Ex Parte Kearney
Annotate this Case
20 U.S. 38 (1822)
U.S. Supreme Court
Ex Parte Kearney, 20 U.S. 7 Wheat. 38 38 (1822)
Ex Parte Kearney
20 U.S. (7 Wheat.) 38
This Court has authority to issue a habeas corpus where a person is imprisoned under the warrant or order of any other court of the United States.
But this Court has no appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases confided to it by the laws of the United States, and cannot revise the judgments of the circuit courts by writ of error in any case where a party has been convicted of a public offense.
Hence the Court will not grant a habeas corpus where a party has been committed for a contempt adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction.
In such a case, this Court will not inquire into the sufficiency of the cause of commitment.
The case of Crosby, Lord Mayor of London, 3 Wils. 108, commented on, and its authority confirmed.
Mr. Jones moved for a habeas corpus to bring up the body of John T. Kearney, now in jail, in the custody of the marshal, under a commitment of the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia for an alleged contempt. The petition stated that on the trial of an indictment in that court, the petitioner was examined as a witness, and refused to answer a certain question which was put to him, because he conceived it tended materially to implicate him, and to criminate him as a particeps criminis. The objection was overruled by the court, and he having persisted in refusing to answer the question, was committed to jail for the supposed contempt, and for no other cause.
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