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KEPNER V. UNITED STATES, 195 U. S. 100 (1904)

U.S. Supreme Court

Kepner v. United States, 195 U.S. 100 (1904)

Kepner v. United States

No. 244

Argued April 22, 1904

Decided May 31, 1904

195 U.S. 100


The expressed declarations of the President in Military Order, No. 58, of April 23, 1900, and in the act of July 1, 1902, establishing a civil government in the Philippine Islands, both adopting with little alteration the provisions of the Bill of Rights, show that it was intended to carry to the Philippine Islands those principles of our Government which the President declared to be established as rules of law for the maintenance of individual freedom, and those expressions were used in the sense which has been placed upon them in construing the instrument from which they were taken.

It is a well settled rule of construction that language used in a statute which has a settled and well known meaning, sanctioned by judicial decision, is presumed to be used in that sense by the legislative body.

It is a well settled principle of construction that specific terms covering the given subject matter will prevail over general language of the same or another statute which might otherwise prove controlling.

Although a right of appeal was given to the Government by Military Order, No. 58, in criminal cases in the Philippine Islands, § 5 of the act of July 1, 1902, establishing a civil government in the Islands, specifically provided that no person should be put twice in jeopardy for the same offense, thereby repealing the provision in the military order and nothing in § 9 of the act of 1902 can be construed as intending to prevail over the specific guaranty contained in § 5.

In ascertaining the meaning of a phrase in the Constitution taken from the Bill of Rights, it must be construed with reference to the common law from which it was taken.

Page 195 U. S. 101

At common law, protection from second jeopardy for the same offense clearly included immunity from second prosecution where the court having jurisdiction had acquitted the accused of the offense, and it is the settled law of this court that former jeopardy includes one who has been acquitted by a verdict duly rendered, although no judgment be entered on the verdict and it was found upon a defective indictment. The second jeopardy is not against the peril of second judgment, but against being again tried for the same offense.

The facts, which involved the application of the constitutional immunity provision of the Constitution of the United States to the Philippine Islands, are stated in the opinion of the court.

Page 195 U. S. 110

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