Collins v. O'Neil
214 U.S. 113 (1909)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Collins v. O'Neil, 214 U.S. 113 (1909)

Collins v. O'Neil

Nos. 241, 320

Argued April 5, 1909

Decided May 17, 1909

214 U.S. 113

Syllabus

Where a provision in a treaty or convention is plain, it must receive a reasonable and sensible construction, and not one which it is impossible to conceive that the representatives of civilized countries would enter into.

Page 214 U. S. 114

The rule that a person extradited under treaty provisions cannot be tried for an offense other than that for which he was extradited until after he has had opportunity to leave the country to which he was surrendered does not apply to an offense committed after he arrives in the latter country. United States v. Rouscher,119 U. S. 407. Whether a person extradited and who thereafter commits a crime in the country to which he is surrendered shall be first tried for the earlier or later crime is a matter wholly within the jurisdiction of the country to which he is surrendered, and is of no interest to the surrendering country.

A fugitive from justice has no inherent right of asylum; his rights in that respect depend wholly upon the treaty between the countries demanding and surrendering him.

Under the Treaty of 1842 and convention of 1889 with Great Britain, a surrendered person can be tried for an offense committed in this country after his arrival, and the trial for such offense does not have to await the conclusion of the trial of the offense for which he was surrendered, and so held that one who, on the trial of the offense for which he was surrendered and which resulted in a disagreement, committed perjury could be indicted and tried for that offense without being allowed an opportunity to leave this country and without waiting for the final conclusion of the trial for the crime for which he was surrendered.

151 Cal. 340, and 154 F. 980, affirmed.

In No. 241, the plaintiff in error, being imprisoned in the County Jail of San Francisco, in the State of California, by the sheriff, applied to the supreme court of that state in banc for a writ of habeas corpus to obtain his discharge from imprisonment. The writ was granted, and, after hearing, was dismissed, and the petitioner remanded to the custody of the sheriff. 151 Cal. 340. A writ of error was then sued out from this Court, and the case brought here.

In No. 320, the appellant applied to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of California for a similar writ, which was issued, and a hearing had and the writ dismissed by the court. 149 F. 573, and see 151 F. 358; 154 F. 980. From the order of dismissal, an appeal was allowed to this Court. The two cases have been heard here as one.

Page 214 U. S. 115

The material facts are these: on July 13, 1905, an indictment was found by the grand jury of San Francisco County, California, against the plaintiff in error charging him with the crime of perjury, alleged to have been committed in San Francisco on June 30 of that year. The plaintiff in error not being found within the state, was subsequently discovered was in Victoria, British Columbia, and proper demand, under the treaty between the United States and Great Britain, being made for his surrender upon that indictment for trial, he was, on October 7, 1905, duly surrendered, and removed from Victoria by one Gibson, the agent designated in the Canadian extradition warrant, to San Francisco, where he was placed in the custody of the then sheriff, who also had a bench warrant issued from the superior court on the perjury indictment against the plaintiff in error.

His trial upon the indictment upon which he had been extradited began in San Francisco in December, 1905, and resulted in the disagreement of the jury on the twenty-third of December of that year, and the case was then continued, to be thereafter reset for trial. Upon the trial of the indictment for which plaintiff in error was extradited, he was himself sworn, and testified as a witness, and, on the twenty-ninth of December, 1905, after he had given such evidence, he was indicted again by the grand jury of San Francisco County, the indictment charging him with perjury committed on December 12, 1905, while testifying on his own behalf on the trial, as already stated. He was arraigned on this indictment in January, 1906, and after he had made all objections to his being arraigned or placed on trial on this second indictment until the conclusion of the first, and until he had then been afforded opportunity to return to Victoria, he was, nevertheless, brought to the bar and the trial proceeded with, resulting in a verdict of guilty on February 27, 1906, upon which judgment was entered that he be imprisoned in the state prison for the term of fourteen years.

From that judgment he appealed to the district court of

Page 214 U. S. 116

appeal of California, where it was affirmed, and thereafter he applied to the state supreme court for a rehearing by that court, which was denied. People v. Collins, 6 Cal.App. 492.

Thereupon the plaintiff in error, being restrained of his liberty, as well under the judgment of conviction, as otherwise under the extradition warrant, applied to the state supreme court for a writ of habeas corpus, as above stated, contending that his conviction and sentence were void and in excess of the jurisdiction of the state court as being in contravention of his extradition rights under the treaty between the United States and Great Britain, and § 5275 of the United States Revised Statutes, set forth in the margin. *

The writ was issued and a return made, denying many of the allegations of the petition, and, after hearing, it was finally dismissed, and the plaintiff in error remanded to the custody of the sheriff. 154 F. 980.

Page 214 U. S. 120

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