Arrest and Release of Joe Smith - 1843
Sangamo Journal – January 12, 1843
This individual, as stated in our last paper,
was arrested in this city under the requisition of the Governor of Missouri,
charged, upon the affidavit of Ex-Governor Boggs, of having been accessory to an
attempt to take his life. Smith came up before the U. S. Circuit Court of this
State, Judge Pope presiding under a writ of habeas corpus -- and his own
counsel, Justice Butterfield, and B. S. Edwards, Esqr's., claimed that there was
no authority under the constitution or laws for delivering the prisoner over to
Missouri, -- it not having been alleged that Smith had been to Missouri, and had
fled from justice in that State -- the only contingency upon which he could be
ganded over to the authorities of Missouri. The arguments presented by the
counsel for Smith were conclusive. Mr. Lamborn appeared on behalf of the State,
and sustained the requisition of the Governor of Missouri, with his usual
ability. Judge Pope, on Thursday morning, delivered his opinion in the case, and
the prisoner was discharged.
In our next paper we shall publish that Opinion of Judge Pope -- which will be found to be a most able one, -- presenting all the facts and the law, so clearly that all who examine it will unite in those commendations which were bestowed upon it when delivered from the bench.
If then, Smith is guilty, how is he to be punished? -- By our own laws, if there be any applicable to the case. We have been long of the opinion that the requisition of Smith has been held over his head for sinister purpose: -- that there was no design on the part of the Governor or his friends to give him up to the authorities of Missouri, and for that reason do not regret that it has been disposed of.
We understand that another requisition will be made upon the Governor of this State for Joseph Smith, under the former indictments, which charge him with robbery, arson, treason, and murder. For this purpose the indictments referred to are to be reinstated. The requisitions will probably include many individuals. The affidavit under the last requisition was manifestly defective, but in this case, those concerned do not believe that any legal objection against the requisition can be made.
Quincy Herald – January 18, 1843
Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet -- his arrest -- his discharge.
Villainy and corruption in high places.
SPRINGFIELD, Jan. __ , 1843.
FRIEND PETTIT: -- I write for the purpose of detailing to you a most ridiculous judicial farce that has just come off in this city. All will recollect that Jo Smith was some time during the last summer demanded of the Governor of Illinois, by the Governor of Missouri, as an accessory before the fact of an attempted assassination to murder Gov. Boggs of the latter State. Gov. Carlin issued his warrant for Smith's arrest, and dispatched the proper officers in pursuit of the Godly Prophet. -- But Smith, unlike the prophets of olden time, feared to meet his accusers face to face. He seemed to believe that there was not as much reliance to be placed in the mighty arm of Omnipotence for his safety, as in the bushes and swamps about Nauvoo. He evaded the officers of justice, by secreting himself, sometimes, in the manner before hinted at, and sometimes, it is said, when hard pushed he took refuge beneath the "mustn't mentionables" of his Cleopatras of beauty. From that time until recently, Smith has been, God and Mormon only knows where; unless it be Butterfield, the U. S. District Attorney, and Pope the U. S. District Judge. Recently, however, the former gentleman, as it is said, writes to Smith that he can be discharged by coming to Springfield. Smith very soon appeared at the seat of government, and files a demand in the office of the Secretary of State to be arrested. The Governor issued his warrant for his apprehension -- the Sheriff took him into custody, and thereupon, Judge Pope, U. S. District Judge allowed a writ of habeas corpus -- the U. S. Marshall immediately took Smith before "His Honor," and after a sort of mock investigation, Smith was discharged. I have only time to give you the points in reference to this part of the face, and "Every tyro in law knows that the District Circuit Court of the State of Illinois has no jurisdiction in such cases, and no intelligent lawyer in Christendom will hold a contrary doctrine unless hired to do it.
2nd. If the U. S. District Court has jurisdiction, in such cases, then it became Butterfield's (the U. S. District Attorney) duty, and his imperative duty, to prosecute, instead of defending criminals in that court. Butterfield, however, acted as Smith's attorney, which fact when combined with the other facts in the case, can hardly lead to any other conclusion, than that Smith's discharge was effected by an arrangement with the U. S. District Attorney, in violation of his duty. I do not say that this was the case, but I do say that the facts warrant such a presumption.
