Barrett v. United States
169 U.S. 218 (1898)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Barrett v. United States , 169 U.S. 218 (1898)

Barrett v. United States (No. 1)

Argued January 21, 1898

Decided February 21, 1898

169 U.S. 218

Syllabus

When a bill of exceptions does not contain the evidence, it is impossible for this Court to know the ground on which the trial court proceeded in overruling a motion on the evidence to compel the district attorney to elect, and an exception in that regard will not be considered.

In December, 1894, when the proceedings took place which are questioned in this case, there were not two Judicial Districts in the State of South Carolina, to the territorial limits of each of which the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court of the United States was confined.

The legislation on this subject from the commencement of the government reviewed.

Barrett was indicted, with others, as stated in the caption of the transcript of the record,

"at a Circuit Court of the United States for the Fourth Circuit in and for the District of South Carolina, begun and holden at Columbia, in the district aforesaid, on the fourth Monday in November, 1894, before the Honorable Wm. H. Brawley, United States Judge for the District of South Carolina, holding said circuit court according to the form of the act of Congress in such cases made and provided,"

for conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, under sections 5440 and 5480 of the Revised Statutes, and, having been duly tried, was found guilty, and sentenced to imprisonment and fine.

To review this judgment, this writ of error was prosecuted.

The indictment commenced as follows:

"United States of America"

"To-wit: In the Circuit Court"

"District of South Carolina"

"At a stated term of the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of South Carolina, begun and holden at Columbia, within and for the district aforesaid, on the fourth Monday of November, in the year of our Lord 1894, the jurors of the United States of America within and for the district aforesaid upon their

Page 169 U. S. 219

oaths respectively do present that Charles P. Barrett [and others, naming them], together with divers other evil-disposed persons to the jurors aforesaid unknown, late of the district aforesaid, on the 1st day of July, in the year of our Lord 1892 at Spartanburg, in the State of South Carolina aforesaid, in the district aforesaid, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, being persons of evil minds and dispositions, wickedly devising and intending to commit the offense against the United States hereinafter set forth, fraudulently, maliciously, and unlawfully did combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together between and among themselves to commit against the United States this offense,"

etc.

Certain exceptions were taken to the action of the court in refusing to sustain a challenge to the array of both grand and petit jurors on the ground that they were drawn from both the Eastern and Western Districts of South Carolina, when the alleged offense was charged in the indictment to have been committed in the County of Spartanburg, in the Western District of said state; to the order of the court overruling defendant's demurrer to the indictment on the ground that the offense was charged to have been committed in the County of Spartanburg, in the State of South Carolina, the same being in the Western District of said state, although the indictment was found in the City of Columbia, in the County of Richland, in the Eastern District thereof; to the refusal of the court to sustain defendant's plea to the jurisdiction on the ground that, although the alleged offense was charged to have been committed in the County of Spartanburg, the same being in the Western District of South Carolina, the trial was sought to be had in the City of Columbia, in the County of Richland, in the Eastern District of said state; to the denial by the court of defendant's motion that the district attorney be required to elect on which one of several conspiracies disclosed by the evidence to have been committed, if any, he would ask for a conviction, and to the refusal of the court to arrest judgment because the grand jurors who found the indictment and the petit jurors who found the verdict were drawn from the Western

Page 169 U. S. 220

and Eastern Districts of South Carolina, although the offense was alleged to have been committed in the County of Spartanburg, in the Western District; because the indictment was found in the County of Richland, in the Eastern District at a time not authorized by law for the sitting of the United States court for the Western District, and because the trial was had in the County of Richland, in the Eastern District, for an offense committed in the Western District.

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