Johnson v. United States
Annotate this Case
225 U.S. 405 (1912)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Johnson v. United States, 225 U.S. 405 (1912)
Johnson v. United States
Argued May 1, 2, 1912
Decided June 7, 1912
225 U.S. 405
Whether the prisoner was properly arraigned is not a matter of form but of substance, and should be shown by the record. Crain v. United States, 162 U. S. 625.
There is no explicit provision in the laws of the United States describing what shall constitute an arraignment, but so far as it is expressed, it has a definite meaning.
Where a word is used as comprehensively descriptive of certain acts, it can be used in the record of a case as showing the performance of those acts, and so held as to "arraignment" as used in § 1032, Rev.Stat.
In this case, what was done, as shown by the record, did constitute an arraignment.
The record in a case imports verity, and cannot be contradicted by affidavits. Evans v. Stettnisch, 149 U. S. 605.
As used to define the place where a crime may be committed, the words, "within any fort, arsenal, dockyard, magazine, or any other place or district of country under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States" include the District of Columbia.
The Act of January 15, 1897, 29 Stat. 487, c. 29, permitting the jury in a capital case of murder or rape under § 5339 or 5345, Rev.Stat., to qualify the verdict by adding "without capital punishment" was applicable to the District of Columbia until superseded by the special provisions on the same subject in the District Code. Winston v. United States, 172 U. S. 303.
In framing a new statute, a change of language from that of a former statute on the same subject is some evidence of a change of legislative purpose.
Some of the provisions of the Criminal Code approved March 4, 1909, 35 Stat. 1088, c. 321, apply to the District of Columbia, and other provisions do not.
Congress, in enacting the District Code, recognized the expediency of separate provisions for the District of Columbia.
The provisions of the Criminal Code which deal with offenses federal in nature, wherever committed, whether in places under federal,
state, or territorial control, supersede the District Code; provisions, however, in regard to offenses under state jurisdiction if committed in a state or over which Congress has given local control to the Territories, and in regard to which it has adopted a separate code, as for Alaska, do not supersede the District Code.
The provision in § 272 of the Criminal Code of 1909 permitting the jury to qualify the verdict of guilty in certain cases punishable by death by adding "without capital punishment" does not supersede the provisions in the District Code in regard to punishment for murder.
Provision in earlier statutes in regard to matters which are embraced in and superseded by a later statute are repealed by the later statute; but where the two statutes have definite territorial operation, they can exist together, and the earlier one is not repealed or affected by the later.
An objection that the jury was not lawfully drawn must be availed of at the trial; it cannot, under § 919 of the District Code, be made the basis for setting aside the verdict on appeal.
38 App.D.C. 347 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the validity of a conviction and sentence for murder in the District of Columbia, are stated in the opinion.