Callan v. Wilson

Decision Date14 May 1888
PartiesCALLAN v. WILSON, Marshal, etc
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

This is an appeal from a judgment refusing, upon writ of habeas corpus, to discharge the appellant from the custody of the appellee, as marshal of the District of Columbia. It appears that by an information filed by the United States in the police court of the District, the petitioner, with others, was charged with the crime of conspiracy, and, having been found guilty by the court, was sentenced to pay a fine of $25, and, upon default in its payment, to suffer imprisonment in jail for the period of 30 days. He perfected an appeal to the supreme court of the District; but having subsequently withdrawn it, and having refused to pay the fine im- posed upon him, he was committed to the custody of the marshal, to the end that the sentence might be carried into effect. The contention of the petitioner is that he is restrained of his liberty in violation of the constitution. The various grounds of this contention will be considered, so far as it is necessary to do so, after we shall have ascertained the precise nature of the offense of which the petitioner was found guilty. The information shows that one Franz Krause, Louis Naecker, August Naecker, Charles Arndt, Louis Naecker, Jr., Herman Feige, Gustav A. Bruder Fritz Boetcher, Herman Arndt, Julius Schultz, Louis Brand, Caspar Windus, Ernest Arndt, and Christian Feige were, during the months of July and August, 1887, residents of this District, each pursuing the calling of a musician. That during those months there was in the District an association or organization of musicians by the name of 'The Washington Musical Assembly, No. 4308, K. of L.,' containing 150 members, and a branch of a larger association known as 'The Knights of Labor of America,' extending throughout the United States, and having a membership of 500,000 persons, of which 10,000 were residents of this District. That during the period named Edward C. Linden, Louis P. Wild, John N. Pistorio, James C. Callan, (the appellant,) Joseph B. Caldwell, George N. Sloan, John Fallon, Anton Fischer, and Frank Pistorio were members of the said local assembly, each pursuing the calling of a musician; that on the 17th of July, 1887, said local association imposed upon Franz Krause, one of its members, two fines, one of $25 and the other of $50, which he refused to pay, upon the ground that they were illegal; and that said Linden, Wild, Pistorio, Callan, Caldwell, Sloan, Fallon, Fischer, with sundry other persons, whose names were unknown, did no the 7th day of August, 1887, unlawfully and maliciously combine, conspire, and confederate together to extort from Krause the sum of $75 on account of said fines; to prevent the parties first above named,—Krause, Naecker, and others,—and each of them, from pursuing their calling and trade anywhere in the United States; and to 'boycott,' injure, molest, oppress, intimidate, and reduce to beggary and want, not only said persons, and each of them, but any person who should work with or for them, or should employ them or either of them. The information charges that the manner in which the defendants, so conspiring, proposed to effect said result, was to refuse to work as musicians, or in any other capacity, with or for the persons first above named, or with or for any person, firm, or corporation working with or employing them; to request and procure all other members of said organizations, and all other workmen and tradesmen, not to work as musicians, or in any capacity, with or for them, or either of them, or for any person, firm, or corporation that employed or worked with them, or either of them; and to warn and threaten every person, firm, or corporation that employed, or proposed to employ, the said persons, or either of them, that if they did not forthwith cease to so employ them, and refuse to employ them, and each of them, such person, firm, or corporation, so warned and threatened, would be deprived of any custom or patronage, as well from the persons so combining and conspiring as from all other members of said organization in and out of the District. The information further charges that on the 8th day of August, 1887, the said persons, among whom was the appellant, in execution of the purpose of said conspiracy, combination, and confederacy, sent and delivered to each member of 'The Washington Musical Assembly, No. 4308, K. of L.,' and to divers other persons in the District, whose names are unknown, a certain printed circular of the tenor following:


'WASHINGTON, D. C., August 8, 1887.

'DEAR SIR AND BROTHER: In accordance with a resolution of this as sembly, and in compliance with the constitution and by-laws of the order, you are hereby notified that the following- named members of this assembly are hereby suspended for having performed with F. Krause, in direct violation of the official notice of said Krause's suspension from this assembly. You will therefore not engage or perform, directly or indirectly, with any of them,—Louis Naecker, August Naecker, Charles Arndt, Louis Naecker, Jr., Herman Feige, Gus. A. Bruder, Fritz Boetcher, Herman Arndt, Julius Schultz, Louis Brandt, Caspar Windus, Ernest Arndt, Christian Feige.

'By order of the assembly.

'[Seal.] E. C. LINDEN, Jr., Recording Sec'y.'

To this information the defendants interposd a demurrer, which was overruled. They united in requesting a trial by jury. That request was denied, and a trial was had before the court, without the intervention of a jury, and with the result already stated.

J. H. Ralston, for appellant.

Asst. Atty. Gen. Maury, for appellee.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 543-547 intentionally omitted] Mr. Justice HARLAN, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.

