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EX PARTE YARBROUGH, 110 U. S. 651 (1884)

U.S. Supreme Court

Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U.S. 651 (1884)

Ex parte Yarbrough

Argued January 23, 24, 1884

Decided March 3, 1884

110 U.S. 651


This Court has no general authority to review on error or appeal the judgments of Circuit Courts in cases within their criminal jurisdiction.

When a prisoner is held under sentence of a court of the United States in a matter wholly beyond the jurisdiction of that court, it is within the authority of the Supreme Court, when the matter is properly brought to its attention, to inquire into it, and to discharge the prisoner if it be found that the matter was not within the jurisdiction of the court below.

Errors of law committed by a Circuit Court which passed sentence upon a prisoner cannot be inquired into in a proceeding on an application for habeas corps to test the jurisdiction of the court which passed sentence.

An indictment which charges in the first count that the defendants conspired to intimidate A.B., a citizen of African descent, in the exercise of his right to vote for a member of the Congress of the United States, and that, in the execution of that conspiracy, they beat, bruised, wounded, and otherwise

Page 110 U. S. 652

maltreated him, and, in the second count, that they did this on account of his race, color, and previous condition of servitude, by going in disguise and assaulting him on the public highway and on his own premises, contains a sufficient description of an offence embraced within the provisions of §§ 5508, 5520 Rev.Stat.

In construing the Constitution of the United States, the doctrine that what is implied is as much a part of the instrument as what is expressed is a necessity by reason of the inherent inability to put all derivative powers into words.

§ 4 of article I of the Constitution, which declares that

"[t]he times, places, and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature thereof, but the Congress may at any time make or alter such regulation, except as to the place of choosing senators,"

adopts the State qualification as the federal qualification for the voter; but his right to vote is based upon the Constitution, and not upon the state law, and Congress has the constitutional power to pass laws for the free, pure and safe exercise of this right.

Although it is true that the Fifteenth Amendment gives no affirmative right to the negro to vote, yet there are cases, some of which are stated by the Court, in which it substantially confers that right upon him. United States v. Reese, 92 U. S. 214, qualified and explained.

Petition for a writ of habeas corpus for the release of several persons convicted, sentenced and imprisoned for conspiracy to intimidate a person of African descent from voting at an election for a member of Congress. The facts making the case appear in the opinion of the court.

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