Pierce v. Creecy
210 U.S. 387 (1908)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pierce v. Creecy, 210 U.S. 387 (1908)

Pierce v. Creecy

No. 357

Argued April 20, 21, 1908

Decided June 1, 1908

210 U.S. 387

Syllabus

Whether or not the indictment on which the demand for petitioner's surrender for interstate extradition is based charges him with crime within the requirements of Article IV, § 2, par. 2, of the federal Constitution involves the construction of that instrument, and a direct appeal lies to this Court from the Circuit Court under § 5 of the Judiciary Act of 1891.

While no person may be lawfully extradited from one state to another under Article IV, § 2, par. 2 of the federal Constitution unless he has been charged with crime in the latter state, there is no constitutional requirement that there should be anything more than a charge of crime, and an indictment which clearly describes the crime charged is sufficient even though it may possibly be bad as a pleading.

The federal courts cannot, on habeas corpus, inquire into the truth of an allegation presenting mixed questions of law and fact in the indictment on which the demand for petitioner's interstate extradition is based, and quaere whether it may inquire whether such indictment was or was not found in good faith.

A federal court should not, unless plainly required so to do by the Constitution, assume a duty the exercise of which might lead to a miscarriage of justice prejudicial to the interests of a state.

This is an appeal directly to this Court from a judgment of the circuit court upon a writ of habeas corpus, remanding the petitioner, now appellant, to the custody of the respondent, now appellee. The petition for the writ of habeas corpus alleges that the petitioner was

"imprisoned, detained, confined, and restrained of his liberty at the City of St. Louis, within the district aforesaid, by Edmund P. Creecy, the Chief of Police of said City of St. Louis, in violation of the laws and Constitution of the United States."

There is no dispute about the facts, which, as they appear in the petition and the return, are as follows.

Page 210 U. S. 388

The Governor of the State of Texas made a requisition upon the Governor of the State of Missouri, which is as follows:

"To the Governor of the State of Missouri:"

Whereas, it appears by the annexed documents, which are hereby certified to be authentic, that H. Clay Pierce stands charged with false swearing, committed in the State of Texas, and information having been received that the said H. Clay Pierce has fled from justice and has taken refuge in Missouri.

"Now therefore I, T. M. Campbell, Governor of the State of Texas, have thought proper, in pursuance of the provisions of the Constitution and laws of the United States, to demand the surrender of the said H. Clay Pierce as fugitive from justice, and that he be delivered to G. S. Mathews, who is hereby appointed the agent, on the part of the State of Texas, to receive H. Clay Pierce."

"Given under my hand and seal of the state, affixed at the City of Austin, this 11th day of February, A.D.1907, and of the independence of the United States of America, the one hundred and thirty-first, and of Texas the seventy-first year."

"T. M. Campbell, Governor"

To this requisition was attached a certified copy of an indictment against the petitioner. The indictment is as follows:

"In the name and by the authority of the State of Texas."

"The grand jurors of Travis County, in said state, duly empaneled, sworn, and charged as such at the September term, A.D.1906, of the district court of said county, in and for the Fifty-Third Judicial District, upon their oaths, in said court, present: That Henry Clay Pierce, in said county and state, on or about the 31st day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred, and before the presentment of this indictment, did then and there present himself and make his personal appearance before N.H. Nagle, a duly and legally qualified and acting notary public within and for the County of Travis and State of Texas, who was then and there duly authorized by law as such officer and notary public to administer an oath, and the said

Page 210 U. S. 389

Henry Clay Pierce, having been duly sworn by the said N.H. Nagle, acting in her capacity as such officer and notary public, did then and there unlawfully, deliberately, corruptly, and willfully, under the sanction of the oath so legally administered to him by the said N.H. Nagle, acting in the capacity aforesaid, make his voluntary false statement and declaration in writing, as follows:"

"Affidavit"

"The State of Texas, County of Travis:"

"I, Henry Clay Pierce, do solemnly swear that I am the President (President, Secretary, Treasurer, or Director) of the corporation known and styled Waters-Pierce Oil Company, duly incorporated under the laws of Missouri, on the 29th day of May, 1900, and now transacting or conducting business in the State of Texas, and that I am duly authorized to represent said corporation in making this affidavit, and I do further solemnly swear that the said Waters-Pierce Oil Company, known and styled as aforesaid, has not, since the 31st day of January, 1900, created, entered into, or become a member of, or a party to, and was not, on the 31st day of January, 1900, nor at any day since that date, and is not now, a member of or a party to any pool, trust, agreement, combination, confederation, or understanding with any other corporation, partnership, individual, or any other person or association of persons, to regulate or fix the price of any article of manufacture, mechanism, merchandise, commodity, convenience, repair, any product of mining, or any article or thing whatsoever,

