Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Caleb Powers In the Matter of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Commonwealth of Kentucky, Petitioner . riginal. No 393, Nos. 393

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHarlan
Citation26 S.Ct. 387,5 Ann. Cas. 692,50 L.Ed. 633,201 U.S. 1
Decision Date12 March 1906
Docket NumberO,15,Nos. 393
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY v. CALEB POWERS. Ex Parte: IN THE MATTER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, Petitioner . riginal. NO 393

201 U.S. 1
26 S.Ct. 387
50 L.Ed. 633
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY

v.

CALEB POWERS. Ex Parte: IN THE MATTER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, Petitioner.

Nos. 393, 15, Original.
NO 393 submitted January 22, 1906.
Decided March 12, 1906.
NO 15, Original, argued January 22, 1906.
Decided March 12, 1906.

Messrs. N. B. Hays and Lawrence Maxwell, Jr., for appellant in No. 393.

Page 2

These cases arise out of a criminal prosecution begun in one of the courts of Kentucky, and, after several trials, removed on the petition of the accused, Caleb Powers, into the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Kentucky.

The principal question to be determined is whether the prosecution was removable from the state court.

After referring to the indictment and to the transfer of the prosecution into the circuit court of the United States, the petition for removal alleged that the accused was within the jurisdiction of the United States and of the commonwealth of Kentucky; that he was, and all of his life had been, a citizen of the United States, and of that commonwealth, and as such citizen was entitled to enforce in the judicial tribunals of Kentucky,

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on the trial and final disposition of said prosecution, all equal civil rights and equal protection of laws secured to him by that part of the Amendment providing that 'no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.' [Art. 14, § 1.] He also claimed the rights secured by § 1977 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 1259), providing, 'all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every state and territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other;' as well as those secured by the act of Congress of March 1st, 1875. (18 Stat. at L. 335, chap. 114, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 1260), the preamble of which declares that: 'Whereas, it is essential to just government we recognize the equality of all men before the law, and hold that it is the duty of government in its dealings with the people to mete out equal and exact justice to all, of whatever nativity, race, color or persuasion, religious or political; and it being the appropriate object of legislation to enact great fundamental principles into law.'

The petition then refers to the arrest of the accused on the 9th of March, 1900, upon the charge of being an accessory before the fact to the wilful murder of Wiliam Goebel, and alleges that on the 10th of March, 1900, and prior to the finding and reporting of the indictment against the accused, 'William S. Taylor, who was then the duly and legally elected, qualified, actual, and acting governor of the state of Kentucky, and had in his actual possession and under his actual control the office and executive mansion prepared by said state for its governor, and all the books, papers, records, and archives belonging thereto, in due form of law duly and legally granted and delivered

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to your petitioner, and your petitioner, accepted from him, a full, complete, absolute, and unconditional pardon, release, and acquittance of the identical charge against him in said indictment, and the charge now pending in said prosecution against your petitioner in said Scott circuit court, and under which your petitioner is now in custody; that said Taylor, at the time he granted said pardon, had the right and authority, under the Constitution and the laws of Kentucky, to grant same; that your petitioner accepted said pardon, and from the time same was granted he claimed, and he now claims, the full benefit and effect thereof and his liberty thereunder. That on the day said pardon was granted him it was, by said Taylor, as governor aforesaid, duly entered on the executive journal kept in his office, and a certificate thereof was duly and in due form of law, and as required by law, issued and delivered to him, duly executed by said governor and the secretary of said state, and placed in your petitioner's possession, and same was by your petitioner accepted. Your petitioner further states that at the time the said pardon was granted to him by his Excellency, the said William S. Taylor, and subsequent thereto, the said William S. Taylor was, and prior thereto he had been recognized, regarded, and treated as the duly elected, actual, and acting governor of the state of Kentucky by the executive power and executive departments, of the United States government, including the President, the Attorney General, and the Postmaster General, and by the postmaster at Frankfort, Kentucky;' that 'for said state to hold him in custody, or to try or to require him to be tried in any one of its courts for the offense alleged against him in and by said indictment, since the granting and acceptance of said pardon and the issuance and acceptance of the certificate thereof, is a denial to him of the equal protection of the laws and the equal civil rights to which he is entitled under and as provided for in and by the portions of said amendment to the Constitution of the United States above copied, and by said section of said Revised Statutes, and by said act of Congress;' and, that 'notwithstanding the granting and acceptance

