In re Lincoln,
202 U.S. 178 (1906)

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U.S. Supreme Court

In re Lincoln, 202 U.S. 178 (1906)

In re Lincoln

No. 21, Original

Submitted April 23, 1906

Decided May 14, 1906

202 U.S. 178


Where petitioner's term of imprisonment has expired, but under the sentence, he is still subject to confinement until a fine of $100 and costs has been paid, and nothing in the record shows whether such fine has been collected on execution as authorized by the sentence, but if not collected or collectible, the petitioner can shortly be discharged on taking the poor debtor;s oath, the case is practically a moot one, upon which the time of this Court should not be spent.

Conceding the full jurisdiction of this Court in habeas corpus, and although the writ has been granted, in view of the special circumstances therein involved, in a case similar, in some respects, to the one at bar, it is a question in every case whether the exercise of that jurisdiction is appropriate. The ordinary procedure for correction of errors in criminal cases by writ of error should be pursued unless special circumstances call for a departure therefrom, and so held in regard to a petition for habeas corpus of one convicted in a District Court of the United States for selling liquor to Indians in Indian country who could and should have proceeded by writ of error from the circuit court of appeals.

The petitioner was convicted in the District Court for the District of Nebraska on an indictment charging that he did

"wrongfully and unlawfully introduce into Indian country, to-wit, into and upon the Winnebago Indian reservation, a reservation set apart for the exclusive use and benefit of certain tribes of the Winnebago Indians, certain spirituous, vinous, malt, and other intoxicating liquors."

Upon this conviction, he was sentenced to pay a fine of $100 and the costs of prosecution, and to be imprisoned in the jail of Douglas County, Nebraska, for the term of sixty days, and until said fine and costs were paid. The imprisonment commenced on February 19, 1906. Without pursuing his remedy by writ of error, the petitioner, on April 2, 1906, filed in this Court his application for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging that the United States has no police power or jurisdiction over the Winnebago reservation, and that the law under which the

Page 202 U. S. 179

indictment was drawn is unconstitutional and void insofar as it applies to the said Winnebago reservation, and that the United States district court was wholly without jurisdiction in the premises. The indictment was found under the Act of Congress of January 30, 1897. 29 Stat. 506. April 30, 1906, the case was submitted on petition, return, and a stipulation of facts.

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