1 Haw. 56 (Haw.Super. 1852), In re Webster

Citation:1 Haw. 56
Attorney:Mr. Montgomery for the motion. Mr. Bates contra.
Case Date:March 03, 1852
Court:Superior Court of Hawai'i

Page 56

1 Haw. 56 (Haw.Super. 1852)


Superior Court of Hawai'i.

March 3, 1852

Syllabus by the Court

A Justice of the Superior Court, at chambers, will not interfere, on a writ of habeas corpus, with a commitment for contempt made by a Police Justice, in a matter within his jurisdiction, and while he acts within the scope of his authority.

Mr. Montgomery for the motion.

Mr. Bates contra.


LEE, CHIEF JUSTICE of the Superior Court, at Chambers.

In the case of Michael M. Webster.

The writ of habeas corpus in this case was issued on the following petition:

" To the Hon. WILLIAM L. LEE, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Law and Equity, Hawaiian Islands.

" The petition of Michael Morton Webster, of Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, represents: That your petitioner was duly subpœ naed as a witness to be and appear at the Police Court, Honolulu, in a complaint of the Crown vs. Thain on a charge of smuggling. And that in obedience to said command, he did appear at said Court, and being duly sworn, did answer any and all questions put to him, -such as did you have a barrel in your possession last Thursday night? I did. Did you get it from Capt. Thain? I did not. Did you get it afloat? I did not. And then to the question, Where did you get the barrel of spirits, I declined answering, when your petitioner was committed to the Fort, in custody of Wm. C. Parke, Marshal of the Hawaiian Islands, by C. C. Harris, Esq., Police Magistrate, and is still held in custody by said Wm. C. Parke, and deprived of his liberty in contravention of his legal rights.

" Therefore your petitioner prays that he may be brought before your Honor on a writ of habeas corpus, and that the causes of his detention may be enquired into, and his liberty restored him."

The return of the writ shows that the prisoner was committed to the custody of the Marshal by the Police Magistrate of Honolulu, for a contempt of Court, under the following mittimus:

" To the Marshal of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

" Whereas, Micheal Morton Webster has this day been convicted in the Police Court of Honolulu, of the offense of contempt of Court, and was then sentenced to be committed to prison, until he shall see fit to answer the question put to him.

" Now, therefore, you are hereby strictly enjoined to cause said sentence to be executed.

" Given under my hand this first day of March, 1852.

" (Signed) C.C. HARRIS, " Police Magistrate of Honolulu."

Upon this showing, counsel have moved that the prisoner be discharged.

The mittimus is somewhat informal, and sets forth none of the facts of the case, yet it is sufficiently full and plain in its meaning, and no objection has been made to it. Therefore, we will proceed at once to the two great questions raised in this case; namely, can a Judge of the Superior Court at chambers issue a writ of habeas corpus when a person is in custody upon the commitment of a Police Justice for contempt, and upon the return of the...

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