317 U.S. 1 (1942), --- Original and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7--July Special Term, 1942., Ex Parte Quirin

Docket Nº:--- Original and 1
Citation:317 U.S. 1, 63 S.Ct. 2, 87 L.Ed. 3
Party Name:2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7--July Special Term, 1942., Ex Parte Quirin
Case Date:July 31, 1942
Court:United States Supreme Court

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317 U.S. 1 (1942)

63 S.Ct. 2, 87 L.Ed. 3

Ex parte QUIRIN.

Ex parte HAUPT.

Ex parte KERLING.

Ex parte BURGER.

Ex parte HEINCK.

Ex parte THIEL.

Ex parte NEUBAUER.

UNITED STATES ex rel. QUIRIN

v.

COX, Brig. Gen., U.S.A., Provost Marshal of the Military District of Washington, and 6 other cases.

Nos. --- Original and Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7--July Special Term, 1942.

United States Supreme Court.

July 31, 1942

Argued July 29, 30, 1942.

Extended opinion filed Oct. 29, 1942.

Motions for leave to file petitions for writs of habeas corpus.

On writs of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Proceeding by the United States of America on the relation of Richard Quirin, on the relation of Herbert Hans Haupt, on the relation of Edward John Kerling, on the relation of Ernest Peter Burger, on the relation of Heinrich Harm Heinck, on the relation of Werner Thiel and on the relation of Herman Otto Neubauer against Brigadier General Albert L. Cox, U.S.A., Provost Marshal of the Military District of Washington, on application for leave to file a petition for habeas corpus. From orders of the District Court, appeals were taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and certiorari before judgment was granted and was considered with original applications by Richard Quirin, by Herbert Hans Haupt, by Edward John Kerling, by Ernest Peter Burger, by Heinrich Harm Heinck, by Werner Thiel and by Herman Otto Neubauer for leave to file petitions for habeas corpus in the Supreme Court.

Orders of District Court affirmed and leave to file petition for habeas corpus in the Supreme Court denied.

COUNSEL

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[63 S.Ct. 6] Colonel Kenneth C. Royall, A.U.S., of Raleigh, N.C., for petitioners.

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Mr. Francis Biddle, Atty. Gen., for respondent.

OPINION

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Mr. Chief Justice STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.

These cases are brought here by petitioners' several applications for leave to file petitions for habeas corpus in this Court, and by their petitions for certiorari to review orders of the District Court for the District of Columbia, which denied their applications for leave to file petitions for habeas corpus in that court.

The question for decision is whether the detention of petitioners by respondent for trial by Military Commission, appointed by Order of the President of July 2, 1942,

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on charges preferred against them purporting to set out their violations of the law of war and of the Articles of War, is in conformity to the laws and Constitution of the United States.

After denial of their applications by the District Court, 47 F.Supp. 431, petitioners asked leave to file petitions for habeas corpus in this Court. In view of the public importance of the questions raised by their petitions and of the duty which rests on the courts, in time of war as well as in time of peace, to preserve unimpaired the constitutional safeguards of civil liberty, and because in our opinion the public interest required that we consider and decide those [63 S.Ct. 7] questions without any avoidable delay, we directed that petitioners' applications be set down for full oral argument at a special term of this Court, convened on July 29, 1942. The applications for leave to file the petitions were presented in open court on that day and were heard on the petitions, the answers to them of respondent, a stipulation of facts by counsel, and the record of the testimony given before the Commission.

While the argument was proceeding before us, petitioners perfected their appeals from the orders of the District Court to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and thereupon filed with this

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Court petitions for certiorari to the Court of Appeals before judgment, pursuant to Section 240(a) of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C. s 347(a), 28 U.S.C.A. s 347(a). We granted certiorari before judgment for the reasons which moved us to convene the special term of Court. In accordance with the stipulation of counsel we treat the record, briefs and arguments in the habeas corpus proceedings in this Court as the record, briefs and arguments upon the writs of certiorari.

On July 31, 1942, after hearing argument of counsel and after full consideration of all questions raised, this Court affirmed the orders of the District Court and denied petitioners' applications for leave to file petitions for habeas corpus. By per curiam opinion, 317 U.S. 1, 63 S.Ct. 1, 87 L.Ed. 3, we announced the decision of the Court, and that the full opinion in the causes would be prepared and filed with the Clerk.

The following facts appear from the petitions or are stipulated. Except as noted they are undisputed.

All the petitioners were born in Germany; all have lived in the United States. All returned to Germany between 1933 and 1941. All except petitioner Haupt are admittedly citizens of the German Reich, with which the United States is at war. Haupt came to this country with his parents when he was five years old; it is contended that he became a citizen of the United States by virtue of the naturalization of his parents during his minority and that he has not since lost his citizenship. The Government, however, takes the position that on attaining his majority he elected to maintain German allegiance and citizenship or in any case that he has by his conduct renounced or abandoned his United States citizenship. See Perkins v. Elg, 307 U.S. 325, 334, 59 S.Ct. 884, 889, 83 L.Ed. 1320; United States ex rel. Rojak v. Marshall, D.C., 34 F.2d 219; United States ex rel. Scimeca v. Husband, 2 Cir., 6 F.2d 957, 958; 8 U.S.C. s 801, 8 U.S.C.A. s 801, and compare 8 U.S.C. s 808, 8 U.S.C.A. s 808. For reasons presently to be stated we do not find it necessary to resolve these contentions.

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After the declaration of war between the United States and the German Reich, petitioners received training at a sabotage school near Berlin, Germany, where they were instructed in the use of explosives and in methods of secret writing. Thereafter petitioners, with a German citizen, Dasch, proceeded from Germany to a seaport in Occupied France, where petitioners Burger, Heinck and Quirin, together with Dasch, boarded a German submarine which proceeded across the Atlantic to Amagansett Beach on Long Island, New York. The four were there landed from the submarine in the hours of darkness, on or about June 13, 1942, carrying with them a supply of explosives, fuses and incendiary and timing devices. While landing they wore German Marine Infantry uniforms or parts of uniforms. Immediately after landing they buried their uniforms and the other articles mentioned and proceeded in civilian dress to New York City.

The remaining four petitioners at the same French port boarded another German submarine, which carried them across the Atlantic to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. On or about June 17, 1942, they came ashore during the hours of darkness wearing caps of the German Marine Infantry and carrying with them a supply of explosives, fuses, and incendiary and timing devices. They immediately buried their caps and the other articles mentioned and proceeded in civilian dress to Jacksonville, Florida, and thence to various points in the United States. All were taken into custody in New York or Chicago by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. All had received instructions in Germany from an [63 S.Ct. 8] officer of the German High Command to destroy war industries and war facilities in the United States, for which they or their relatives in Germany were to receive salary payments from the German Government. They also had been paid by the German Government during their course of training at the sabotage school and had received substantial sums in

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United States currency, which were in their possession when arrested. The currency had been handed to them by an officer of the German High Command, who had instructed them to wear their German uniforms while landing in the United States. 1

The President, as President and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, by Order of July 2, 1942,2 appointed a Military Commission and directed it to try petitioners for offenses against the law of war and the Articles of War, and prescribed regulations for the procedure on the trial and for review of the record of the trial and of any judgment or sentence of the Commission. On the same day, by Proclamation,3 the President declared that 'all persons who are subjects, citizens or residents of any nation at war with the United States or who give obedience to or act under the direction of any such nation,

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and who during time of war enter or attempt to enter the United States * * * through coastal or boundary defenses, and are charged with committing or attempting or preparing to commit sabotage, espionage, hostile or warlike acts, or violations of the law of war, shall be subject to the law of war and to the jurisdiction of military tribunals'.

The Proclamation also stated in terms that all such persons were denied access to the courts.

Pursuant to direction of the Attorney General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation surrendered custody of petitioners to respondent, Provost Marshal of the Military District of Washington, who was directed by the Secretary of War to receive and keep them in custody, and who thereafter held petitioners for trial before the Commission.

On July 3, 1942, the Judge Advocate General's Department of the Army prepared and lodged with the Commission the following charges against petitioners, supported by specifications:

1. Violation of the law of war.

2. Violation of Article 81 of the Articles of War, defining the offense of relieving or attempting to relieve, or corresponding with or giving intelligence to, the enemy.

3. Violation of Article 82, defining the offense...

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