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Statement of the Case.
MR. JUSTICE WHITE did not hear the argument and took no part in the consideration and disposition of this case.
MURPHY v. MASSACHUSETTS.
ERROR TO THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS.
No. 480. Argued February 28, March 1, 1900.- Decided April 9, 1900.
Murphy was tried in a state court of Massachusetts on an indictment charging him with embezzlement; was convicted; and was sentenced to imprisonment for a term, one day of which was to be in solitary confinement, and the rest at hard labor. He remained in confinement for nearly three years, and then sued out a writ of error, and the judgment was reversed on the ground that the sentence was unconstitutional. The case was then remanded to the court below to have him resentenced, which was done. Before imposing the new sentence the court said that as he had already suffered one term of solitary confinement, the court would not impose another, if a written waiver by the prisoner of the provision therefor were filed. He declined to file such a waiver, and the sentence was accordingly imposed. Upon his taking steps to have the sentence set aside, held that his contention in that respect was unavailing.
PLAINTIFF in error, a citizen of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and of the United States, was tried in the Superior Court of Massachusetts on an indictment which charged him in sixty-four counts with the embezzlement of different sums of money on different days between July 19, 1892, and November 29, 1893, contrary to the provisions of section forty of chapter 203 of the Public Statutes of Massachusetts; was found guilty, and on May 29, 1896, was sentenced under chapter 504 of the statutes of 1895 to imprisonment in the state's prison of the Commonwealth at Boston for the term of not less than ten nor more than fifteen years, one day thereof to be in solitary confinement and the residue at hard labor, and on that day, in execution of said sentence, was committed to that prison. He remained in solitary confinement for one day and in the prison continuously from May 29, 1896, to January 7, 1899.
Opinion of the Court.
On June 8, 1898, he sued a writ of error out of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, and on January 6, 1899, that court reversed the sentence of the Superior Court on the ground that the statute of 1895, c. 504, was unconstitutional so far as it related to past offenses, and remanded the case to the Superior Court under Public Statutes, c. 187, § 13, to be resentenced according to the law as it was when the offenses were committed, and before the statute under which he had been sentenced took effect. 172 Mass. 264.
January 7, 1899, he was brought before the Superior Court pursuant to that direction, and resentenced according to the provisions of Public Statutes, c. 203, § 20, and Public Statutes, c. 215, § 23, the sentence being to the state's prison for nine years, ten months and twenty-one days, the first day thereof to be in solitary confinement, and the residue at hard labor. Before imposing this sentence the court stated to Murphy's attorney that as Murphy had already suffered one term of solitary confinement for the offenses for which he was now to be sentenced, it would prefer not to sentence to solitary confinement, and that it would not do so, if a written waiver by the prisoner of the provision therefor were filed; but the attorney did not feel justified in filing such a waiver. Murphy duly excepted to the sentence last imposed, and requested that all his rights be reserved. Exceptions having been allowed, the case was carried on error to the Supreme Judicial Court, which overruled them. 54 N. E. Rep. 860. This writ of error was then sued out.
Mr. Ezra Ripley Thayer for plaintiff in error. Mr. Louis D. Brandeis and Mr. Edward F. McClennen were on his brief.
Mr. Hosea M. Knowlton for defendant in error. W. DeGoosh was on his brief.
Mr. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER delivered the opinion of the court.
The specification of errors in the brief of counsel is as follows: "The contention of the plaintiff in error is that the sentence under which he is now held puts him twice in jeop
Opinion of the Court.
ardy, and that such double jeopardy abridges his privileges and immunities as a citizen of the United States, and deprives him of his liberty without due process of law.”
Laying out of view the suggestion that the immunity from double jeopardy or double punishment of a citizen of Massachusetts, in Massachusetts, is an immunity possessed by him as a citizen of the United States as contradistinguished from a citizen of Massachusetts, we inquire whether any law of Massachusetts abridges such an immunity, and whether that or any other action of that Commonwealth deprives plaintiff in error of his liberty without due process of law. If there be no such law, and if he is suffering no such deprivation, we need not be curious in explanation of the particular ground of our exercise of jurisdiction.
The statutes of Massachusetts have provided since 1851 (act of April 30, 1851, c. 87) that "when a final judgment in a criminal case is reversed by the Supreme Judicial Court on account of error in the sentence, the court may render such judgment therein as should have been rendered, or may remand the case for that purpose to the court before which the conviction was had." Acts of 1851, p. 602, c. 87; Pub. St. c. 187, § 13.
In this case it was on account of error in the sentence as originally imposed that that sentence was set aside. All the proceedings prior thereto stood unimpugned, and the Superior Court merely rendered the judgment which should have been rendered before. And this was done under the statute by direction of the Supreme Judicial Court, whose interposition had been invoked by plaintiff in error.
