United States v. Sanges
Indictment of George Sanges, Dennis Alexander, Isaac Smith, and Charles Porter for murder. The United States sued out error upon a judgment for defendants sustaining their demurrer to the indictment. Dismissed.
STATEMENT BY MR. JUSTICE GRAY.
This was an indictment on sections 5508 and 5509 of the Revised Statutes, averring that while one Joseph Wright, a citizen of the United States, was returning to his home, after having appeared and testified before the grand jury of the United States, in obedience to subpoenas from the circuit court of the United States, against persons charged with violations of the internal revenue laws, and while he was still a witness under such subpoenas, the defendants conspired to injure and oppress him in the free exercise and enjoyment of the right and privilege, secured to him by the constitution and laws of the United States, to inform the proper officers of the United States of violations of the internal revenue laws, and to testify under and in obedience to such subpoenas, and to return to his home in peace and safety after so testifying, and to be secure, safe, and unmolested in his person, and exempt from violence for having exercised and enjoyed those rights and privileges; and further averring that the defendants, in pursuance and prosecution of such conspiracy, assaulted and murdered him.
The defendants demurred to the indictment, 'because there are no such rights or privileges secured to the party conspired against, by the constitution and laws of the United States, as those set out in the indictment;' and 'because, on the facts alleged in said indictment, there is no crime or offense set out of which the courts of the United States can take cognizance.'
On October 5, 1891, the circuit court, held by Mr. Justice LAMAR and Judge NEWMAN, adjudged that the demurrer was well founded in law, and that it be sustained, and the indictment quashed. 48 Fed. Rep. 78.
This writ of error was thereupon sued out by the United States, and was allowed by the presiding justice. The defendants in error moved to dismiss the writ of error for want of jurisdiction.
Atty. Gen. Miller and Sol. Gen. Taft, for the United States.
Wm. C. Glenn, A. H. Garland, and H. J. May, for defendants in error.
Mr. Justice GRAY, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.