Quince v. Langlois, s. 1280

Citation149 A.2d 349,88 R.I. 438
Decision Date20 March 1959
Docket Number1281,Nos. 1280,s. 1280
PartiesGeneral QUINCE v. Harold V. LANGLOIS, Acting Warden. Titus WARD v. Harold V. LANGLOIS, Acting Warden. M. P.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island

Michaelson & Stanzler, Milton Stanzler, Ralph P. Semonoff, Providence, for petitioners.

Aram K. Berberian, Providence, amicus curiae.

J. Joseph Nugent, Jr., Atty. Gen., Edward F. J. Dwyer, Asst. Atty. Gen., for respondent.

FROST, Justice.

These are two petitions for writs of habeas corpus. The questions raised therein are questions of law and are the same in each case. Writs were ordered to issue and were made returnable on March 4, 1959, at which time the petitioners were heard through their counsel. The respondent was represented by an assistant attorney general. Aram K. Berberian as amicus curiae was given permission to file a brief.

It appears from the petitions and the affidavits attached thereto that in September 1958 General Quince, of Baltimore, Maryland, and Titus Ward, of New Orleans, Louisiana, came to the Hollis Chase farm in West Kingstown in this state to work for a period of about three months; that these petitioners were arrested as witnesses to a crime alleged to have been committed by Harry Robinson in the town of South Kingstown on October 17, 1958; that they were held without charge for approximately two days; that on October 19 they were brought before the district court of the third judicial district in the town of Westerly at which time the court was asked to hold them as witnesses; that bail was set for each petitioner at $5,000 which neither was able to raise; that there was no inquiry as to whether they were material witnesses, nor was either one asked whether he planned to leave Rhode Island; that neither was asked any questions; and that in default of bail they were committed to the adult correctional institution as witnesses to the commission of a crime. It appears also that Harry Robinson was bound over to the grand jury on a charge of murder, and that thereafter an indictment for manslaughter was returned against him.

As reasons for seeking writs of habeas corpus petitioners assert that at the time of commitment there was no hearing; that the bail fixed was excessive; that the length of their detention was unreasonable; and that no opportunity was given to obtain counsel.

For the reasons stated, petitioners contend that they have been deprived of their liberty without due process of law in violation of the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States and in violation of art. 1, secs. 8, 10 and 14, of the constitution of Rhode Island. They contend further that General Laws 1956, §§ 12-13-12 and 13, are unconstitutional in that they are in violation of the constitution of the United States and the constitution of Rhode Island.

The sections of the statute under which the petitioners were held as witnesses read as follows:

§ 12-13-12: 'Whenever any person charged with any crime or offense, not within the jurisdiction of a district court to try and determine, shall be recognized or committed for trial at the superior court by any district court, such district court, at any time before the grand jury shall make its report or presentment regarding the person so charged, may bind by recognizance, with or without surety, such witnesses as it shall deem material, to appear and testify at the higher court, in case it shall deem it necessary to insure the attendance of such witnesses.'

§ 12-16-13: 'Every witness who shall refuse to comply with the order of a district court...

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2 cases
  • Genereux v. Pelosi
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • 16 Julio 1963
    ...to provide such a hearing constituted a denial to him of due process of law. In support of such contention he cites Quince v. Langlois, 88 R.I. 438, 149 A.2d 349, where we held that a statute authorizing the district court to bind by recognizance, with or without security, 'such witnesses a......
  • Quince v. State, s. 10306 and 10307
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • 2 Abril 1962
    ...Thereafter on his petition for habeas corpus we found that he had been illegally committed and ordered his discharge. See Quince v. Langlois, 88 R.I. 438, 149 A.2d 349. The record discloses that at his apprehension he was handcuffed, fingerprinted and photographed and thereafter confined wi......

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