3d. The grounds of the discharge were that the affidavit was informal and insufficient, and that Smith could not have been accessory while in this State, and that he was not in any way amenable to the laws of Missouri.
Gen. Law of the Nauvoo Legion brought Smith here and intended to claim the reward of Smith's attorney fee, (a glorious state of things) but was shamed out of it.
During Smith's trial Judge Pope sat upon the bench with three ladies upon each side of him. -- The smiles of these associate judges added very much to the solemnity of the proceedings. It is said that they were there, that the prophet might cast upon the "blessings of Jacob." Their attendance, however, was a compliment, I suppose, paid to the virtue of the Holy Prophet. And as they gazed upon his manly form, probably the power of imagination brought around them the fancie scenery of Nauvoo -- there was the Temple -- there was the Prophet's palace -- the was Jo and his Mormon virgins, of which rumor, with her thousand tongues; has said so much -- and there was his gilded apartments -- in which the midnight orgies of barbarous incantations were never heard -- and there the prophet perhaps humbly kneeling and praying as prayed the prophets of old, "mine enemies reproach me all the day long, and they are mad against me, swore against me," -- Anon, from the opposite side of the river comes a voice from the Missourians, "hungering and thirsting after wickedness" -- Hodie! Hidie! Carthage delendu!! Today, today, let Nauvoo be destroyed." Terror is depicted in the countenance of the prophet -- his virgins in alarm rush to him, and alternately cast their white arms around his neck, and exclaim, "thou are all that this poor heart can cling to." The prophet stands in silence -- at length he exclaims, "whither, oh, whither shall I fly? If I cast myself -- my pure and holy person upon the humanity of the Missourians, all is lost. If I should go there and weep over them, as the Saviour of the world wept over the proud city of Herod, my tears would fall upon their hearts like rain drops upon the burning ploughshare," At length a voice is heard from the mighty men of Springfield, saying --
"Here, here is your only hope.
"Come for pardon to the Pope!"
The Prophet arises and
sandals his feet for journeying. He arrives in Springfield and is there in
person arraigned before Judge Pope and the ladies. With such a field for the
imagination, how could the ladies resist sympathizing with the prophet, and
attending his trial. They are surely excusable.
To be serious, however, I truly believe that there never was a greater outrage committed on the law by judicial or ministerial officers, than that committed by the arrest and acquittal of Jo Smith. It is unparalleled in history of judicial proceedings, and will ever stand as a monument of disgrace to those concerned in the farce. If the people of one State can, by the aid of hirelings, assassinate, and attempt to murder those of another State, and there is no law to punish, where is the safety of the citizens? ALPHA.
Sangamo Journal – January 19, 1843
CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, FOR THE DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS.
December Term, A. D. 1842.
Before the Hon. Nathaniel Pope,
J. BUTTERFIELD AND
This case came before the Court upon a return to a writ of Habeas Corpus, which was issued by this Court on the 31st of December, 1842, upon a petition for a habeas corpus on the relation of Joseph Smith, setting forth that he was arrested and in custody of William F. Elkin, Sheriff of Sanagmon county, upon a warrant issued by the Governor of the State of Illinois, upon the requisition of the Governor of the State of Missouri, demanding him to be delivered up to the Governor of Missouri, as a fugitive from justice; that his arrest as aforesaid was under color of a law of the United States, and was without the authority of law in this, that he was not a fugitive from justice, nor had he fled from the State of Missouri.
Afterwards, on the same day, the Sheriff of Sangamon county returned upon the said habeas corpus, that he detained the said Joseph Smith in custody by virtue of a warrant issued by the Governor of the State of Illinois upon the requisition of the Governor of the State of Missouri, on the affidavit of Lilburn W. Boggs -- copies of the said affidavit, requisition and warrant were annexed to the said return in the words and figures following: --
State of Missouri, |
.................................. | s.s.
