43 A.B.A. J. 415 (1957)
The Supreme Court and a Six-Gun: The Extraordinary Story of In re Neagle

handle is hein.journals/abaj43 and id is 415 raw text is: The Supreme Court and a Six-Gun:
The Extraordinary Story of In re Neagle
by Walker Lewis  of the Maryland Bar (Baltimore)

Every now and then one runs across a I
they could never be published as fiction-I
Neagle was such a case, and it has all the
six-shooters, a beautiful blonde heiress, a
multimillionaire widower, and an Associat
Court charged with murder. Mr. Lewis gi
American history. The story is true. Not
been changed.
In re Neagle, 135 U. S. 1 (1890),
is a landmark case, holding, among
other things, that a federal officer
cannot be prosecuted    in  a state
court for acts done in the perform-
arnce of his duties. Specifically, the
case involved deputy United States
Marshal David    Neagle who had
been assigned the duty of protecting
Supreme Court Justice Stephen J.
Field while traveling on circuit and
who had killed David S. Terry in the
act of assaulting Field. Neagle was
charged with murder and was held
for trial in the California courts but
was released by the United States
Circuit Court for California on a
writ of habeas corpus. This was af-
firmed by the United States Supreme
Court.'
Neagle's case was argued by Jo-
seph H. Choate,2 one of our greatest
lawyers, and the opinion was written
by Samuel Freeman Miller, one of
our greatest Supreme Court Justices.
It has been cited almost 200 times.
Notwithstanding all this, the case it-

egal case whose facts are so bizarre that   owned the Grand Hotel, connected
the story would be too improbable. In re to the Palace by a bridge. His wife
features of a Wild West movie: blazing     had died in 1875, leaving him       with
tall, bowie-knife-toting frontiersman, a   three children and an amorous dis-
Ie Justice of the United States Supreme position, which United States Dis-
te  ustceof he  nied  tats  uprme trict judge Matthew     P. Deady was
ies a spirited account of this chapter in    trt    dg   e   ahe  w     a
later to describe as follows:
even the names of the characters have
In his comipositlion there appears to
be a vein of sentiment and love of
pleasure that has led him into illicit
self is less extraordinary than      the      relations with the other sex, and given
background which produced it.                 him the reputation of a libertine.
The principal characters, in       the      Sarah Althea Hill, a golden-haired
order of their appearance, were as          beauty   with   sparkling    blue  eyes.
follows:                                   Born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri,
William    Shiron, United      States    she was orphaned at an early age
Senator from    Nevada from     1875 to    and inherited $20,000 from      her par-
1881. He was born        in  Smithfield,   ents. After attending a convent, she
Ohio, on January 9, 1821, went west        came    to  California   with   relatives
during the gold rush, prospered in          and Judge Deady described her in
mining and other ventures, and was          1885   as an   attractive  woman     of
reputed   to be worth     some fifteen      about 32 years of age. Judge Deady,
million dollars. In    1880, when our       however, was from     Oregon and not
story begins, he was 59 years old and      given to superlatives; a Californian
lived in San Francisco at the Palace       might well have said more. In ad-
Hotel,3 which     le owned. He also        dition to her stunning good looks,
1. The real issue was whether Neagle was  The Supreme Court divided on the issue, dis-
being held for an act done in pursuance of a  sents being registered by Chief Justice Fuller
law of the United States. Otherwise the fed-  and Justice Lamar. Justice Field did not sit
eral courts had no habeas corpus jurisdiction  in the case.
in the case. The Court upheld its jurisdiction  2. Other counsel, also notable, were W. H.
nutwithstanding the absence of any statutory  H. Miller, United States Attorney General,
law authorizing federal officers to furnish pro-  G. A. Johnson, California Attorney General,
tection to a traveling judge. Professor Wil-  James C. Carter, Zachariah Montgomery, Sam-
loughby, in PIICIPLES OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW  uel Shellabarger and Jeremiah M. Wilson. The
(2d Ed., 1930), page 619, says that the court  brief filed by Mr. Montgomery is particularly
came perilously near to holding, If in fact it  readable and moving. He was a personal friend
did not actually hold, that the President has  of Terry and, like him, an ardent believer in
inherent executive power; that is, powers in-  states' rights.
herent in him as Chief Executive, and not as  2. At the time reputed to be the largest,
expressly given him by the Constitution, or  most costly, and most commodious hotel in the
implied from the powers expressly given, or  world. John S. Hittel, HISTORY OF SAN FRAN-
constitutionally granted to him by Congress.  cisco (1878), page 450.

May, 1957  Vol. 43 415

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