Southern Surety Co. v. Oklahoma,
241 U.S. 582 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Southern Surety Co. v. Oklahoma, 241 U.S. 582 (1916)

Southern Surety Co. v. Oklahoma

No. 124

Submitted December 9, 1915

Decided June 12, 1916

241 U.S. 582


By reason of the conditions arising out of the presence of the Five Civilized Tribes, no organized territorial government was ever established in the Indian Territory, and, in the absence of an organized local government, prosecutions for crime were, regardless of their nature, commenced and prosecuted in the name of the United States.

Adultery is an offense against the marriage relation, and belongs to the class of subjects which each state controls in its own way.

Adultery is a punishable offense only when the common or statute law of the state so makes it, and, where punishable, it is cognizable only in the courts of the state.

Forts, arsenals and like places within the exterior limits of a state, but over which exclusive jurisdiction has been ceded to the United States, are not regarded as a part of the state, but are excepted out of it.

Page 241 U. S. 583

Quaere whether Congress can deal with the crime of adultery committed by tribal Indians within a state.

Under §§ 16 and 20 of the Oklahoma Enabling Act and Schedule 28 of the Constitution of Oklahoma, the state took the place of the United States in regard to a prosecution for adultery, neither of the parties thereto being Indians, commenced in Indian Territory in one of the temporary courts of the United States, and all essential parts of the prosecution, including the bail bond of which the United States was obligee, passed to the state with power of enforcement thereof.

34 Okl. 781 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction of the Oklahoma Enabling Act and the jurisdiction of the state court of cases formerly pending in the temporary courts of Indian Territory, are stated in the opinion.

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