145 U.S. 571 (1892), 1525, Cross v. United States

Docket Nº:No. 1525
Citation:145 U.S. 571, 12 S.Ct. 842, 36 L.Ed. 821
Party Name:Cross v. United States
Case Date:May 16, 1892
Court:United States Supreme Court

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145 U.S. 571 (1892)

12 S.Ct. 842, 36 L.Ed. 821



United States

No. 1525

United States Supreme Court

May 16, 1892

Submitted April 25, 1892




Under the Act of February 6, 1883, "to provide for writs of error in capital cases," 25 Stat. 655, c. 113, a writ of error does not lie from this Court to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia to review a judgment of that court in general term affirming a judgment of the trial court convicting a person of a capital crime.

Motion to dismiss. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

FULLER, J., lead opinion

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

William D. Cross was tried upon an indictment for murder in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, holding a criminal term, in March, 1890, and a verdict of guilty having been returned, and a motion for a new trial heard and overruled, was sentenced to death. He thereupon prosecuted an appeal to the court in general term, which reversed the conviction and granted a new trial. 19 D.C. 562.

A second trial was had at the June, 1891, special criminal term, which again resulted in a verdict of guilty, and, a motion for a new trial having been made and overruled, he was, July 30, 1891, sentenced to be executed January 22, 1892. From this conviction he prosecuted an appeal to the court in general term, which, on January 12, 1892, finding no error in the record, affirmed the judgment. The opinion, by Cox, J., will be found in 20 Washington Law Rep. 98.

On January 21st a writ of error from this Court was allowed,

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on petition, by the chief justice of that court, citation was signed and served and the time for filing the record enlarged.

On the same day, an order was entered by the court in general term

that the execution of the sentence of death pronounced against the defendant by the special term of this court on the 30th day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-one, to take place on the 22d day of January, 1892, be, and the same is hereby, postponed until the 10th day of June, 1892, between the same hours specified in the said judgment of the said special term.

The case comes before us on motion to dismiss the writ of error.

Under acts of Congress, the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia consists of one chief justice and six associate justices, appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and holding their offices during good behavior. Special and general terms of the court, and appeals from the former to the latter, are provided for. General terms may be held by three justices, two constituting a quorum, while special terms are held by one justice. Any one of the justices may hold a criminal court for the trial of all crimes and offenses arising in the District. Rev.Stat.D.C. §§ 750, 753, 754, 757, 762, 763, 772; 19 Stat. 240, c. 69, § 2; 20 Stat. 320, c. 99, § 1.

By the Act of July 7, 1838, 5 Stat. 306, c. 192, a criminal court was established in the District of Columbia, and it was held in Ex Parte Bradley, 7 Wall. 364 at our December term, 1868, that under the Act of March 3, 1863, 12 Stat. 762, by which the courts of the District were reorganized, the criminal court still remained a separate and independent court, although held by a justice of the Supreme Court of the District created by the act, and that the only jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in criminal cases was in an appellate form. But by the Act of June 21, 1870, 16 Stat. 160, c. 141, it was provided, as now embodied in section 753 of the Revised Statutes of the District, that the several general terms

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and special terms of the various courts, circuit, district, and criminal, should be considered terms of the...

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