Ex Parte Crow Dog

Decision Date17 December 1883
Citation27 L Ed. 1030,3 S. Ct. 396,109 U.S. 556
Parties<P><B><CENTER> <I>Ex parte</I> KAN-GI-SHUN-CA, (otherwise known as Crow</CENTER></B></P> <P><B><CENTER>Dog,) petitioner.<SUP>1</SUP></CENTER></B></P>
CourtU.S. Supreme Court
109 U.S. 556

3 S.Ct. 396

27 L.Ed. 1030

Ex parte KAN-GI-SHUN-CA, (otherwise known as Crow

Dog,) petitioner.1

December 17, 1883.

Walter H. Smith and A. J. Plowman, for petitioner.

Sol. Gen. Phillips, for respondent.


The petitioner is in the custody of the marshal of the United States for the territory of Dakota, imprisoned in the jail of Lawrence county, in the first judicial district of that territory, under sentence of death, adjudged against him by the district court for that district, to be carried into execution January 14, 1884. That judgment was rendered upon a conviction for the murder of an Indian of the Brule Sioux band of the Sioux nation of Indians, by the name of Sin-ta-ge-le-Scka, or in English, Spotted Tail, the prisoner also being an Indian of the same band and nation, and the homicide having occurred, as alleged in the indictment, in the Indian country, within a place and district of country under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States and within the said judicial district. The judgment was affirmed on a writ of error, by the supreme court of the territory. It is claimed on behalf of the prisoner that the crime charged against him, and of which he stands convicted, is not an offense under the laws of the United States; that the district court had no jurisdiction to try him, and that its judgment and sentence are void. It therefore prays for a writ of habeas corpus, that he may be delivered from an imprisonment which he asserts to be illegal. The indictment is framed upon section 5339 of the Revised Statutes. That section is found in title 70, on the subject of crimes against the United States, and in chapter 3, which treats of crimes arising within the maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. It provides that 'every person who commits murder, * * * within any fort, arsenal, dock-yard, magazine, or in any other place or district of country under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, * * * shall suffer death.' Title 28 of the Revised Statutes relates to Indians, and the sub-title of chapter 4 is, 'Government of Indian Country.' It embraces many provisions regulating the subject of intercourse and trade with the Indians in the Indian country, and imposes penalties and punishments for various violations of them. Section 2142 provides for the punishment of assaults with deadly weapons and intent, by Indians upon white persons, and by white persons upon Indians; section 2143, for the case of arson, in like cases; and section 2144 provides that 'the general laws of the United States defining and prescribing punishments for forgery and depredations upon the mails shall extend to the Indian country.' The next two sections are as follows:

'Sec. 2145. Except as to crimes, the punishment of which is expressly provided for in this title, the general laws of the United States as to the punishment of crimes committed in any place within the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, except the District of Columbia, shall extend to the Indian country.

'Sec. 2146. The preceding section shall not be construed to extend to [crimes committed by one Indian against the person or property of another Indian, nor to] any Indian committing any offense in the Indian country who has been punished by the local law of the tribe, or to any case where by treaty stipulations the exclusive jurisdiction over such offenses is or may be secured to the Indian tribes respectively.'

That part of section 2146 placed within brackets was in the act of twenty-seventh March, 1854, c. 26, § 3, (10 St. 270,) was omitted by the re isers in the original Revision, and restored by the act of eighteenth February, 1875, c. 80, (18 St. 318,) and now appears in the second edition of the Revised Statutes. It is assumed for the purposes of this opinion that the omission in the original Revision was inadvertent, and that the restoration evinces no other intent on the part of congress than that the provision should be considered as in force, without interruption, and not a new enactment of it for any other purpose than to correct the error of the Revision.

The district courts of the territory of Dakota are invested with the same jurisdiction in all cases arising under the laws of the United States as is vested in the circuit and district courts of the United States. Rev. St. §§ 1907-1910. The reservation of the Sioux Indians, lying within the exterior boundaries of the territory of Dakota, was defined by article 2 of the treaty concluded April 29, 1868, (15 St. 635,) and by section 1839 Rev. St., it is excepted out of and constitutes no part of that territory. The object of this exception is stated to be to exclude the jurisdiction of any state or territorial government over Indians within its exterior lines, without their consent, where their rights have been reserved and remain unextinguished by treaty. But the district courts of the territory having, by law, the jurisdiction of district and circuit courts of the United States, may, in that character, take cognizance of offenses against the laws of the United States, although committed within an Indian reservation, when the latter is situate within the space which is constituted by the authority of the territorial government the judicial district of such court. If the land reserved for the exclusive occupancy of Indians lies outside the exterior boundaries of any organized territorial government, it would require an act of congress to attach it to a judicial district, of which there are many instances, the latest being the act of January 6, 1883, by which a part of the Indian territory was attached to the district of Kansas and a part of the northern district of Texas. 22 St. 400. In the present case the Sioux reservation is within the geographical limits of the territory of Dakota, and being excepted out of it only in respect to the territorial government, the district court of that territory within the geographical boundaries of whose district it lies, may exercise jurisdiction under the laws of the United States over offenses made punishable by them, committed within its limits. U. S. v. Dawson, 15 How. 467; U. S. v. Jackalow, 1 Black, 484; U. S. v. Rogers, 4 How. 567; U. S. v. Alberty, Hemp. 444, opinion by Mr. Justice DANIEL; U. S. v. Starr, Id. 469; U. S. v. Ta-wan-ga-ca, Id. 304. The district court has two distinct jurisdictions. As a territorial court it administers the local law of the territorial government; as invested by act of congress with jurisdiction to administer the laws of the United States, in has all the authority of circuit and district courts; so that, in the former character, it may try a prisoner for murder committed in the territory proper, under the local law, which requires the jury to determine whether the punishment shall be death or imprisonment for life; (Laws Dak. 1883, c. 9;) and, in the other character, try another for a murder committed within the Indian reservation, under a law of the United States, which imposes, in case of conviction, the penalty of death.

