People of the State of New York v. Neill, No. 53

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFRANKFURTER
Citation79 S.Ct. 564,359 U.S. 1,3 L.Ed.2d 585
PartiesPEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK Petitioner, v. Joseph C. O'NEILL
Docket NumberNo. 53
Decision Date02 March 1959

359 U.S. 1
79 S.Ct. 564
3 L.Ed.2d 585
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK Petitioner,

v.

Joseph C. O'NEILL.

No. 53.
Argued Nov. 20, 1958.
Decided March 2, 1959.

Mr. Reeves Bowen, Tallahassee, for petitioner.

Mr. L. J. Cushman, Miami, for respondent.

[Syllabus intentionally omitted]

Page 3

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case is before us to determine the constitutionality of a Florida statute entitled 'Uniform Law to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses from Within or Without a State in Criminal Proceedings.' Fla.Stat.1957, §§ 942.01—942.06, F.S.A. Respondent, a citizen of Illinois, had traveled to Florida to attend a convention. In accordance with the Florida statute, the Circuit Court of Dade County, Florida, responded to a certificate executed by a judge of the Court of General Sessions, New York County (under N.Y.Code Crim.Proc. § 618—a), by summoning respondent before it to determine whether he was to be given into the custody of New York authorities to be transported to New York to testify in a grand jury proceeding in that State. The Circuit Court, ruling that the Florida statute violated the Florida and the United States Constitutions, refused to grant New York's request. 9 Fla.Supp. 153. The Supreme Court of Florida affirmed this decision on the ground that the statute violated the United States Constitution. 100 So.2d 149. We granted certiorari, 365 U.S. 972, 78 S.Ct. 1137, 2 L.Ed.2d 1146, inasmuch as this holding brings into question the constitutionality of a statute now in force in forty-two States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. (Thirty-nine States and Puerto Rico joined in an amici brief in support of the Uniform Act.) The certificate filed with the Circuit Court of Dade County recites that respondent's testimony is desired by a New York County grand jury. That certificate is, under the terms of the statute, 'prima facie

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evidence of all the facts stated therein.' Fla.Stat., 1957, § 942.02(2), F.S.A. Therefore, on the face of the record, respondent's attendance at a grand jury investigation in New York is required by the certificate filed with the Florida court and not withdrawn from it. Neither party has suggested that this is not a live litigation nor do we find any ground for deeming the case to be moot.

The Uniform Act as enacted by the Florida Legislature in 1941 was formulated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in its present form in 1936. See Handbook of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws 333 (1936); 9 U.L.A. 91 (1957). The Uniform Act is reciprocal. It is operative only between States which have enacted it or similar legislation for compelling of witnesses to travel to, and testify in, sister States.

The terms of the statute make quite clear the procedures to be followed. The judge of the court of the requesting State files in any court of record in the State in which the witness may be found a certificate stating the necessity of the appearance of such witness in a criminal prosecution or grand jury investigation in the requesting State. The certificate must also state the number of days the witness would be required to attend. Upon receipt of such a certificate a hearing is held by the court in which it is filed. In the hearing, at which under the Florida Act the witness is entitled to counsel, the court which received this certificate is obliged to determine whether an order to attend the prosecution or grand jury investigation in the requesting State would comply with conditions set forth in the statute: that the witness is material and necessary; that the trip to the requesting State would not involve undue hardship to the witness; that the laws of the requesting State and States through which the witness must travel grant him immunity from arrest and the service of civil and criminal process. Fur-

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thermore, the statute provides that the witness must be tendered ten cents a mile for each mile to and from the requesting State and five dollars for each day that he is required to travel and attend as a witness. Under the statute the order of the forwarding State to the witness may take two forms: first, the court may issue a summons directing the witness to attend and testify in the requesting State; second, if the certificate of the requesting State so recommends, and if the recommendation is found to be desirable by the court of the forwarding State, the court may immediately deliver the witness to an officer of the requesting State. Furthermore, if such a recommendation is made by the requesting State, instead of the initial notification of hearing the court of the forwarding State may take the witness into immediate custody. Whether the procedure be by notification and then summons or by apprehension and then delivery, the hearing and the issues to be determined therein are the same.

In Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Dennison, 24 How. 66, 16 L.Ed. 717, Mr. Chief Justice Taney, speaking of the obligation imposed by the Constitution upon the Governor of Ohio to deliver to Kentucky one accused of violation of the criminal laws of Kentucky, called attention 'to the obvious policy and necessity of this provision to preserve harmony between States, and order and law within their respective borders * * *.' 24 How. at page 103. The same 'policy and necessity' underlie the measure adopted by Florida and forty-two other jurisdictions. Unless there is some provision in the United States Constitution which clearly prevents States from accomplishing this end by the means chosen, this Court must sustain the Uniform Act. The absence of a provision in the United States Constitution specifically granting power to the States to legislate respecting interstate rendition of witnesses presents no bar. To argue from the declaratory incor-

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poration in the Constitution, Art. IV, § 2, of the ancient political policy among the Colonies of delivering up fugitives from justice an implied denial of the right to fashion other cooperative arrangements for the effective administration of justice, is to reduce the Constitution to a rigid, detailed and niggardly code. In adjudging the validity of a statute effecting a new form of relationship between States, the search is not for a specific constitutional authorization for it. Rather, according the statute the full benefit of the presumption of constitutionality which is the postulate of constitutional adjudication, we must find clear incompatibility with the United States Constitution. The range of state power is not defined and delimited by an enumeration of legislative subject-matter. The Constitution did not purport to exhaust imagination and resourcefulness in devising fruitful interstate relationships. It is not to be construed to limit the variety of arrangements which are possible through the voluntary and cooperative actions of individual States with a view to increasing harmony within the federalism created by the Constitution. Far from being devisive, this legislation is a catalyst of cohesion. It is within the unrestricted area of action left to the States by the Constitution.

