In the Matter of Walter J. Gregory, Petitioner. riginal, No. 17

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHughes
Citation31 S.Ct. 143,55 L.Ed. 184,219 U.S. 210
Decision Date03 January 1911
Docket NumberO,No. 17
PartiesIN THE MATTER OF WALTER J. GREGORY, Petitioner. riginal

219 U.S. 210
31 S.Ct. 143
55 L.Ed. 184
IN THE MATTER OF WALTER J. GREGORY, Petitioner.
No. 17, Original.
Argued December 5, 1910.
Decided January 3, 1911.

Page 211

Messrs. John Hall Jones and W. Benton Crisp for petitioner.

[Argument of Counsel from page 211 intentionally omitted]

Page 212

Messrs. Edward H. Thomas, William Henry White, and Francis H. Stephens for respondent.

Mr. Justice Hughes delivered the opinion of the court:

This is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. By information filed in the police court of the District of Columbia, the petitioner was charged with engaging 'in

Page 213

the business of a gift enterprise,' in violation of § 1177 of the Revised Statutes relatin to the District of Columbia. Thereupon an agreed statement of facts was filed, by which it appeared that the petitioner, as the managing officer of the Sperry & Hutchinson Company, was conducting, within the District, its business of issuing and redeeming so-called 'trading stamps' in the particular manner set forth. It was stipulated that the statement should be considered as a part of the information, and the petitioner made a motion to quash. This motion was sustained and the petitioner was discharged. On writ of error, the court of appeals of the District of Columbia reversed the judgment of the police court, and ordered the cause to be remanded for further proceedings in conformity with its opinion. Aplication was made to this court for a writ of certiorari, which was refused. 218 U. S. 673, 54 L. ed. 1205, 31 Sup. Ct. 223. The petitioner was then arraigned in the police court, pleaded not guilty, and waived trial by jury; and the case was submitted to the court upon the agreed statement. Judgment of guilty was entered, and the petitioner was sentenced to pay a fine. He then obtained leave of this court to file the present petition.

The only question before us is whether the police court had jurisdiction. A habeas corpus proceeding cannot be made to perform the function of a writ of error, and we are not concerned with the question whether the information was sufficient, or whether the acts set forth in the agreed statement constituted a crime, that is to say, whether the court properly applied the law, if it be found that the court had jurisdiction to try the issues and to render the judgment. Ex parte Kearney, 7 Wheat. 38, 5 L. ed. 391; Ex parte Watkins, 3 Pet. 193, 7 L. ed. 650; Ex parte Parks, 93 U. S. 18, 23 L. ed. 787; Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U. S. 651, 28 L. ed. 274, 4 Sup. Ct. Rep. 152; Re Coy, 127 U. S. 731, 32 L. ed. 274, 8 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1263; Gonzales v. Cunningham, 164 U. S. 612, 41 L. ed. 572, 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 182; Re Eckart, 166 U. S. 481, 41 L. ed. 1085, 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 638; Storti v. Massachusetts, 183 U. S. 138, 46 L. ed. 121, 22 Sup. Ct. Rep. 72; Dimmick v. Tompkins, 194 U. S. 540, 48 L. ed. 1110.24 Sup. Ct. Rep. 780; Hyde v. Shine, 199 U. S.

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62, 83, 50 L. ed. 90, 97, 25 Sup. Ct. Rep. 760; Whitney v. Dick, 202 U. S. 132, 136, 50 L. ed. 963, 964, 26 Sup. Ct. Rep. 584; Kaizo v. Henry, 211 U. S. 146, 148, 53 L. ed. 125, 126, 29 Sup. Ct. Rep. 41, This rule has recently been applied in a case where it was contended in a habeas corpus proceeding that the record should be examined to determine whether there was any testimony to support the accusation. And this court, affirming the judgment which discharged the writ, said by Mr. Justice Day: 'The contention is that, in the respects pointed out, the testimony wholly fails to support the charge. The attack is thus not upon the jurisdiction and authority of the court to proceed to investigate and determine the truth of the charge, but upon the sufficieney of the evidence to show the guilt of the accused. This has never been held to be within the province of a writ of habeas corpus. Upon habeas corpus the court examines only the power and authority of the court to act, not the correctness of its conclusions.' Harlan v. McGourin, 218 U. S. 448, ante, 47, 31 Sup. Ct. Rep. 47.

