Pickett v. United States
216 U.S. 456 (1910)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pickett v. United States, 216 U.S. 456 (1910)

Pickett v. United States

No. 270

Submitted January 3, 1910

Decided February 21, 1910

216 U.S. 456

Syllabus

On the organization of a territory into a state, Congress may -- as it did by the Oklahoma Enabling Act -- transfer the jurisdiction of general crimes committed in districts over which the United States retains exclusive jurisdiction from territorial to federal courts, and may extend such jurisdiction to crimes committed before and after the Enabling Act. See United States v. Brown, 74 F. 43.

Page 216 U. S. 457

A statute creating a court to take jurisdiction of crimes will not be construed, if another construction is admissible, so as to leave a judicial chasm, and so held that, under the Oklahoma Enabling Act, the federal court had jurisdiction of certain specified crimes committed after the Enabling Act was passed and before the state was admitted.

The reason of a law as indicated by its general terms should prevail over its letter when strict adherence to the latter will defeat the plain purpose of the law.

The granting or denying of a new trial is a matter not assignable as error. Bucklin v. United States,159 U. S. 682.

An assignment of error that is double is bad for that reason.

Continuances are within the discretion of the trial court, and, in the absence of gross abuse, the action of the lower court will not be disturbed.

Assignments of error based on overruling objections to sufficiency of the indictment and of admission of any evidence because the indictment is bad cannot be made on writ of error for the first time.

Assignments of error for rejection or admission of evidence cannot be considered in absence of bill of exceptions. Storm v. United States,94 U. S. 76.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

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