County of Jackson |
This day personally appeared before me, Samuel Weston, a Justice of the Peace within and for the county of Jackson, the subscriber, Lilburn W. Boggs, who being duly sworn, doth depose and say, that on the night of the sixth day of May, 1842, while sitting in his dwelling in the town of Independence, in the county of Jackson, he was shot with intent to kill, and that his life was despaired of for several days; and that he believes, and has good reason to believe from evidence and information now in his possession, that Joseph Smith, commonly called the Mormon Prophet, was accessary before the fact of the intended murder; and that the said Joseph Smith is a citizen or resident of the State of Illinois; and the said deponent hereby applies to the Governor of the State of Missouri to make a demand on the Governor of the State of Illinois, to deliver the said Joseph Smith, commonly called the Mormon Prophet, to some person authorized to receive and convey him to the State and county aforesaid, there to be dealt with according to law.
LILBURN W. BOGGS.
Sworn and subscribed before me, this 20th day of May [sic], 1842.
SAMUEL WESTON, J. P."
The Governor of the State of Missouri
To the Governor of the State of Illinois -- GREETING.
Whereas, it appears by the annexed document, which is hereby certified to be authentic, that one Joseph Smith is a fugutive from justice, charged with being accessary before the fact to an assault with intent to kill, made by one O. P. Rockwell, on Lilburn W. Boggs, in this State, and it is represented to the Executive department of this State, [was] fled to the State of Illinois:
Now, therefore, I, Thomas Reynolds, Governor of the said State of Missouri, by virtue of the authority in me vested by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do by these presents demand the surrender and delivery of the said Joseph Smith to Edward R. Ford, who is hereby appointed as the agent to receive the said Joseph Smith on the part of this State.
In testimony whereof," &c.
"The People of the State of Illinois, to the Sheriff of Sangamon County, GREETING.
Whereas, it has been made known to me by the Executive authority of the State of Missouri, that one Joseph Smith, stands charged by the affidavit of one Lilburn W. Boggs, made on the 20th day of July, 1842, at the county of Jackson, in the State of Missouri, before Samuel Weston, a Justice of the Peace, within and for the county of Jackson aforesaid, with being accessary before the fact to an assault with intent to kill, made by one O. P. Rockwell, on Lilburn W. Boggs, on the night of the 6th day of May, 1842, at the county of Jackson, in said State of Missouri, and that the said Joseph Smith has fled from the justice of said State, and taken refuge in the State of Illinois:
Now, therefore, I Thomas Ford, Governor of the State of Illinois, pursuant to the Constitution and laws of the United States, and of this State, do hereby command you to arrest and apprehend the said Joseph Smith, if he be found within the limits of the State aforesaid, and cause him to be safely kept and delivered to the custody of Edward R. Ford, who has been duly constituted the agent of the said State of Missouri, to receive said fugitive from the justice of the said State, he paying all fees and charges for the arrest and apprehension of said Joseph Smith, and make due return to the Executive Department of this State, the manner in which this writ may be executed.
In testimony whereof. &c.
The case was set for hearing on the [5th] day of January, 1843, on which day Josiah Lamborn. Attorney General of the State of Illinois appeared, and moved to dismiss the proceedings and filed the following objections to the justification of the Court, viz:
1st. The arrest and detention of Smith was not under or by color of authority of the United States, or of any officers of the United States, but under and by color of authority of the State of Illinois, by the officers of Illinois.
2d. When a fugitive from justice is arrested by authority of the Governor of any State, upon the requisition of the Governor of another State, the courts of justice, neither State or Federal, have any authority or jurisdiction to inquire into any facts behind the writ.
The counsel of the said Joseph Smith then offered to read in evidence affidavits of several persons, showing conclusively that the said Joseph Smith was at Nauvoo, in the County of Hancock and State of Illinois, on the whole of the 6th and 7th days of May, in the year 1842, and on the evenings of those days, more than three hundred miles distant from Jackson County, in the State of Missouri, where it is alleged that the said Boggs was shot, and that he had not been in the State of Missouri at any time between the 10th day of February and the first day of July, 1842, the said persons having been with him during the whole of that period. That on the 6th day of May aforesaid, he attended an officer's drill at Nauvoo aforesaid, in the presence of a large number of people, and on the 7th day of May aforesaid he reviewed the Nauvoo Legion in presence of many thousand people.