Page 210 U. S. 390

or the price or premium to be paid for insuring property against loss or damage by fire, lightning, storm, cyclone, tornado, or any other kind of policy issued by the parties aforesaid, and that it has not entered into or become a member of or a party to any pool, trust, agreement, contract, combination, or confederation to fix or limit the amount of supply or quantity of any article of manufacture, mechanism, merchandise, commodity, convenience, repair, or any product of mining, or any article or thing whatsoever, or the price or premium to be paid for insuring property against loss or damage by fire, lightning, storm, cyclone, tornado, or any other kind of policy issued by the parties aforesaid, and that it has not issued, and does not own, any trust certificates for any corporation, agent, officer, or employee, or for the directors or stockholders of any corporation, has not entered into, and is not now in any combination, contract, or agreement with any person or persons, corporation or corporations, or with any stockholders or directors thereof, the purpose and effect of which said combination, contract, or agreement would be to place the management or control of such combination or combinations, or the manufactured product thereof, in the hands of any trustee, or trustees, with the intent to limit or fix the price, or lessen the production and sale, of any article of commerce, use, or consumption, or to prevent, restrict, or diminish the manufacture or output of any such article; that it has not entered into any conspiracy defined in the preceding sections of this act, to form or secure a trust or monopoly in restraint of trade; that it has not been, since January 31, A.D.1900, and is not now, a monopoly by reason of any conduct on its part which would constitute it a monopoly under the provisions of sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, and 11 of this act, and is not the owner or lessee of a patent to any machinery intended, used, or designed for manufacturing any raw material or preparing the same for market by any wrapping, baling, or other process, and, while leasing, renting, or operating the same, refuses or fails to put the same on the market for sale; that it has not issued and does not own any trust certificates, and has not, for any corporation or any agent, officer, or employee thereof, or for the directors or stockholders thereof, entered into, and is not now, in any combination, contract, or agreement with any person or persons, corporation or corporations, or with the stockholders, director, or any officer, agent, or employee of any corporation or corporations, the purpose and effect of which combination, contract, or agreement would be a conspiracy to defraud, as defined in section 1 of this act, or to

Page 210 U. S. 391

create a monopoly, as defined in sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, and 11 of this act."

"Henry Clay Pierce"

"(President, Secretary, Treasurer, or Director)"

"Subscribed and sworn to before me, a notary public within and for the County of Travis, this 31st day of May, 1900."

"(Signed) N.H. Nagle"

"Notary Public"

"Whereas, in truth and in fact, the said Waters-Pierce Oil Company, mentioned in the above false statement and declaration in writing, had, since the 31st day of January, 1900, created, entered into, and become a member of, and a party to, and was, on the 31st day of January, 1900, and on every day since the 31st day of January, 1900, up to and on the 31st day of May, 1900, then and there a member of, and a party to, a pool, trust, agreement, combination, confederation, and undertaking with other corporations, individuals, and other persons and association of persons, to-wit, with the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, a corporation incorporated under the laws of the State of New Jersey, and with all the Standard Oil Companies of the United States, the names and descriptions of said companies being to said grand jurors unknown after diligent inquiry, and with John D. Rockefeller, John D. Archbold, H. H. Rogers, and other individuals and persons whose names and a description of whom are to said grand jurors unknown after diligent inquiry, to regulate and fix the price of petroleum and all of the products of petroleum, being articles of manufacture and a commodity and a convenience and a product of mining and an article and a thing; and, whereas, in truth and in fact the said Waters-Pierce Oil Company, hereinbefore mentioned, had, since the 31st day of January, 1900, created, entered into, and become a member of, and a party to, and was, on the 31st day of January, 1900, and was on every day since the said 31st day of January, 1900, up to and on the 31st day of May, 1900, then and there a member of and a party to a pool, trust, agreement,