The Supreme Court of Florida found that the statute violated the Privileges and Immunities Clauses found in Art. IV, § 2, and in the Fourteenth Amendment. The Privileges and Immunities Clause of Art. IV, § 2, proscribes discrimination by a State against a citizen of another State. Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, 77, 21 L.Ed. 394. There is no such discrimination here. The Florida statute applies to all persons within the boundaries, and therefore subject to the jurisdiction, of Florida. The finding of the Florida Supreme Court that the right to ingress and egress is a privilege of national citizenship protected by the Fourteenth Amendment raises an issue that has more than once been stirred in opinions of this Court.

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See concurring opinions in Edwards v. People of State of California, 314 U.S. 160, 178 and 184, 62 S.Ct. 164, 169, and 171, 86 L.Ed. 119, in connection with Crandall v. State of Nevada, 6 Wall. 35, 18 L.Ed. 744. However, even if broad scope be given to such a privilege, there is no violation of that privilege by the Florida statute. Florida undoubtedly could have held respondent within Florida if he had been a material witness in a criminal proceeding within that State. And yet this would not have been less of a limitation on his claim of the right of ingress and egress than is an order to attend and testify in New York. There are restrictions on the exercise of the claimed constitutional right. One such restriction derives from the obligation to give testimony. This obligation has been sustained where it necessitated travel across the Atlantic Ocean. Blackmer v. United States, 284 U.S. 421, 52 S.Ct. 252, 76 L.Ed. 375.1

More fundamentally, this case does not involve freedom of travel in its essential sense. At most it represents a temporary interference with voluntary travel. Particularly is this so in an era of jet transportation when vast distances can be traversed in a matter of hours. Respondent was perfectly free to return to Florida after testifying in New York. Indeed, New York was obligated to pay his way back to Florida. Or, after testifying, he could return to Illinois or remain in New York. The

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privilege of ingress and egress among the States which has been urged in opinions is of hardier stuff. The privilege was to prevent the walling off of States, what has been called the Balkanization of the Nation. The requirement which respondent resists conduces, it merits repetition, toward a free-willed collaboration of independent States.

The more relevant challenge to the statute invalidated by the Supreme Court of Florida is that it denies due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Because of the generous protections to be accorded a person brought or summoned before...

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87 practice notes
  • Cuyler v. Adams, No. 78-1841
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • January 21, 1981
    ...legislation is as subject to the Compact Clause as other more formal interstate agreements. See ibid. (discussing New York v. O'Neill, 359 U.S. 1, 79 S.Ct. 564, 3 L.Ed.2d 585 (1959), a case involving the Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses); see also 434 U.S., at 491, 98 S.Ct.......
  • Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 1:16cv1307 (JCC/TCB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • May 30, 2017
    ...States with a view to increasing harmony within the federalism created by the Constitution." People of State of N.Y. v. O'Neill , 359 U.S. 1, 6, 79 S.Ct. 564, 3 L.Ed.2d 585 (1959).The Compact Clause serves as a limitation on state power. If, as Plaintiffs contend, the District is not a "sta......
  • Al-Kidd v. Ashcroft, No. 06-36059.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 4, 2009
    ...v. United States, 410 U.S. 578, 589-90, 93 S.Ct. 1157, 35 L.Ed.2d 508 (1973) (Fifth and Thirteenth Amendments); New York v. O'Neill, 359 U.S. 1, 6-7, 79 S.Ct. 564, 3 L.Ed.2d 585 (1959) (Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment). Dicta in two other cases suggest that the p......
  • U.S. v. Awadallah, Docket No. 02-1269.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • November 7, 2003
    ...of material witnesses for the purpose of securing grand jury testimony has withstood constitutional challenge. In New York v. O'Neill, 359 U.S. 1, 79 S.Ct. 564, 3 L.Ed.2d 585 (1959), the Supreme Court considered "the constitutionality of a Florida statute entitled `Uniform Law to Secure the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
87 cases
  • Cuyler v. Adams, No. 78-1841
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • January 21, 1981
    ...legislation is as subject to the Compact Clause as other more formal interstate agreements. See ibid. (discussing New York v. O'Neill, 359 U.S. 1, 79 S.Ct. 564, 3 L.Ed.2d 585 (1959), a case involving the Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses); see also 434 U.S., at 491, 98 S.Ct.......
  • Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 1:16cv1307 (JCC/TCB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • May 30, 2017
    ...States with a view to increasing harmony within the federalism created by the Constitution." People of State of N.Y. v. O'Neill , 359 U.S. 1, 6, 79 S.Ct. 564, 3 L.Ed.2d 585 (1959).The Compact Clause serves as a limitation on state power. If, as Plaintiffs contend, the District is not a "sta......
  • Al-Kidd v. Ashcroft, No. 06-36059.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 4, 2009
    ...v. United States, 410 U.S. 578, 589-90, 93 S.Ct. 1157, 35 L.Ed.2d 508 (1973) (Fifth and Thirteenth Amendments); New York v. O'Neill, 359 U.S. 1, 6-7, 79 S.Ct. 564, 3 L.Ed.2d 585 (1959) (Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment). Dicta in two other cases suggest that the p......
  • U.S. v. Awadallah, Docket No. 02-1269.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • November 7, 2003
    ...of material witnesses for the purpose of securing grand jury testimony has withstood constitutional challenge. In New York v. O'Neill, 359 U.S. 1, 79 S.Ct. 564, 3 L.Ed.2d 585 (1959), the Supreme Court considered "the constitutionality of a Florida statute entitled `Uniform Law to Secure the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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