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POST V. UNITED STATES, 161 U. S. 583 (1896)

U.S. Supreme Court

Post v. United States, 161 U.S. 583 (1896)

Post v. United States

No. 694

Argued March 6, 9, 1896

Decided March 23, 1896

161 U.S. 583


Under the Act of July 12, 1894, c. 132, enacting that

"all criminal proceedings instituted for the trial of offenses against the laws of the United States arising in the District of Minnesota shall be brought, had and prosecuted in the division of said district in which such offences were committed,"

the court has no jurisdiction of an indictment afterwards presented by the grand jury for the district in one division for an offense committed in another division before the passage of the act, and for which no complaint has been made against the defendant, although the witnesses whose names are endorsed upon the indictment were summoned before the grand jury and were in actual attendance upon the court before the passage of the act.

At June term, 1894, of the District Court for the District of Minnesota, held at St. Paul, in the Third Division of the district, the grand jury for the district presented, on July 20, 1894, two indictments against George W. Post under section 5493 of the Revised Statutes, for subornation of perjury on February 3, 1894 at Duluth, in the Fifth Division.

To each indictment the defendant pleaded not guilty, with leave to withdraw his plea at October term, 1894, held at St. Paul, to which the cases were continued. At that term, he withdrew his plea and demurred to each indictment for want of jurisdiction in the court to take cognizance of the matters and things therein set forth, because the offenses were alleged to have been committed in the Fifth division of the district, and the indictment was found and presented at a term held at St. Paul, in the district and outside of that division. The demurrer was overruled, the defendant pleaded not guilty to each indictment, the two cases were consolidated by order of the court for trial, the jury returned verdicts or guilty; the defendant moved in arrest of judgment for want of jurisdiction in the court to

Page 161 U. S. 584

try him upon the indictments, the motion was overruled, and the defendant was sentenced to be imprisoned three years in the penitentiary and to pay a fine of $2,000, and sued out this writ of error.

By stipulation in writing of counsel, it was agreed that there should be added to the record, as if in obedience to a writ of certiorari for diminution thereof, an order of the district court directing the record to be amended by setting forth the following facts: the grand jury for the District of Minnesota at June term, 1894, was duly impaneled July 5, 1894, and then entered upon the discharge of its duties for the entire District of Minnesota, and was continuously in session from that day to and including July 20, 1894, and on this last day returned these two indictments, and made its final report, and was discharged by the court. All the persons whose names were endorsed upon the indictments were duly summoned in these cases before the grand jury prior to July 5, 1894, and obedience to such summons were in actual attendance upon the court prior to July 12, 1894.

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