United States v. Jung Ah Lung,
124 U.S. 621 (1888)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Jung Ah Lung, 124 U.S. 621 (1888)

United States v. Jung Ah Lung

Submitted January 9, 1888

Decided February 13, 1888

124 U.S. 621


A Chinese laborer who resided in the United States on November 17th, 1880, continued to reside there till October 24th, 1883, when he left San Francisco for China, taking with him a certificate of identification issued to him by the collector of that port, in the form required by the 4th section of the Act of May 6, 1852, c. 126, 22 Stat. 68, which was stolen from him in China, and remained outstanding and uncancelled. Returning from China to San Francisco by a vessel, he was not allowed by the collector to land for want of the certificate, and was detained in custody in the port by the master of the vessel by direction of the customs authorities. On a writ of habeas corpus, issued by the district court of the United States, it appeared that he corresponded in all respects with the description contained in the registration books of the custom house of the person to whom the certificate was issued. He was discharged from custody, and the order of discharge was affirmed by the circuit court.

On appeal to this Court, by the United States, held:

Page 124 U. S. 622

(1) He was in custody under or by color of the authority of the United States, and the district court had jurisdiction to issue the writ.

(2) The jurisdiction of the court was not affected by the fact that the collector had passed on the question of allowing the person to land, or by the fact that the treaty provides for diplomatic action in a case of hardship.

(3) The case of the petitioner was not to be adjudicated under the provisions of the Act of July 5, 1884, c. 220, 23 Stat. 115, where they differed from those of the act of 1882.

(4) In view of the provisions of § 4 of the act of 1882, in regard to a Chinese laborer arriving by sea, as distinguished from those of § 12 of the same act in regard to one arriving by land, the district court was authorized to receive the evidence it did in regard to the identity of the petitioner, and, on the facts it found, to discharge him from custody.

This was a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The court below ordered the discharge of the prisoner, from which judgment the United States appealed. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

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