Donnelly v. United States
228 U.S. 243 (1913)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Donnelly v. United States, 228 U.S. 243 (1913)

Donnelly v. United States*

No. 97

Argued December 18, 1912

Decided April 7, 1913

228 U.S. 243

Syllabus

From an early period, Congress has accorded to the Executive a large discretion about setting apart and reserving portions of the public domain in aid of particular public purposes.

Section 2 of the Act of April 8, 1864, conferring power on the Executive to set apart reservations for Indians, was a continuing power, and was not exhausted by the first order establishing reservations thereunder.

The extension of the Hoopa Valley Reservation made by Executive Order of October 16, 1891, including a tract of country in California one mile in width on each side of the Klamath River, was lawfully established pursuant to the Act of 1864.

In view of the history of the case, the custom of the Klamath Indians for whose benefit the Hoopa Valley Reservation was established, the government ownership of the territory and its acquisition from Mexico under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, as well as the statutes, and decisions of the courts, of California to the effect that the Klamath River is a nonnavigable stream, held that such reservation included the bed of the Klamath River.

What are navigable streams within the meaning of the local rules of

Page 228 U. S. 244

property is for the determination of the states, and where a state by statute enumerates the navigable streams within its borders, those not enumerated are nonnavigable in law.

The prime requisites for the validity of a mining claim are discovery of a valuable mineral deposit, an actual taking possession thereof, and the performance of the requisite amount of development work; where the record does not disclose facts showing the existence of these elements, a finding cannot be supported that valid rights against the government existed.

The creation and maintenance of a school district by the State of California within the public domain and not in section 16 or 36 could not impair the right of the federal government to dispose of that domain.

The words "sole and exclusive jurisdiction" as used in 2145, Rev.Stat., do not mean that the United States must have sole and exclusive jurisdiction over the Indian country in order that such section may apply to it; those words are used in order to describe the laws of the United States which by that section are extended to the Indian country. In re Wilson,140 U. S. 578.

The term "Indian country," as used in §§ 2145, 2146, Rev.Stat., is not confined to lands to which the Indians retain their original right of possession, but includes those set apart out of the public domain as reservations for, and not previously occupied by, the Indians.

The killing of an Indian by one not of Indian blood, when committed upon an Indian reservation within the California, is punishable, under §§ 2145 and 5339, Rev.Stat., in the federal courts.

Hearsay evidence, with a few well recognized exceptions, is excluded by courts that adhere to the principles of the common law.

After reviewing numerous authorities, held that, in this case, the court properly excluded hearsay evidence relating to the confession of a third party, then deceased, of guilt of the crime with which defendant was charged.

In this country, there is a great and practically unanimous weight of authority in the state courts against admitting evidence of confessions of third parties made out of court and tending to exonerate the accused.

The facts, which involve the validity of a conviction and sentence of a white man for murder of an Indian on the Klamath River within the Hoopa Valley Reservation, are stated in the opinion.

Page 228 U. S. 252

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