Section 2145 of the Revised Statutes extends the general laws of the United States as to the punishment of crimes committed in any place within their sole and exclusive jurisdiction, except the District of Columbia, to the Indian country, and it becomes necessary, therefore, to inquire whether the locality of the homicide, for which the prisoner was convicted of murder, is within that description.

The first section of the Indian intercourse act of June 30, 1834, defines the Indian co ntry as follows:

'That all that part of the United States west of the Mississippi, and not within the states of Missouri and Louisana or the territory of Arkansas, and also that part of the United States east of the Mississippi river not within any state, to which the Indian title has not been extinguished, for the purposes of this act, be taken and be deemed to be the Indian country.'

Since the passage of that act great changes have taken place by the acquisition of new territory, by the creation of new states, and by the organization of territorial governments, and the Revised Statutes, while retaining the substance of many important provisions of the act of 1834, with amendments and additions since made regulating intercourse with the Indian tribes, has, nevertheless, omitted all definition of what now must be taken to be 'the Indian country.' Nevertheless, although the section of the act of 1834 containing the definition of that date has been repealed, it is not to be regarded as if it had never been adopted, but may be referred to in connection with the provisions of its original context which remain in force, and may be considered in connection with the changes which have taken place in our situation, with a view of determining from time to time what must be regarded as Indian country, where it is spoken of in the statutes. It is an admitted rule in the interpretation of statutes that clauses which have been repealed may still be considered in construing the provisions that remain in force. BRAMWELL, L. J. in Atty. Gen. v. Lamplough, 3 Exch. Div. 223-227; Hardc. St. 217; Savings Bank v. Collector, 3 Wall. 495-513; Com. v. Bailey, 13 Allen, 541. This rule was applied in reference to the very question now under consideration in Bates v. Clark, 95 U. S. 204, decided at the October term, 1877. It was said in that case by Mr. Justice MILLER, delivering the opinion of the court, that 'it follows from this that all the country described by the act of 1834 as Indian country remains Indian country so long as the Indians retain their original title to the soil, and ceases to be Indian country whenever they lose that title, in the absence of any different provision by treaty or by act of congress.' In our opinion that definition...

To continue reading

Request your trial
305 cases
  • People v. Superior Court of Riverside Cnty.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • July 28, 2022
    ...roots, the specific-over-general canon was referred to as the rule "generalia specialibus non derogant. " (Ex Parte Crow Dog (1883) 109 U.S. 556, 570, 3 S.Ct. 396, 27 L.Ed. 1030.) Common law cases explained that its reason is " ‘that the legislature having had its attention directed to a sp......
  • Chauncey v. Dyke Bros.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eighth Circuit
    • November 28, 1902
    ... ... ascertaining what is meant by like terms as sued in ... subsequent enactments. Ex parte Crow Dog, 109 U.S. 556, 3 ... Sup.Ct. 396, 27 L.Ed. 1030. And where, by certain clauses of ... a statute relating to the removal of cases to the ... ...
  • Radzanower v. Touche Ross Co
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 7, 1976
    ...a prior special statute, will ordinarily not affect the special provisions of such earlier statute"; Ex parte Crow Dog, 109 U.S. 556, 570-571, 3 S.Ct. 396, 405-06, 27 L.Ed. 1030, 1035-36. See also Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Products Corp., 353 U.S. 222, 77 S.Ct. 787, 1 L.Ed.2d 786; Ston......
  • United States v. John John v. Mississippi
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 23, 1978
    ...of June 30, 1834, 4 Stat. 729. But this definition was dropped in the compilation of the Revised Statutes. See Ex parte Crow Dog, 109 U.S. 556, 3 S.Ct. 396, 27 L.Ed. 1030 (1883). This Court was left with little choice but to continue to apply the principles established under the earlier sta......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
37 books & journal articles

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