The reading of these affidavits was objected to by the Attorney General of the State of Illinois, on the ground that it was not competent for Smith to impeach or contradict the return to the habeas corpus. It was contended by the council of the said Smith, 1st. That he had a right to prove that the return was untrue. 2d, That the said affidavits did not contradict the said return, as there was no averment under oath in said return that said Smith was in Missouri at the time of the commission of the alleged crime or had fled from the justice of that State. The court decided that the said affidavits should be read in evidence, subject to all objections; and they were read accordingly.
The cause was argued by J. Butterfield and B. S. Edwards, for Smith, and by Josiah Lamborn, Attorney General of the State of Illinois, contra.
J. Butterfield, counsel for Smith, made the following points; --
1. The court has jurisdiction.
The requisition purports on its face to be made, and the warrant to be issued, under the Constitution and laws of the U. States, regulating the surrender of fugitives from justice. -- 2nd sec. 4th article Const. U. S. -- 1st sec. of the act of Congress of 12th Feb. 1793.
When a persons rights are invaded under a law of the United States he has no remedy except in the courts of the United States -- 51 sec. 3d article Const. U. S. -- 12th Wend. 323, -- 16 Peters 543.
The whole power in relation to the delivering up of fugitives from justice and labor, has been delegated to the United States, and Congress have regulated the manner and form in which it shall be exercised. The power is exclusive. The State Legislature have no right to interfer, and if they do, their acts are void. -- 2d and 3d clause of 2d sec. 4th article Const. U. S. -- 2d vol. laws U. S. 331. - 16 Peters 617-18, 623. -- 4th Wheaton's Rep. 122, 193-12 Wend. 312.
All courts of the United States are authorized to issue writs of Habeas Corpus when the prisoner is confined under or by color of authority of the United States -- Act of Congress of Sept. 24th. 1780, sec. 14, 2d condensed 33. -- 3d Cranch 447. -- 3d Peters 193.
2. The return to the Habeas Corpus is not certain and sufficient to warrant the arrest and transportation of Smith.
In all cases on Habeas Corpus previous to indictment, the court will look into the depositions before the Magistrate, and though the committment be full act in form, yet if the testimony prove no crime, the court will discharge ex parte. -- Taylor 5th, Cowan 50.
The affidavit of Boggs does not show that Smith was charged with any crime comitted by him in Missouri, nor that he was a fugitive from justice.
If the committment be for a matter for which by law the prisoner is not liable to be punished, the court must discharge him. -- 3. Bac. 431.
The Executive of this State has no jurisdiction over the person of Smith to transport him to Missouri, unless he has fled from that State.
3. The prisoner has a right to prove facts not repugnant to the return, and even to go behind the return and contradict it, unless committed under a judgment of a court of competant jurisdiction. -- 3d. Bacon 435, 438. -- 3d. Peters 202 -- Gale's Rev. Laws of Ills. 323.
The testimony introduced by Smith at the hearing, showing conclusively that he was not a fugitive from justice, is not repugnant to the return.
J. Lamborn. Attorney General of the State of Illinois, in support of the points made by him, cited 2d Condensed Rep. 37; Gordon's Digest, 73; Gale's Statutes of Illinois 318; Conkling 85; 9th Wendall 212.
And afterwards, on the 5th day of January, 1843, Judge Pope delivered the following
O P I N I O N:
The importance of this case, and the
consequences which may flow from an erroneous precedent, effecting the lives and
liberties of our citizens, have impelled the Court to bestow upon it the most
anxious consideration. The able arguments of the Counsel for the respective
parties, have been of great assistance in the examination of the important
question arising in this case.
When the patriots and wise men who framed our constitution were in anxious deliberation to form a perfect union among the States of the confederacy, two great sources of discord presented themselves to their consideration: the commerce between the States and fugitives from justice and labor. The border collisions in other countries had been seen to be a fruitful source of war and bloodshed, and most wisely did the Constitution confer upon the National Government the regulation of these matters, because of its exemption from the excited passions awakened by conflicts between neighboring States, and its ability alone to adopt a uniform rule, and establish uniform laws among all the States in those cases.
This case presents the important question arising under the constitution and laws of the State of Illinois can be transported from his own State to the State of Missouri, to be there tried for a crime, which if he ever committed, was committed in the State of Illinois; whether he can be transported to Missouri, as a fugitive from justice, when he has never fled from that State.
