In re Quarles and Butler - 158 U.S. 532 (1895)


U.S. Supreme Court

In re Quarles and Butler, 158 U.S. 532 (1895)

In re Quarles and Butler

Nos. 14 and 15, Original

Submitted April 22, 1895

Decided May 20, 1895

158 U.S. 532

Syllabus

It is the right of every private citizen of the United States to inform a marshal of the United States, or his deputy, of a violation of the internal revenue laws of the United States; this right is secured to the citizen by the Constitution of the United States, and a conspiracy to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate him in the free exercise or enjoyment of this right, or because of his having exercised it, is punishable under section 5508 of the Revised Statutes.

These were two motions for leave to file petitions for writs of habeas corpus to Samuel C. Dunlop, Marshal of the United States for the Northern District of Georgia. The first motion was in behalf of John M. Quarles and David Butler, and the case was as follows:

At March term, 1895, of the circuit court of the United States for that district, an indictment was returned against the petitioners and several other persons, the fourth count of which alleged that within that district, on April 7, 1894, the defendants conspired

"to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate one Henry Worley, a citizen of the United States, in the free exercise and enjoyment of a right and privilege secured to him by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and because of his having exercised the same, in that he, the said Henry Worley,"

on March 19, 1894, "had reported and informed William J. Duncan, a United States Deputy Marshal in and for said Northern District of Georgia, that George Terry did," on that day and within that district, "violate the internal revenue laws of the United States by carrying on the business of a distiller without having given bond as required by law," and that the conspiracy hereinbefore charged was formed by the defendants

"for the purpose of

Page 158 U. S. 533

injuring, oppressing, threatening, and intimidating the said Henry Worley because of his having exercised said right and privilege secured to him as aforesaid, in reporting and informing said William J. Duncan, deputy marshal, as aforesaid, of the violation of the internal revenue laws as aforesaid by the said George Terry, and in furtherance of said conspiracy so formed as aforesaid, and for the purpose aforesaid, and to effect the object thereof,"

the defendants, on April 7, 1894, within the district, in the nighttime and in disguise, went to Worley's house, and took him from his house, and beat, bruised, and otherwise ill-treated him, and shot at him with guns and pistols, with intent to kill and murder him, because he had reported to said Duncan, deputy marshal as aforesaid, said Terry for having violated the revenue laws of the United States as aforesaid, "contrary to the form of the statute in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the United States of America."

The first, second, and third counts of the indictment were like the fourth, except as to the persons against whom the information was given.

The defendants demurred to each of the four counts,

"because the right and privilege alleged as the right and privilege of a citizen of the United States is not one secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, . . . because there is no such right and privilege secured to the citizens of the United States as such citizens as that set out in the said count,"

and "because there is no offense charged in the said count of which the courts of the United States can have or take cognizance." The demurrer was overruled.

The defendants then pleaded not guilty, and were tried and convicted by a jury, and moved in arrest of judgment, for the following reasons:

"1. Because in said indictment there is no allegation that William J. Duncan was an officer of the United States, and charged with the enforcement of the internal revenue laws; nor is there any allegation that the said William J. Duncan was authorized to take information upon such subject, or to employ persons for the service of the United States. "

Page 158 U. S. 534

"2. Because there is no allegation that Henry Worley was in the service or employment of the United States."

"3. Because there is no such official as a United States deputy marshal, as charged in the indictment."

"4. Because there is no such right and privilege secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States within the meaning of sections 5508 and 5509 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, as that set out in the indictment."

"5. Because there is no crime or offense charged in the said bill of indictment of which the courts of the United States have jurisdiction."

The motion in arrest of judgment was overruled, and the defendants were sentenced to imprisonment in a penitentiary for the term of five years.

The second case was upon a motion in behalf of James McEntire and John H. Goble, and was similar to the first except that no further proceedings had been taken upon the indictment after the overruling of the demurrer.

Upon the filing of these motions, the solicitor general suggested to the court, as reasons for exercising jurisdiction in this form, that the prisoners were in jail, and were too poor to pay the expenses of writs of error, and that it was important to settle as soon as possible the question whether they should be prosecuted in the courts of the United States or in those of the state. And he joined with their counsel in requesting the court to allow the petitions to be filed and to pass upon the merits of the questions involved.



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