252 U.S. 364 (1919), Collins v. Miller

Citation:252 U.S. 364, 40 S.Ct. 347, 64 L.Ed. 616
Party Name:Collins v. Miller
Case Date:March 29, 1920
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 364

252 U.S. 364 (1919)

40 S.Ct. 347, 64 L.Ed. 616




United States Supreme Court

March 29, 1920




A judgment of the district court, in a habeas corpus proceeding wherein the construction of a treaty is drawn in question, is not appealable directly to this Court (Jud.Code, § 238) unless it is final. P. 365.

It is the duty of this Court in every case in which its jurisdiction depends on the finality of the judgment under review to examine and determine that question whether raised by the parties or not. Id.

A judgment in habeas corpus dealing with the detention of the relator for foreign extradition on three charges, and denying relief as to one but assuming to order a further hearing by the commissioner as to the others has not the finality and completeness requisite for an appeal to this Court. Pp. 368, 370.

Page 365

The proper party to appeal from a judgment in habeas corpus directing the marshal to release a person held for foreign extradition is the marshal, not the foreign consul upon whose complaint the extradition proceedings were begun. P. 371.

Appeals dismissed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

BRANDEIS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the Court.

These are appeals from a single judgment entered by the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Louisiana on a petition for writs of habeas corpus and certiorari. The relator had been arrested on extradition proceedings. Each party asks to have reviewed the construction given below to provisions of our treaty with Great Britain, proclaimed August 9, 1842 (8 Stat. 572, 576), and of the supplementary treaty proclaimed April 22, 1901 (32 Stat. 1864). The questions presented are therefore of a character which may be reviewed upon direct appeal under § 238 of the Judicial Code. Charlton v. Kelly, 229 U.S. 447. But this Court has jurisdiction on writ of error and appeal under that section, as under others, only from final judgments. McLish v. Roff, 141 U.S. 661; Heike v. United States, 217 U.S. 423. And the rule applies to habeas corpus proceedings. Harkrader v. Wadley, 172 U.S. 148, 162. [40 S.Ct. 348] The fundamental question whether the judgment appealed from

Page 366

is a final one within the meaning of the rule has suggested itself to the Court, and it must be answered although it was not raised by either party. Defiance Water Co. v. Defiance, 191 U.S. 184, 194. In order to answer the question, it is necessary to describe the proceedings before the committing magistrate, as well as those in the district court on the petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

In October and November, 1918, the British Consul General at New Orleans filed with the Honorable Rufus E. Foster, District Judge of the United States for the Eastern District of Louisiana, three separate affidavits, each charging that Charles Glen Collins, who was then within the jurisdiction of that court, had committed at Bombay, India, the crime therein described as obtaining property under false pretenses, and that he stood charged therewith in the Chief Presidency Magistrate's Court at Bombay, and asking that he be committed as a fugitive from justice for the purpose of having him returned to India for trial. Warrants of arrest issued, and Collins moved, as to each affidavit, to dismiss for want of jurisdiction, contending that the transactions in question were commercial dealings in which he had merely failed to pay debts incurred. Hearings, entitled "In the Matter of Extradition Proceedings of Charles Glen Collins," were had before Judge Foster at which the Consul General and Collins appeared by counsel. Evidence in support of each of the three affidavits was introduced by the Consul General. Then Collins, who was sworn at his request, admitted his identity and that he had been present in India at the times each of the alleged crimes were committed. As to one of the charges, that of obtain ing a pearl button from Mohamed Alli Zaimel ali Raza, he was allowed to testify further. But he was not permitted to testify as to matters concerning the other two which had been consolidated. And he was not permitted to introduce other witnesses in defense of any of the three

Page 367

affidavits. After the hearings were concluded, Judge Foster made two orders or judgments signed by him as judge of said United States district court and entitled in said court. In these orders, he found, as to each of the affidavits, that he deemed the evidence sufficient to sustain the charge under the law and the treaty, and as to each he ordered Collins recommitted to the House of Detention in the custody of the United States marshal for that district to await the order of the President of the United States. The two proceedings (which included the three affidavits) were then consolidated. Under date of November 27, 1918, a certificate setting forth his findings, together with a copy of the record in all the proceedings, was transmitted to the Secretary of State.

This petition for writs of habeas corpus and certiorari was filed by Collins, in said district court, on January 8, 1919. It set forth the proceedings before Judge Foster on the three affidavits, and alleged that his detention was illegal and in violation of rights secured to him by the treaty -- among other reasons, because he was refused permission to introduce evidence as above mentioned. District Judge Grubb ordered that the writs issue, and the marshal made return setting forth in substance the facts above...

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