Joseph Smith is before the Court, on habeas corpus, directed to the Sheriff of Sangamon county, State of Illinois. The return shows that he is in custody under a warrant from the Executive of Illinois, professedly issued in purusance of the Constitution and laws of the United States, and of the State of Illinois, ordering said Smith to be delivered to the agent of the Executive of Missouri, who had demanded him as a fugutive from justice, under the 2d section, 4th article, of the Constitution of the United States, and the act of Congress passed to carry into effect that article. The article is in these words, viz: "A person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other crime who shall flee from justice and be found in another State, shall on demand of the Executive authority of the State, from which he fled, be delivered up to be removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime," -- The act of Congress made to carry into effect this article, directs that the demand be made on the Executive of the State where the offender is found, and proscribes the proof to support the demand, viz:
Indictment or affidavit.
The Court is respectful to inform the Governor and Attorney General of the State of Illinois, of the action upon the on the day appointed for the hearing, the Attorney General of the State of Ilinois appeared and denied the jurisdiction of the court to grant the
1st. Because the warrant was not issued under color or by authority of the United States, but by the State of Illinois.
2d. Because no can issue in this case from either the Federal or State Courts, to inquire into the facts behind the writ. In support of the first point, a law of Illinois was read, declaring that whenever the Executive of any other State shall demand of the Executive of this State, any person, as a fugutive from justice, and shall have complied with the requisition of the act of Congress in that case made and provided, it shall be the duty of the Executive of this State to issue his warrant to apprehend the said fugitive, &c. It would seem that this act does not purport to confer any additional power upon the Executive of this State, independent of the power conferred by the Constitution and laws of the United States, but to make it the duty of the Executive to obey and carry into effect the act of Congress. The warrant on its face, purports to be issued in pursuance of the constitution and laws of the United States, as well as of the State of Illinois. To maintain the position that this warrant was not issued under color, or by authority of the laws of the United States, it must be proved that the United States could not confer the power on the Executive of Illinois. Because, if Congress could and did confer it, an act of Illinois could take it away, for the reason that the Constitution and Laws of the United States passed in pursuance of it, and treaties are the Supreme law of the land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the contrary not withstanding. This is enough to dispose of that point. If the Legislature of Illinois, as is probable, intended to make it the duty of the Governor to execute the power granted by Congress and no more, the Executive would be acting by authority of the United States. It may be that the Legislature of Illinois, appreciating the importance of the proper execution of those laws, and doubting whether to carry them into effect, deemed it prudent to impose it as a duty, the neglect of which would expose him to impeachment. If it intended more, the law is unconstitutional and void, 16 Peters 617, Prigg vs. Pennsylvania.
In supporting the second point the Attorney General seemed to urge that there was greater sanctity in a warrant issued by the Governor than by an inferior officer. The court cannot assent to this distinction. This is a Government of Laws, which describes a rule of action, as obligatory upon the Governor as upon the most obscure officer. The character and purposes of the habeas corpus aregreatly misunderstood by those who suppose that it does not review the acts of an Executive Functionary; all who are familiar with English history must know that it was extorted from an arbitary monarch and that it was hailed as a second Magna Charta, and that it was to protect the subject from arbitary imprisonment by the King and his minions which brought into existance that great Palladium of liberty in the latter part of the reign of Charles the Second. It was indeed a magnificent achievement over arbitrary power. Magna Charta established the principles of liberty; the Habeas Corpus protected them. It matters not how great or obscure the prison keeper, this magnificent writ, wielded by an independent Judge, reaches all. It penetrates, alike the Royal Towers and the local prisons, from the garret to the secret recesses of the dungeon. All doors fly open at its command, and the shackles fall from the limbs of prisoners of State as readily as from those committed by subordinate officers. The warrant of the King and his secretary of State could claim no more exemption from that searching enquiry, "The cause of his caption and detention," than a warrant granted by a justice of the peace. It is contended that the United States, is a government of granted powers, and that no Department of it can exercise powers not granted. This is true. But the grant is to be found in the 24 section of the 3d article of the Constitution of the United States. 'The Judicial power shall extend to all cases in law or equity, arising under the Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made and which shall be made under their authority."
