124 U.S. 394 (1888), Brooks v. State of Missouri

Citation:124 U.S. 394, 8 S.Ct. 443, 31 L.Ed. 454
Case Date:January 23, 1888
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 394

124 U.S. 394 (1888)

8 S.Ct. 443, 31 L.Ed. 454




United States Supreme Court.

January 23, 1888


[8 S.Ct. 443] P. W. Fauntleroy and John Y. Martin, for plaintiff in error.

B. G. Boone, for defendant in error.



In Spies v. Illinois, 123 U.S. 131, 181, 8 S.Ct. 22, it was said that 'to give us jurisdiction under section 709, Rev. St., because

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of a denial by a state court of any title, right, privilege, or immunity claimed under the constitution or any treaty or statute of the United States, it must appear on the record that such title, right, privilege, or immunity was 'specially set up or claimed' at the proper time in the proper way. To be reviewable here, the decision must be against the right so set up or claimed. As the supreme court of the state was reviewing the decision of the trial court, it must appear that the claim was made in that court, because the supreme court was only authorized to review the judgment for errors committed there, and we can do no more.' Applying that rule to this case, we find that at the trial no title, right, privilege, or immunity was specially set up or claimed under the constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. Thus, when the testimony of McCulloch was offered, the admission of which is now assigned for error, [8 S.Ct. 444] the objection made was not that its admission would be a violation of any provision of the constitution or laws of the United States, but because it was 'incompetent and irrelevant,' coming, as it did, from a man who, by his conduct in procuring the statements from the defendant as to which it was proposed he should testify, had shown himself to be 'unworthy of belief in a court of justice,' and because 'the witness has shown that he held out an inducement--a promise--to the defendant for his statement, which renders it incompetent.' And so, in respect to the ruling on the motion to quash the indictment, and to discharge the defendant from arrest, the only objection was 'that said indictment, proceedings, imprisonment, and restraint are illegal and unlawful, and in violation of the constitution and laws of the state of Missouri, and without any due process of law or lawful authority whatsoever.' The particular provisions of the constitution of the state now relied on in support of this assignment of error are section 11 of the bill of rights, to the effect that 'no warrant to * * * seize any person * * * shall issue without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation reduced to writing;' and section 12, 'that no person shall for a felony be proceeded against criminally, otherwise than by indictment.'

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Another of the assignments of error is that the court instructed the jury that they might find the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree, if they were satisfied from the evidence that he did kill and murder the person named in the indictment 'in the manner and form charged in either of the counts,' when one of the counts was bad. As presented to the trial court at the time, the question involved in this part of the charge was one of general law only, and not in...

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