Folsom v. United States
160 U.S. 121 (1895)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Folsom v. United States, 160 U.S. 121 (1895)

Folsom v. United States

No. 550

Argued and submitted November 19, 1895

Decided December 2, 1895

160 U.S. 121

Syllabus

Circuit courts of appeals have no jurisdiction over the judgments of territorial courts in capital cases and in cases of infamous crimes.

This construction of the statute is imperative from its language, and is not affected by the fact that convictions for minor offenses are reviewable on a second appeal, while convictions for capital and infamous crimes are not so reviewable.

This was a certificate from the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which, omitting the formal parts, reads as follows:

"First. At a regular term of the District Court of the Second Judicial District of the Territory of New Mexico, sitting for the trial of causes arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States, held at Albuquerque, in said district, the plaintiff in error, Stephen M. Folsom, was, on the 15th day of March, 1894, indicted by the grand jury in said court for making certain false entries in violation of the provisions of section 5209 of the Revised Statutes of the United States."

"Second. He was thereafter arraigned. He pleaded not guilty. He was tried by the said district court and a jury, was found guilty of making certain of the false entries charged in said indictments in violation of the provisions of section 5209, and was thereafter, on the 14th day of April, 1894, ordered and adjudged by the said court to be confined at hard labor in the territorial penitentiary at Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the term and period of five years upon each of the seven separate and distinct offenses, as laid and charged in the fourteen counts of the indictments upon which the jury had theretofore returned a verdict of guilty, and it was further ordered and adjudged by the said court that said term

Page 160 U. S. 122

upon each of the said offenses should run concurrently each with the others, and that the defendant pay the costs to be taxed, and that execution issue therefor."

"Third. The said Stephen M. Folsom then appealed from said judgment to the Supreme Court of the Territory of New Mexico, and his case upon said appeal was heard and tried by the said supreme court August 27, 28, and 29, 1894; was on the latter day submitted to and taken under advisement by said court, which, on September 4, 1894, adjudged that the judgment of the District Court of the Second Judicial District aforesaid be affirmed, and that said Folsom be confined in the New Mexico penitentiary at Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the full term of five years pursuant to the said judgment of the district court."

"Fourth. On the 9th day of November, 1894, a writ of error was duly issued out of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Judicial Circuit to the Supreme Court of the Territory of New Mexico, commanding the said court to send the records and proceedings and the judgment in said case between the United States of America, plaintiff and appellee, and Stephen M. Folsom, defendant and appellant, in said supreme court, with all things concerning the same, to this Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, together with said writ, so that the same should be filed in the office of the clerk of this Court on or before the first day of January, 1895, to the end that, the records and proceedings aforesaid being inspected, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit might cause further to be done therein to correct the error of which the said Folsom had complained that of right and according to the law and custom of the United States should be done, and pursuant to that writ, the clerk of the Supreme Court of the Territory of New Mexico made due return and transmitted to this court a true copy of the record, bill of exceptions, assignment of errors, and of all proceedings in said case before January 1, 1894, and the said case is now pending in this court."

"Fifth. January 7, 1895, the United States of America filed a motion to dismiss the writ of error on the ground

Page 160 U. S. 123

that this circuit court of appeals has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the issue raised thereby or to review the said judgment of the Supreme Court of the Territory of New Mexico, and the said motion has been argued and submitted to this court for decision."

"Sixth. The errors in the judgment and proceedings of the Supreme Court of the Territory of New Mexico which are assigned by Stephen M. Folsom, the plaintiff in error in his complaint, upon which the said writ of error was issued from this court, are such that if, upon due consideration upon the merits, they should be sustained, the judgment of the said supreme court ought to be reversed."

"And the said United States circuit court of appeals further certifies that, to the end that it may properly decide this and other questions arising in this case which are duly presented by exceptions and assignments of error properly taken and filed, the said court desires the instruction of the Supreme Court of the United States upon the following question:"

"Has the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Judicial Circuit any jurisdiction to hear and determine the issue presented by said writ of error and to review the judgment and proceedings of the Supreme Court of the Territory of New Mexico?"

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