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of said pardon, the issuance and acceptance of said certificate, the fact that the said William S. Taylor was the governor of Kentucky when said pardon was granted and when said certificate was issued, and was then recognized as such governor by said executive officers of the United States, that he cannot enforce in the said Scott circuit court in which said prosecution is pending, or in that part of the state in which said Scott county is located, or in any court, judicial tribunal, or place of the said state, the equal civil rights and the equal protection of the laws secured to him by each and all of the three portions of said amendment copied above, and by said section of the Revised Statutes of the United States, and by said act of Congress for the reasons now set forth.'

The accused here refers to the three trials to which he was subjected, and after stating that he was confined in the county jail, without bail, and awaiting trial, proceeds in his petition: 'That at each of said trials your petitioner presented to said Scott circuit court said certificate of pardon, and pleaded and offered in evidence said pardon and said certificate as a bar and complete defense to said prosecution and the trial and conviction of your petitioner under said indictment, but at each of said trials the said trial court overruled said pleas and refused to admit said pardon and certificate as evidence, and held and adjudged that said pardon and certificate were null and void and of no effect whatever, and in each of said trials the said holding of the trial court in reference to said pardon and certificate was duly excepted to and made one of the grounds which was presented and on which a reversal was asked by said court of appeals on the trial of each on said appeals heretofore mentioned, and on each one of said appeals your petitioner conteded that said pardon and certificate entitled him to an acquittal of the charge contained in said indictment, but the said court of appeals, on the trial and final disposition of each one of said appeals, failed and refused to hold that said pardon and certificate authorized your petitioner's acquittance of said charge; instead, that court, as the said trial court had

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done, held that said pardon and certificate were and are null and void and of no effect whatever. The holding of said court of appeals on the trial of each of said appeals was reduced to writing, and each holding, as prepared and ordered by said court of appeals, has been, by the official reporter of that court, under the court's direction, caused to be printed in, and is now a part of, the official printed reports of said court, and all of said holdings are now in full force and effect as, and they in fact are, the laws of said state in this case, and are binding upon and will have to control this honorable court. That the instances named are the only instances in which said court of appeals or any trial court of said state ever held any pardon and certificate thereof, granted, entered, and issued by any governor of Kentucky, to be void and of no effect. That in consequence of the action and holdings of said trial court and said court of appeals, above stated, this honorable court, cannot, and should this case be retried in this honorable court, could not, allow your petitioner to plead or introduce said pardon and certificate as evidence as a defense to the said charges contained in said indictment against him, and could not allow your petitioner his liberty and acquittal under and by virtue of said pardon and certificate, or allow said pardon and certificate to have any effect whatever in your petitioner's behalf, but instead is and will be bound in consequence of said laws to hold said pardon and certificate null and void and of no effect whatever.'

In the second paragraph of his petition for removal the accused states that he is a citizen of the United States and of Kentucky, and as such is entitled to enforce in the judicial tribunals of the state the equal civil rights and the equal protection of the law secured to him by the above constitutional provisions and statutes.

His petition then alleges: 'But your...

