Dallemagne v. Moisan
197 U.S. 169 (1905)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Dallemagne v. Moisan, 197 U.S. 169 (1905)

Dallemagne v. Moisan

No. 104

Submitted December 15, 1904

Decided March 13, 1905

197 U.S. 169

Syllabus

Power may be conferred upon a state officer, as such, to execute a duty imposed under an act of Congress, and the officer may execute the same, unless its its execution is prohibited by the constitution or legislation of the state.

There is no constitutional or statutory provision of California prohibiting the arrest of a seaman on the request of a French consul under the treaty with France of 1853, and such arrest, being for temporary detention of a sailor whose contract is an exceptional one, does not deprive him of his liberty without due process of law, and if the chief of police voluntarily performs the request of the consul, the arrest is not illegal on that ground.

The only method of enforcing treaty provisions for arrest of seamen on requisition of foreign consuls is pursuant to the Act of June 11, 1864, 13 Stat. 121, now §§ 4079, 4080, 4081 Rev.Stat., and thereunder the requisition must be made to the district court or judge and the arrest made by the marshal, and an arrest by a local chief of police is not authorized; but if, after a seaman so arrested has been produced before the district court on habeas corpus and the court finds that his case

Page 197 U. S. 170

comes under the treaty and he should be held, the mere fact that he was arrested by a person not authorized to do so does not entitle him to his discharge.

After a seaman has been properly arrested on the request of the French consul under the treaty of 1853 with France, he can he held in prison at the disposal of the consul for sixty days, as provided for in § 4081, Rev.Stat., and the court cannot discharge him within that period against the protest of the consul because the vessel to which he belonged has left the port at which he was arrested.

This is an appeal on the part of the consul general of the Republic of France from the judgment of the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of California, discharging the defendant Moisan from imprisonment.

The proceeding arises on habeas corpus, to inquire into the validity of the detention of defendant in the city prison of San Francisco, in the State of California. His application for the writ was addressed to the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of California, and it showed that he was a citizen of France, and was imprisoned by virtue of a requisition in writing, signed by the French consul general residing in San Francisco, and addressed to the chief of police of San Francisco, California, requiring his arrest as one of the crew of the French ship Jacques, then in that port, on account of his insubordinate conduct as one of such crew. (The requisition contained all the averments of fact which would warrant the arrest of the petitioner under the provisions of the treaty of 1853 between the United States and France.) The petitioner also averred that, at the time of the making of his application for the writ, the ship was not in the port of San Francisco, but had departed therefrom some time before. The petitioner was arrested by the chief of police, under such requisition, on the first day of May, 1903, and since that time had been confined in the city prison of San Francisco. He asserted that his imprisonment was illegal because the facts set forth did not confer jurisdiction upon the consul or the chief of police, or either of them, to restrain complainant from his liberty, or to imprison him.

Page 197 U. S. 171

The petition was dated the twenty-sixth day of May, 1903, and the writ was issued, returnable before the district court on the twenty-eighth day of May, 1903. The chief of police produced the body of the defendant pursuant to the command of the writ, and justified the imprisonment under the requisition referred to.

The district court, after hearing counsel, made an order discharging the defendant from arrest on the ground that it appeared to the court that the bark Jacques, of the crew of which the defendant was a member, had departed from the port of San Francisco, and was no longer in that port. It was further ordered that the execution of the order should be stayed for the term of one day. Immediately thereon. the consul general filed with the district court his petition for appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States from the judgment discharging the defendant from imprisonment, which appeal was duly allowed, and thereupon the petitioner was admitted to bail by the district court.

Page 197 U. S. 173

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