this assembly are hereby suspended for having performed with F. Krause, in direct violation of the official notice of said Krause's suspension from this assembly. You will therefore not engage or perform, directly or indirectly, with any of them,-Louis Naecker, August Naecker, Charles Arndt, Louis Naecker, Jr., Herman Feige, Gus. A. Bruder, Fritz Boetcher, Herman Arndt, Julius Schultz, Louis Brandt, Caspar Windus, Ernest Arndt, Christian Feige.

'By order of the assembly.

'[Seal.] E. C. LINDEN, Jr., Recording Sec'y.'

To this information the defendants interposd a demurrer, which was overruled. They united in requesting a trial by jury. That request was denied, and a trial was had before the court, without the intervention of a jury, and with the result already stated.

J. H. Ralston, for appellant.

Asst. Atty. Gen. Maury, for appellee.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 543-547 intentionally omitted]

Mr. Justice HARLAN, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).