Page 210 U. S. 392

combination, confederation, and undertaking with other corporations, individuals, and other persons and association of persons, to-wit, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, a corporation incorporated under the laws of the State of New Jersey, and with all the Standard Oil Companies of the United States, the names and descriptions of said companies being to said grand jurors unknown after diligent inquiry, and with John D. Rockefeller, John D. Archbold, H. H. Rogers, and other individuals and persons whose names and a description of whom are to said grand jury unknown after diligent inquiry, to fix and limit the amount of supply and quantity of petroleum and all of the products of petroleum, the said petroleum and all the products of petroleum being articles of manufacture and a commodity and a convenience and a product of mining and an article and a thing, and whereas, in truth and in fact, the said Waters-Pierce Oil Company, hereinbefore mentioned, had, since the 31st day of January, 1900, and on every day since said 31st day of January, 1900, up to the 31st day of May, 1900, issued, and did then and on the 31st day of May, 1900, issue, trust certificates to another corporation, to-wit, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, hereinbefore described, its agents, officer, and employee, to-wit, one J. P. Gruet, and one John D. Johnson, and other agents, officers and employees of said Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, whose names and descriptions are to said grand jurors unknown, after diligent inquiry, whereby the said Standard Oil Company of New Jersey then and there became the owner of the majority of all the shares of stock of the said Waters-Pierce Oil Company, and the owner of a controlling interest in said Waters-Pierce Oil Company, which said false statement, so made as aforesaid by the said Henry Clay Pierce, was not then and there required by law, nor made in the course of judicial proceedings. Yet the same was then and there, nevertheless, willfully and deliberately made, and was willfully and deliberately false, as he, the said Henry Clay Pierce, then and there well knew."

"Against the peace and dignity of the state. "

Page 210 U. S. 393

To this petition the Governor of Missouri responded by issuing a warrant for the arrest of the petitioner and his delivery to the agent of the State of Texas.

While the respondent held the petitioner in custody upon this warrant, the writ of habeas corpus was issued. The petitioner, after alleging that he was held in custody by the respondent solely by virtue of the warrant issued by the Governor of Missouri, further alleged in his petition:

"That said restraint, imprisonment, detention, and confinement are illegal, and that the illegality thereof consists in this, to-wit:"

"First. It is not shown by any sufficient averments in the said indictment that the facts stated or opinions expressed by petitioner in the affidavit set forth in said indictment were false when the said affidavit was made, and hence the indictment charges no offense under the laws of the State of Texas. That, so far as the averments of the said indictment are concerned, the conclusion, judgment, and opinion of petitioner expressed in the affidavit are only alleged to be false in the conclusion, judgment, and opinion of the grand jury preferring said indictment."

"Second. That the affidavit made by your petitioner was in the form prescribed by an act of the legislature of the State of Texas entitled 'An Act to Prohibit Pools, Trusts, Monopolies, and Conspiracies to Control Business and Prices of Articles; to Prevent the Formation or Operation of Pools, Trusts, Monopolies, and Combinations of Charters of Corporations that Violate the Terms of This Act, and to Authorize the Institution and Prosecution of Suits Therefor,' which was approved May 25th, 1899, and became effective January 31st, 1900 (Tex.Gen.Laws 1899, p. 246), and that the language of said affidavit must be construed and interpreted in connection with the related text of the act of which it forms a part; that the pools, trusts, combinations, conspiracies, and monopolies prohibited by said act were such only as were formed by such natural or artificial legal entities as were then engaged in business in the State of Texas,

Page 210 U. S. 394

and the indictment does not show or charge that the Waters-Pierce Oil Company, organized on May 29, 1900, as stated by petitioner in said affidavit, contrary to the fact stated by your petitioner in said affidavit, was a member of, or party to, any pool, trust, agreement, combination, confederation, or understanding with any other corporation, partnership, individual, or any person or association of persons, then or theretofore transacting or doing business in the State of Texas, for the purpose of fixing the price or limiting the output or quantity of any article or thing whatsoever to be sold or marketed in said State of Texas."

"Third. That no charge of perjury or false swearing could legally be predicated upon any matter or thing stated in said affidavit, for the reason that the statements therein contained are mere expressions of legal conclusions or opinions upon a state of facts existent in the belief of the affiant."

"Fourth. The affidavit, being required by law, if false, could not be false swearing under the laws of the State of Texas."

"Fifth. For that it appears upon the face of the said indictment that more than four years elapsed between the date of the commission of the alleged offense and the finding of the said indictment."

No other grounds of the illegality of the petitioner's imprisonment than there were alleged in the petition.

Page 210 U. S. 400

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