It is contended by the appellant that the constitution of the United States secured to him the right to be tried by a jury, and, that right having been denied, the police court was without jurisdiction to impose a fine upon him, or to order him to be imprisoned until such fine was paid. This precise question is now, for the first time, presented for determination by this court. If the appellant's position be sustained, it will follow that the statute (Rev. St. Dist. Col. § 1064) dispensing with a petit jury in prosecutions by information in the police court is inapplicable to cases like the present one. The third article of the constitution provides that 'the trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury, and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state the trial shall be at such place or places as the congress may by law have directed.' The fifte amendment provides that no person shall 'be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.' By the sixth amendment it is declared that 'in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.' The contention of the appellant is that the offense with which he is charged is a 'crime' within the meaning of the third article of the constitution, and that he was entitled to be tried by a jury; that his trial by the police court, without a jury, was not 'due process of law' within the meaning of the fifth amendment; and that, in any event, the prosecution against him was a 'criminal prosection,' in which he was entitled by the sixth amendment to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. The contention of the government is that the constitution does not require that the right of trial by jury shall be secured to the people of the District of Columbia; that the original provision, that when a crime was not committed within any state 'the trial shall be at such place or places as the congress may by law have directed,' had, probably, reference only to offenses committed on the high seas; that, in adopting the sixth amendment, the people of the states were solicitous about trial by jury in the states, and nowhere else, leaving it entirely to congress to declare in what way persons should be tried who might be accused of crime on the high seas, and in the District of Columbia, and in places to be thereafter ceded for the purposes, respectively, of a seat of government, forts, magazines, arsenals, and dock-yards; and, consequently, that that amendment should be deemed to have superseded so much of the third article of the constitution as relates to the trial of crimes by a jury.

Upon a careful examination of this position, we are of opin- ion that it cannot be sustained without violence to the letter and spirit of the constitution. The third article of the constitution provides for a jury in the trial of 'all crimes, except in cases of impeachment.' The word 'crime.' in its more extended sense, comprehends every violation of public law; in a limited sense, it embraces offenses of a serious or atrocious character. In our opinio, the provision is to be interpreted in the light of the principles which, at common law, determined whether the accused, in a given class of cases, was entitled to be tried by a jury. It is not to be construed as relating only to felonies or offenses punishable by confinement in the penitentiary. It embraces as well some classes of misdemeanors, the punishment of which involves or may involve the deprivation of the liberty of the citizen. It would be a narrow construction of the constitution to hold that no prosecution for a...

To continue reading

Request your trial
326 cases
  • Com. v. Mascolo
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • April 25, 1978
    ...their right to a trial by jury and chilled the exercise of their First Amendment rights. They rely upon Callan v. Wilson, 127 U.S. 540, 557, 8 S.Ct. 1301, 32 L.Ed. 223 (1888), and Kansas City v. Darby, 544 S.W.2d 529 (Mo.1976). The defendants' claim is defeated by Ludwig v. Massachusetts, 4......
  • Commonwealth v. Mayberry
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • October 16, 1974
    ...491 (1968). Cf. District of Columbia v. Clawans, 300 U.S. 617, 624--625, 57 S.Ct. 660, 661--662, 81 L.Ed. 843 (1937); Callan v. Wilson, 127 U.S. 540, 557, 8 S.Ct. 1301, 1307, 32 L.Ed. 223 (1888). No exception to this constitutional first principle is made for criminal contempt, direct or in......
  • In re Grogan, Crim. No. 3:96CR30-A.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • January 24, 1997
    ...86 S.Ct. 1523, 1525-26, 16 L.Ed.2d 629 (1966) (no right to trial by jury in prosecution for "petty offense"); Callan v. Wilson, 127 U.S. 540, 8 S.Ct. 1301, 32 L.Ed. 223 (1888); Schick v. United States, 195 U.S. 65, 24 S.Ct. 826, 49 L.Ed. 99 (1904); District of Columbia v. Clawans, 300 U.S. ......
  • Kelly v. United States
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • January 7, 1919
    ...... commit a crime is a different offense from the crime that. is the object of the conspiracy. Callan v. Wilson, . 127 U.S. 540, 555 (8 Sup.Ct. 1301, 32 L.Ed. 223); Clune. v. United States, 159 U.S. 590, 595 (16 Sup.Ct. 125,. 40 L.Ed. 269); ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 books & journal articles
  • The role of the clear and convincing standard of proof in right to die cases.
    • United States
    • Issues in Law & Medicine Vol. 8 No. 2, September 1992
    • September 22, 1992
    ...304 U.S. 458, 462 (1938); Thompson v. Utah, 170 U.S. 343,348 (1898); Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263, 287 (1892); Callan v. Wilson, 127 U.S. 540, 550 (1888); Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 370 (1886). Another fight that may be present is that of individuals to partake of family life......
  • Why (jury-less) Juvenile Courts Are Unconstitutional
    • United States
    • Emory University School of Law Emory Law Journal No. 69-2, 2019
    • Invalid date
    ...Trial Provision, Originalism, and the Problem of Motivated Reasoning, 52 Santa Clara L. Rev. 373, 383 (2012) (citing Callan v. Wilson, 127 U.S. 540, 549-50 (1888)). 172. See Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S 145 (1968).173. Patton v. United States, 281 U.S. 276, 288 (1930).174. Id. at 289.175. T......
  • Federalism and Equal Citizenship: The Constitutional Case for D.C. Statehood
    • United States
    • Georgetown Law Journal No. 110-6, June 2022
    • June 1, 2022
    ...was a citizenship-perfecting resolution. In the words of the House cession stripped them of these rights. . . .”); Callan v. Wilson, 127 U.S. 540, 550 (1888) (“There is nothing in the history of the Constitution or of the original amendments to justify the assertion that the people of this ......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT