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MCKNIGHT V. JAMES, 155 U. S. 685 (1895)

U.S. Supreme Court

McKnight v. James, 155 U.S. 685 (1895)

McKnight v. James

No. 841

Argued and submitted December 19, 1994

Decided January 14, 1895

155 U.S. 685


A writ of error will not go from this Court to an order of a judge of a circuit court of a state, made at chambers, remanding a prisoner in a habeas corpus proceeding.

This proceeding was begun by a petition in habeas corpus to the Circuit Court of Franklin County, Ohio, setting forth that the petitioner, McKnight, was unlawfully deprived of his liberty in the Ohio Penitentiary, under a certificate of sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Wood County, for the crime of forgery. Petitioner charged that there was no judgment or sentence authorizing such certificate; that the same was therefore void, and said imprisonment without legal authority, and without due process of law.

Page 155 U. S. 686

Under this petition, a writ of habeas corpus was granted by the Honorable Gilbert H. Stewart, Judge of the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit, and McKnight ordered to be produced before him in Columbus on August 31, 1894.

Respondent, James, made return to the writ, setting forth the certificate of sentence, and averring that the Court of Common Pleas of Wood County did render the judgment and pronounce the sentence by authority of which he held McKnight in custody; that said judgment was afterwards affirmed by the Circuit Court of Wood County, in a proceeding in error prosecuted by McKnight; that the case was subsequently brought before the Supreme Court of Ohio, on a motion made and filed by this petitioner, and that that court, after reviewing the entire record and proceedings in the lower courts, denied the application, thus affirming the original judgment of the court of common pleas.

Petitioner replied and averred that after entering a plea of "Not guilty," he was brought before the court without counsel, and indigent and unable to procure counsel; but the court proceeded to try him without counsel to defend him, and he was thereby deprived of his constitutional right to have the assistance of counsel in his defense, and that the certificate of sentence also was void in the fact that the requirement that he be kept at hard labor, which appears in such certificate, was not imposed by the court as a part of its sentence, and was wholly unauthorized.

The case was heard September 1, 1894, upon pleadings and testimony, by the Honorable Gilbert H. Stewart, sitting in chambers, and an order made that McKnight be remanded to the custody of the defendant, James, as warden of the Ohio Penitentiary; whereupon the petitioner sued out this writ of error, directed to the judge by name.

Page 155 U. S. 687

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