The legal effect of the statute was to make it a condition of the bringing of writs of error in criminal cases that if the error was one in the award of punishment only, that error should be corrected, and, as remarked by Chief Justice Shaw, this did not disturb the fundamental principles of right. Jacquins v. Commonwealth, 9 Cush. 279. Indeed, in many jurisdictions it has been held that the appellate court has the power, when there has been an erroneous sentence, to remand the case to the trial court for sentence according to law. Reynolds v. United States, 98 U. S. 145, 168; In re Bonner, 151 U. S. 242; Hen
Opinion of the Court.
derson v. People, 165 Illinois, 607; Beale v. Commonwealth, 25 Penn. St. 11. And we have repeatedly decided that the review by an appellate court of the final judgment in a criminal case, however grave the offense of which the accused is convicted, is not a necessary element of due process of law, and that the right of appeal may be accorded by the State to the accused upon such conditions as the State deems proper. McKane v. Durston, 153 U. S. 684; Andrews v. Swartz, 156 U. S. 272; Kohl v. Lehlback, 160 U. S. 293, 297.
As this statute was reasonable, was intended for the benefit of the accused as well as of the community, and was entirely within the admitted powers of the State, we are unable to see that it is in itself open to attack as being unconstitutional; and as this plaintiff in error set the proceedings in question in motion, and they conformed to the statute, we do not perceive how they can be regarded as otherwise than valid.
In prosecuting his former writ of error plaintiff in error voluntarily accepted the result, and it is well settled that a convicted person cannot by his own act avoid the jeopardy in which he stands, and then assert it as a bar to subsequent jeopardy.
Ball v. United States, 163 U. S. 662, illustrates the rule. There Millard F. Ball, John C. Ball and Robert E. Boutwell had been indicted, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Texas, for the murder of one Box, and on trial Millard F. Ball had been acquitted and discharged, and John C. Ball and Boutwell convicted and sentenced to death. The condemned having brought the case here on error, it was held that the indictment was fatally defective, and the judgment was reversed and the cause remanded with a direction to quash the indictment. Ball v. United States, 140 U. S. 118. The mandate went down, the indictment was dismissed, and a new indictment was returned against all three defendants. To this Millard F. Ball filed a plea of former jeopardy and former acquittal, and John C. Ball and Boutwell filed a plea of former jeopardy by reason of their trial and conviction upon the former indictment, and of the dismissal of that indictment. Both these pleas were overruled, defendants pleaded not guilty, were convicted and sentenced to death.
Opinion of the Court.
On their writ of error this court held that a general verdict of acquittal upon the issue of not guilty to an indictment undertaking to charge murder, and not objected to before the verdict as insufficient in that respect, is a bar to a second indictment for the same killing. Mr. Justice Gray, delivering the opinion, said:
"An acquittal before a court having no jurisdiction is, of course, like all the proceedings in the case, absolutely void, and therefore no bar to subsequent indictment and trial in a court which has jurisdiction of the offense. Commonwealth v. Peters, 12 Met. 387; 2 Hawk. P. C. c. 35, § 3; 1 Bishop's Crim. Law, § 1028. But although the indictment was fatally defective, yet, if the court had jurisdiction of the cause and of the party, its judgment is not void, but only voidable by writ of error, and until so avoided, cannot be collaterally impeached. If the judg ment is upon a verdict of guilty, and unreversed, it stands good, and warrants the punishment of the defendant accordingly, and he could not be discharged by a writ of habeas corpus. Ex parte Parks, 93 U. S. 18. If the judgment is upon an acquittal, the defendant, indeed, will not seek to have it reversed; and the government cannot. United States v. Sanges, 144 U. S. 310." The judgment was reversed as to Millard F. Ball, and judgment rendered for him upon his plea of former acquittal.
But as to John C. Ball and Boutwell, it was ruled that the Circuit Court rightly overruled their plea of former jeopardy, and it was said (163 U. S. 662, 671):
"Their plea of former conviction cannot be sustained, because upon a writ of error, sued out by themselves, the judgment and sentence against them were reversed, and the indictment ordered to be dismissed. How far, if they had taken no steps to set aside the proceedings in the former case, the verdict and sentence therein could have been held to bar a new indictment against them, need not be considered, because it is quite clear that a defendant, who procures a judgment against him upon an indictment to be set aside, may be tried anew upon the same indictment, or upon another indictment, for the same offense of which he had been convicted. Hopt v. Utah, 104 U. S. 631; 110 U. S. 574; 114 U. S. 488; 120 U. S. 430; Regina v. Drury,