The matter under consideration presents a case arising under the 2d section 4th article of the Constitution of the United States, and the act of Congress of February 12th 1793, to carry it into effect. The Judiciary act of 1789 confers on this Court (indeed on all the courts of the United States,) power too issue the writ of Habeas Corpus, when a person is confined "under color of or by the authority of the United States." Smith is in custody under color of, and by authority of the 21 sec. 4th art. of the Constitution of the U. States. As to the instrument employed or authorized to carry into effect that article of the Constitution (as he derives from it the authority to issue the warrant,) he must be regarded as acting by the authority of the U. States. The power is not official in the Governor. but personal. It might have been granted to any one else by name, but considerations of convenience and policy recommended the selection of the Executive, who never dies. The citizens of the States are citizens of the U. States; hence the U. States are as much bound to afford them protection in their sphere, as the States in their's.
This court has jurisdiction. Whether the State Courts have jurisdiction or not, this court is not called upon to decide.
The return of the Sheriff shows that he has arrested and now holds in custody Joseph Smith, in virtue of a warrant issued by the Governor of Illinois, under the 2d section of the 4th article of the Constitution of the United States, relative to fugitives from justice, and the act of Congress passed to carry it into effect. The article of the Constitution does not designate the person upon whom the demand for the fugitive shall be made; nor does it prescribe the proof upon which he shall act. But Congress has done so. The proof is "an indictment or affidavit," to be certified by the Governor demanding.
The return brings before the Court the warrant, the demand and the affidavit. The material part of the latter is in these words, viz: -- "Lilburn W. Boggs, who being duly sworn, doth depose and say, that on the night of the sixth day of May, 1842, while sitting in his dwelling in the town of Independence, in the county of Jackson, he was shot with intent to kill, and that his life was despaired of for several days; and that he believes and has good reason to believe from evidence and information now in his possession, that Joseph Smith, commonly called the Mormon Prophet, was accessory before the fact of the intended murder; and that the said Joseph Smith is a citizen or resident of the State of Illinois." This affidavit is certified by the Governor of Missouri to be authentic. The affidavit being thus verified, furnished the only evidence upon which the Governor of Illinois could act. Smith presented affidavits proving that he was not in Missouri at the date of the shooting of Boggs. This testimony was objected to by the Attorney General of Illinois, on the ground that the court could not look behind the return. The court deems it unnecessary to decide that point, inasmuch as it thinks Smith entitled to his discharge for defect in the affidavit. To authorize the arrest in this case the affidavit should have stated distinctly, 1st, That Smith had committed a crime. 2d, That he committed it in Missouri.
It must appear that he fled from Missouri to authorize the Governor of Missouri to demand him, as none other than the Governor of the State from which he fled can make the demand. He could not have fled from justice, unless he committed a crime, which does not appear. It must appear that the crime was committed in Missouri to warrant the Governor of Illinois in ordering him to be sent to Missouri for trial. The 2d section, 4th article, declares he "shall be removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime."
As it is not charged that the crime was committed by Smith in Missouri, the Governor of Illinois could not cause him to be removed to that State, unless it can be maintained that the State of Missouri can entertain jurisdiction of crimes committed in other States. The affirmative of this proposition was taken in the argument with a zeal indicating sincerity. But no adjudged case or dictum was adduced in support of it. The court conceives that none can be. Let it be tested by principle.
Man in a state of nature is a sovereign, with all the prerogatives of King, Lords, and Commons. He may declare war and make peace, and as nations often do who "feel power and forget right," -- may oppress, rob, and subjugate his weaker and unoffending neighbors. He unites in his person the legislative, judicial, and executive power -- "can do no wrong," because there is none to hold him to account. But when he unites himself with a community, he lays down all the prerogatives of a sovereign (except self-defense) and becomes a subject. He owes obedience to its laws and the judgments of its tribunals, which he is supposed to have participated in establishing, either directly or indirectly. He surrenders also the right of self-redress. In consideration of all which, he is entitled to the ¾gis of that community to defend him from wrongs. He takes upon himself no allegiance to any other community, so owes it no obedience, and therefore cannot disobey it. None other than his own sovereign can prescribe a rule of action to him. Each sovereign regulates the conduct of its subjects, and they may be punished upon the assumption that they know the rule and have consented to be governed by it. It would be a gross violation of the social compact if the State were to deliver up one of its citizens to be tried and punished by a foreign State, to which he owes no allegiance, and whose laws were never binding on him. No State can or will do it.