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111 practice notes
  • Mass. Bldg. Trades Council v. United States Dep't of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Admin. (In re MCP No. 165, Occupational Safety & Health Admin.), 21-7000
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • December 17, 2021
    ...and motels impedes interstate travel"). That principle was at the heart of the Supreme Court's decision in NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel, 201 U.S. 1 (1927). There, the Court emphasized that to determine the Commerce Clause's applicability, we focus on the "effect upon commerce, not the sou......
  • Fisch v. General Motors Corporation, No. 10692
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 2, 1948
    ...Mayor v. Cooper, 6 Wall. 247, 252, 18 L.Ed. 851; Stevenson v. Fain, 195 U.S. 165, 167, 25 S.Ct. 6, 7, 49 L.Ed. 142; Kentucky v. Powers, 201 U.S. 1, 24, 26 S.Ct. 387, 393, 50 L.Ed. 633, 5 Ann.Cas. 692; Chicot County Drainage Dist. v. Baxter Bank, 308 U.S. 371, 376, 60 S.Ct. 317, 319, 84 L.Ed......
  • City of Greenwood, Mississippi v. Peacock Peacock v. City of Greenwood, Mississippi, Nos. 471
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 20, 1966
    ...line of this Court's decisions from Strauder v. State of West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, 25 L.Ed. 664, to Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Powers, 201 U.S. 1, 26 S.Ct. 387, 50 L.Ed. 633.26 Those cases all stand for at least one basic proposition: It is not enough to support removal under § 1443(1) ......
  • Chapman v. Houston Welfare Rights Organization Gonzalez v. Young, Nos. 77-719
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 14, 1979
    ...342 F.2d 255, 269, 271. See also Gibson v. Mississippi, 162 U.S. 565, 585-586, 16 S.Ct. 904, 905, 906, 40 L.Ed. 1075]; Kentucky v. Powers, 201 U.S. 1, 39-40, 26 S.Ct. 387, 399, 400, 50 L.Ed. 633]; City of Greenwood v. Peacock, post, [384 U.S. 808,] 825, 86 S.Ct. 1811, 16 L.Ed.2d 955.' Id., ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
111 cases
  • Mass. Bldg. Trades Council v. United States Dep't of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Admin. (In re MCP No. 165, Occupational Safety & Health Admin.), 21-7000
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • December 17, 2021
    ...and motels impedes interstate travel"). That principle was at the heart of the Supreme Court's decision in NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel, 201 U.S. 1 (1927). There, the Court emphasized that to determine the Commerce Clause's applicability, we focus on the "effect upon commerce, not the sou......
  • Fisch v. General Motors Corporation, No. 10692
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 2, 1948
    ...Mayor v. Cooper, 6 Wall. 247, 252, 18 L.Ed. 851; Stevenson v. Fain, 195 U.S. 165, 167, 25 S.Ct. 6, 7, 49 L.Ed. 142; Kentucky v. Powers, 201 U.S. 1, 24, 26 S.Ct. 387, 393, 50 L.Ed. 633, 5 Ann.Cas. 692; Chicot County Drainage Dist. v. Baxter Bank, 308 U.S. 371, 376, 60 S.Ct. 317, 319, 84 L.Ed......
  • City of Greenwood, Mississippi v. Peacock Peacock v. City of Greenwood, Mississippi, Nos. 471
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 20, 1966
    ...line of this Court's decisions from Strauder v. State of West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, 25 L.Ed. 664, to Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Powers, 201 U.S. 1, 26 S.Ct. 387, 50 L.Ed. 633.26 Those cases all stand for at least one basic proposition: It is not enough to support removal under § 1443(1) ......
  • Chapman v. Houston Welfare Rights Organization Gonzalez v. Young, Nos. 77-719
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 14, 1979
    ...342 F.2d 255, 269, 271. See also Gibson v. Mississippi, 162 U.S. 565, 585-586, 16 S.Ct. 904, 905, 906, 40 L.Ed. 1075]; Kentucky v. Powers, 201 U.S. 1, 39-40, 26 S.Ct. 387, 399, 400, 50 L.Ed. 633]; City of Greenwood v. Peacock, post, [384 U.S. 808,] 825, 86 S.Ct. 1811, 16 L.Ed.2d 955.' Id., ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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