62 F. 972 (N.D.Cal. 1894), 11,095, In re Ezeta

Docket Nº:11,095-11,099.
Citation:62 F. 972
Case Date:September 22, 1894
Court:United States District Courts, 9th Circuit, Northern District of California

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62 F. 972 (N.D.Cal. 1894)


Nos. 11,095-11,099.

United States District Court, N.D. California.

September 22, 1894

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Pierson & Mitchell, for the republic of Salvador.

Charles Page, Horatio S. Reubens, and Gonzalo De Quesada, for defendants.

Charles A. Garter, U.S. Atty., for the United States.

MORROW, District Judge.

These matters are before me, sitting as a committing magistrate, to determine upon the application of the republic of Salvador for the extradition, under its treaty with the United States, of Antonio Ezeta, Leon Bolanos, Jacinto Colocho, Juan Cienfuegos, and Florencio Bustamante, for trial in Salvador upon five charges; three being for murder, one for attempt to murder, and one for robbery. Upon the hearing it was claimed by the refugees-- First, that there was not sufficient evidence amounting to probable cause to justify the holding of the accused; and, second, that all the offenses charged, with the exception of the charge of attempt to murder made against Juan Cienfuegos, assuming that probable cause existed, were political acts, and for that reason not extraditable, by the terms of the treaty.

The constitution of the republic of Salvador provides that the president and vice president shall be elected for a term of four years. Gen. Francisco Menendez was the president, and Dr. Rafael

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Ayala vice president, for the term commencing March 1, 1887, and ending March 1, 1891. On the night of June 22, 1890, Gen. Carlos Ezeta appeared at the city of San Salvador, the capital of the republic, at the head of an armed force of 600 men, and proclaimed a revolt against the then existing government. President Menendez was giving a banquet at the time, celebrating the anniversary of his triumphant occupation of the capital five years before. In the tumult that followed, he was either slain by his political enemies, or he died suddenly from the effect of the excitement caused by the hostile demonstration. The government of Menendez was overthrown, and Gen. Carlos Ezeta proclaimed provisional president by the army. He immediately assumed the reins of government, and, with the assistance of his brother, Gen. Antonio Ezeta, proceeded to establish his executive authority,-- not, however, without serious opposition. He was called upon to face an armed demonstration made against him on the part of Guatemala, and to encounter resistance at home, headed by Gen. Rivas, supporting the claims of vice president Ayala for the constitutional succession to the presidency. The Ezetas, however, were successful in their military operations. In a sanguinary struggle with Gen. Rivas for the capital, the latter was defeated, and afterwards shot as a traitor. Through the intervention of the members of the foreign diplomatic corps, Guatemala was induced to agree to peace on condition that the people of Salvador should be allowed a free expression in the choice of their president; and, in September, 1890, Gen. Carlos Ezeta was elected provisional president of the republic, and, on the first day of March, 1891, he was duly installed as president, with Gen. Antonio Ezeta as vice president, for the full term of four years. Gen. Antonio Ezeta afterwards became commander in chief of the army. Reference to other disturbances that followed will not be necessary. It is sufficient for the present purpose to say that the Ezeta government managed, by the use of vigorous measures in suppressing opposition, to continue in power down to the time of the occurrences which have been described in the testimony, and deemed relevant and material in the present examination.

A knowledge of what has just been stated, pertaining to the recent history of Salvador, drawn from public reports, appears to be necessary, however, to a clear understanding of the facts involved in the charges made against the defendants. On the 29th day of April, 1894, a revolution against the Ezeta government broke out in the military garrison at Santa Ana, a city in the western part of the republic, and distant about 60 miles from the capital. The revolution appears to have involved at first only a regular battalion of 500 men, stationed at that place, but it soon spread to other departments of the republic. Gen. Antonio Ezeta, the commander in chief, was stationed at this time at Santa Ana, as was also Gen. Jacinto Colocho, the commander of the garrison. After an unsuccessful attempt to recover the garrison, these officers, with a few men, retreated to Coatepeque, a place about 12 miles nearer the capital, here a force was gathered, and from which point operations were directed against the revolutionary forces. In an engagement

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that took place on May 3d, Gen. Ezeta was wounded, and Gen. Bolanos became commander of the army. On May 23d, Gen. Antonio Ezeta, having recovered from his wounds, resumed command, and thereafter directed the operations of the government forces in that department. In the meantime the revolution had gained strength in other departments of the republic, under the leadership of Yen. Rafael Antonio Gutierrez, who has since become president; and on June 4, 1894, Gen. Carlos Ezeta fled from the capital, and taking passage in a vessel at La Libertad for Panama, he proceeded (so it is reported) to New York, and thence to Europe. Gen. Antonio Ezeta thereupon became the acting president. On June 4th he and his army retreated in the direction of Santa Tecla, or New San Salvador, arriving there on June 5th, and on the 6th the retreat was continued to the port of La Libertad. Between April 29th and June 6th a number of battles and skirmishes took place between the contending forces, in which several hundred on both sides were killed and wounded. The force under Gen. Antonio Ezeta numbered at one time about 1,700 men, but it was reduced by desertions, and losses in killed and wounded, to a few hundred, when the remnant of the army under the immediate command of Gen. Colocho, reached La Libertad. While these operations were in progress the government of the United States dispatched the United States steamer Bennington from California to Salvador, to look after the interests of citizens of the United States in that country during the revolution. This vessel was at the port of La Libertad when Gen. Antonio Ezeta and his officers and men reached that place. Among those officers, who had taken part in the military operations on the part of the government under Gen. Antonio Ezeta, were Gens. Bolanos and Colocho, previously mentioned; Lieut. Col. Juan Cienfuegos, on the staff of Gen. Ezeta; and Capt. Florencio Bustamante, field commissary. Upon the arrival of Gen. Antonio Ezeta at La Libertad, he proceeded to the american consulate, and requested asylum on board the Bennington until the arrival of the steamer San Blas, on its way to Panama. The message was signaled to Capt. Thomas, the commander of the Bennington, who granted the request, and Gen. Ezeta immediately proceeded on board the vessel. Later on in the same day, 16 others of Gen. Ezeta's company, including the officers I have named, went alongside of the Bennington, in a lighter, and applied for asylum. This request was at first refused, on account of a lack of accommodations on board the vessel; but, the pursuing revolutionary forces threatening to follow the fugitives under the beam of the Bennington, they were taken on board. Three days later the steamer San Blas arrived at La Libertad, when the commander of the Bennington proceeded to make arrangements for the transfer of the fugitives on board that vessel. The arrangements were interrupted, however, by commissioners representing the successful revolutionary party, requesting that they should have an opportunity to make a demand for the extradition of the fugitives on charges of murder, arson, robbery, and rape. The fugitives were accordingly detained on board the Bennington, and, in view of the disturbed condition of affairs in Salvador, this concession was

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deemed by Capt. Thomas a courtesy to the new government, of some consequence, in the favorable influence it would probably have upon the authorities in securing the safety of American citizens residing in that country. Upon the arrival of the next vessel at La Libertad, bound for Panama, the fugitives again requested permission to leave the Bennington, that they might take passage on the departing steamer; but the request was refused by Capt. Thomas, under instructions from the secretary of the navy. The Bennington remained at La Libertad until July 25, 1894, during which time no extradition proceedings other than a demand by the government of Salvador for the surrender of the fugitives appear to have reached Capt. Thomas. The vessel then proceeded north with the five fugitives on board, who have been the subject of these proceedings. What became of the other 12 is not disclosed by the testimony in the case. The Bennington arrived at Acapulco, Mexico, July 30th or 31st, where a request on the part of the fugitives to be allowed to leave the vessel was again refused. Leaving Acapulco August 2d, the Bennington arrived off the harbor of San Francisco on the 14th of August. The government of Gen. Gutierrez, as provisional president of Salvador, was formally recognized by the president of the United States on August 3, 1894, by the reception of Dr. Horacio Guzman as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the republic of Salvador. This last fact may be, in part, an explanation, and a sufficient reason, why the fugitives were detained on board the Bennington until the arrival of the vessel at this port; but, however that may be, that question is not before...

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