We come, then, to the grounds upon which the jurisdiction of the police court is assailed. It is urged that the prohibition contained in the statute under which the information was brought is unconstitutional, in that it violates the 5th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States by depriving the petitioner of liberty and property without due process of law. The information rested on § 1177 of the Revised Statutes relating to the District of Columbia, which makes it a crime 'in any manner' to engage 'in any gift-enterprise business' in the District. If this section be read alone, no basis appears for the argument of invalidity. It cannot be said that the words 'gift-enterprise business' are so uncertain as to make the prohibition nugatory, or that they necessarliy include conduct which lies...

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89 practice notes
  • Calley v. Callaway, No. 74-3471
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 10, 1975
    ...to military habeas corpus cases, but extended also to criminal convictions in civil courts. Mr. Justice Hughes stated in In re Gregory, 219 U.S. 210, 31 S.Ct. 143, 55 L.Ed. 184 (1911) that "(t)he only question before us" in a habeas case is whether the court "had jurisdiction to try the iss......
  • Sunal v. Large Alexander v. United States Kulick, Nos. 535
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 23, 1947
    ...235 U.S. 219, 35 S.Ct. 54, 59 L.Ed. 203. Compare Glasgow v. Moyer, 225 U.S. 420, 32 S.Ct. 753, 56 L.Ed. 1147 with Matter of Gregory, 219 U.S. 210, 31 S.Ct. 143, 55 L.Ed. 184. See also In re Lincoln, 202 U.S. 178, 26 S.Ct. 602, 50 L.Ed. 984. (3) Violation by federal courts of specific consti......
  • United States v. Frady, No. 80-1595
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 5, 1982
    ...274, 63 S.Ct. 236, 239, 87 L.Ed. 268 (1942); Glasgow v. Moyer, 225 U.S. 420, 428, 32 S.Ct. 753, 755, 56 L.Ed. 1147 (1912); In re Gregory, 219 U.S. 210, 213, 31 S.Ct. 143, 55 L.Ed. 184 (1911). As we recently had occasion to explain: "When Congress enacted § 2255 in 1948, it simplified the pr......
  • Fireman v. U.S., Civil Action No. 97-12305-WGY.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • September 15, 1998
    ...habeas corpus to test the constitutionality of the statute that is the basis of the indictment or information. See, e.g., In Re Gregory, 219 U.S. 210, 31 S.Ct. 143, 55 L.Ed. 184 (1911); In Re Heff, 197 U.S. 488, 25 S.Ct. 506, 49 L.Ed. 848 (1905), rev'd on other grounds, United States v. Nic......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
89 cases
  • Calley v. Callaway, No. 74-3471
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 10, 1975
    ...to military habeas corpus cases, but extended also to criminal convictions in civil courts. Mr. Justice Hughes stated in In re Gregory, 219 U.S. 210, 31 S.Ct. 143, 55 L.Ed. 184 (1911) that "(t)he only question before us" in a habeas case is whether the court "had jurisdiction to try the iss......
  • Sunal v. Large Alexander v. United States Kulick, Nos. 535
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 23, 1947
    ...235 U.S. 219, 35 S.Ct. 54, 59 L.Ed. 203. Compare Glasgow v. Moyer, 225 U.S. 420, 32 S.Ct. 753, 56 L.Ed. 1147 with Matter of Gregory, 219 U.S. 210, 31 S.Ct. 143, 55 L.Ed. 184. See also In re Lincoln, 202 U.S. 178, 26 S.Ct. 602, 50 L.Ed. 984. (3) Violation by federal courts of specific consti......
  • United States v. Frady, No. 80-1595
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 5, 1982
    ...274, 63 S.Ct. 236, 239, 87 L.Ed. 268 (1942); Glasgow v. Moyer, 225 U.S. 420, 428, 32 S.Ct. 753, 755, 56 L.Ed. 1147 (1912); In re Gregory, 219 U.S. 210, 213, 31 S.Ct. 143, 55 L.Ed. 184 (1911). As we recently had occasion to explain: "When Congress enacted § 2255 in 1948, it simplified the pr......
  • Fireman v. U.S., Civil Action No. 97-12305-WGY.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • September 15, 1998
    ...habeas corpus to test the constitutionality of the statute that is the basis of the indictment or information. See, e.g., In Re Gregory, 219 U.S. 210, 31 S.Ct. 143, 55 L.Ed. 184 (1911); In Re Heff, 197 U.S. 488, 25 S.Ct. 506, 49 L.Ed. 848 (1905), rev'd on other grounds, United States v. Nic......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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