In the absence of the constitutional provision, the State of Missouri would stand on this subject in the same relation to the State of Illinois that Spain does to England. In this particular the States are independent of each other. A criminal, fugitive from the one State to the other, could not be claimed as of right to be given up. It is most true as mentioned by writers on the laws of nations that every State is responsible to its neighbors for the conduct of its citizens so far as their conduct violates the principles of good neighborhood. So it is among private individuals. But for this, the inviolability of territory, or private dwelling, could not be maintained. This obligation creates the right, and makes it the duty of the State to impose such restraints upon the citizen as the occasion demands. It was in the performance of this duty that the United States passed laws to restrain citizens of the United States from setting on foot and fitting out military expeditions against their neighbors. While the violators of this law kept themselves within the United States, their conduct was cognizable in the courts of the United States, and not of the offended state, even if the means provided had assisted in the invasion of the foreign state. A demand by the injured state upon the United States for the offenders, whose operations were in their own country, would be answered, that the United States' laws alone could act upon them, and that as a good neighbor it would punish them.
It is the duty of the State of Illinois, to make it criminal in one of its citizens to aid, abet, counsel, or advise, any person to commit a crime in her sister State, -- any one violating the law would be amenable to the laws of Illinois, executed by its own tribunals. Those of Missouri could have no agency in his conviction and punishment. -- But if he shall go into Missouri, he owes obedience to her laws, and is liable before her courts, to be tried and punished for any crime he may commit there, and a plea that he was a citizen of another State, would not avail him. If he escape, he may be surrendered to Missouri for trial. But when the offense is perpetrated in Illinois, the only right of Missouri is, to insist that Illinois compel her citizens to forbear to annoy her. This she has a right to expect; for the neglect of it nations go to war and violate territory.
The court must hold that where a necessary fact is not stated in the affidavit, it does not exist. It is not averred that Smith was accessory before the fact, in the State of Missouri, nor that he committed a crime in Missouri; therefore he did not commit the crime in Missouri,-did not flee from Missouri to avoid punishment.
Again, the affidavit charges the shooting on the 6th of May in the County of Jackson and State of Missouri, "that he believes and has good reason to believe, from evidence and information now (then) in his possession, that Joseph Smith was accessory before the fact, and is a resident or citizen of Illinois." There are several objections to this. Mr. Boggs having the "evidence and information in his possession," should have incorporated it in the affidavit to enable the court to judge of their sufficiency to support his "belief." Again, he swears to a legal conclusion when he says that Smith was accessory before the fact. What acts constitute a man an accessory in a question of law are not always of easy solution. Mr. Boggs' opinion, then, is not authority. He should have given the facts. He should have shown that they were committed in Missouri, to enable the court to test them by the laws of Missouri, to see if they amounted to a crime. Again, the affidavit is fatally defective in this, that Boggs swears to his belief.
The language in the Constitution is "charged with felony, or other crime." Is the Constitution satisfied with a charge upon suspicion? It is to be regretted that no American adjudged case has been cited to guide the court in expounding this article. Language is ever interpreted by the subject matter. If the object were to arrest a man near home, and there were fears of escape if the movement to detain him for examination were known, the word charged might warrant the issuing of a capias on suspicion. Rudyard (reported in Skin. 676) was committed to Newgate for refusing to give bail for his good behavior, and was brought before the Common Pleas on habeas corpus. The return was, that he had been complained of for exciting the subjects to disobedience of the laws against seditious conventicles, and upon examinations they found cause to suspect him. Vaughn, Chief Justice Tyrrell and Archer against Wild held the return insufficient; 1st, because it did not appear but that he might abet frequenters of conventicles in the way the law allows. 2d, To say that he was complained of or was examined, is no proof of his guilt. And then to say that he had cause to suspect him is too cautious; for who can tell what they count a cause of suspicion, and how can that ever be tried? At this rate they would have arbitrary power upon their own allegation, to commit whom they pleased.
From this case it appears that suspicion does not warrant a commitment, and that all legal intendments are to avail the prisoner. That the return is to be most strictly construed in favor of liberty. If suspicion in the foregoing case did not warrant a commitment in London by its officers, of a citizen of London, might not the objection be urged with greater force against a commitment of a citizen of our State to be transported to another on suspicion? No case can arise demanding a more searching scrutiny into the evidence than in cases arising under this part of the Constitution of the United States. It is proposed to deprive a freeman of his liberty; to deliver him into the custody of strangers, to be transported to a foreign State, to be arraigned for trial before a foreign tribunal, governed by laws unknown to him; separated from his friends, his family, and his witnesses, unknown and unknowing. Had he an immaculate character, it would not avail him with strangers. Such a spectacle is appalling enough to challenge the strictest analysis.
The framers of the Constitution were not insensible of the importance of courts possessing the confidence of the parties. They therefore provided that citizens of different States might resort to the federal courts in civil causes. How much more important that the criminal have confidence in his judge and jury? Therefore before the capias is issued, the officers should see that the case is made out to warrant it.
Again, Boggs was shot on the 6th of May. The affidavit was made on the 20th of July following. Here was time for inquiry, which would confirm into certainty or dissipate his suspicions. He had time to collect facts to be had before a grand jury or be incorporated in his affidavit. The court is bound to assume that this would have been the course of Mr. Boggs, but that his suspicions were light and unsatisfactory.
The affidavit is insufficient: 1, Because it is not positive. 2, Because it charges no crime. 3, It charges no crime committed in the State of Missouri. Therefore he did not flee from the justice of the State of Missouri, nor has he taken refuge in the State of Illinois.
The proceedings in this affair from the affidavit to the arrest affords a lesson to governors and judges whose action may hereafter be invoked in cases of this character.
The affidavit simply says that the affiant was shot with intent to kill, and he believes that Smith was accessory before the fact to the intended murder, and is a citizen or resident of the State of Illinois. It is not said who shot him, or that the person was unknown.
The Governor of Missouri in his demand calls Smith a fugitive from justice, charged with being accessory before the fact to an assault with intent to kill, made by one O. P. Rockwell, on Lilburn W. Boggs, in this state (Missouri). This Governor expressly refers to the affidavit as his authority for that statement. Boggs in his affidavit does not call Smith a fugitive from justice, nor does he state a fact from which the Governor had a right to infer it. Neither does the name of O. P. Rockwell appear in the affidavit, nor does Boggs say Smith fled. Yet the Governor says he [was] fled to the State of Illinois. But Boggs only says he is a citizen or resident of the State of Illinois.
The Governor of Illinois responding to the demand of the Executive of Missouri, for the arrest of Smith, issues his warrant for the arrest of Smith, reciting that "whereas Joseph Smith stands charged by the affidavit of Lilburn W. Boggs with being accessory before the fact to an assault with intent to kill, made by one O. P. Rockwell on Lilburn W. Boggs, on the night of the 6th day of May, 1842, at the county of Jackson, in said State of Missouri, and that the said Joseph Smith has fled from the justice of said State, and taken refuge in the State of Illinois.
Those facts do not appear by the affidavit of Boggs. On the contrary, it does not assert that Smith was accessory to O. P. Rockwell; nor that he had fled from the justice of the State of Missouri, and taken refuge in the State of Illinois.
The Court can alone regard the facts set forth in the affidavit of Boggs, as having any legal existence. The misrecitals and over-statements in the requisition and warrant are not supported by oath, and cannot be received as evidence to deprive a citizen of his liberty, and transport him to a foreign State for trial. For these reasons Smith must be discharged.
At the request of J. Butterfield, counsel for Smith, it is proper to state in justice to the present Executive of the State of Illinois, Governor Ford, that it was admitted on the argument that the warrant which originally issued upon the said requisition was issued by his predecessor; that when Smith came to Springfield to surrender himself upon that warrant, it was in the hands of the person to whom it had been issued at Quincy in this State; and that the present warrant, which is a copy of the former one, was issued at the request of Smith, to enable him to test its legality by writ of Habeas Corpus.
Let an order be entered that Smith be discharged from his arrest.
The Opinion of Judge Pope, on the case of Joe Smith, brought up on a writ of habeas corpus before the Circuit Court, is given on the soundness of this opinion.
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