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HENDRIX v. UNITED STATES.

decided: January 3, 1911.

HENDRIX
v.
UNITED STATES.



ERROR TO THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS.

Author: Mckenna

[ 219 U.S. Page 86]

 MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.

Hendrix was indicted in the United States court in the Indian Territory for the crime of murder, for killing one Roler W. Voss. On his motion the case was transferred for trial to the United States court for the Eastern District of Texas, at Paris, Texas. The order transferring the case recited that it was made on the motion of Hendrix, "the court being well advised in the premises."

On the fourth of March, 1909, in the District Court, he objected to the jurisdiction of the court on the ground that the crime was committed in the State of Oklahoma, and "that under the act of Congress known as the 'Enabling act,' passed June 16, 1906, all criminal cases pending in the United States court within the Indian Territory were transferred to the district courts of the State of Oklahoma and of the county of said State where the alleged offense is said to have been committed."

A motion was made to send the cause to such county, to the end that the offense "be tried in the county and State where alleged to have been committed, in pursuance of the Constitution of the United States and the statutes made in pursuance thereof."

The motion was supported by the affidavit of the attorney of Hendrix, which stated that he was instrumental in having the cause removed to Paris, Texas, on account of the prejudice of the presiding judge of the Southern District of the Indian Territory, and that "under the Federal statute permitting said removal to be made, the same was done by Will Hendrix on my advice and suggestion, especially for the reason before mentioned. . . ."

[ 219 U.S. Page 87]

     The motion was denied. Hendrix was convicted and sentenced to hard labor for life in the penitentiary of the United States at Atlanta, Georgia.

A motion for a new trial was made, stating as the grounds thereof certain rulings upon evidence, and the action of the court in denying the motion to transfer the case to Garvin County, Oklahoma. And the same grounds constitute the assignments of error in this court.

Another ground is urged in the argument. It is urged that the District Court at Paris, Texas, did not have jurisdiction of the person of Hendrix because, as it is contended, the order of the court changing the venue of the case directed it to be transmitted "to the United States court at Paris, Texas," and did not designate the District Court as required by the statute. "There were district and circuit courts," it is said, "for the Eastern District of Texas, at Paris, Texas, but no court by the name of the 'United States court.'" And it is asked, "to which of these courts was this case transferred?" The question is easily answered. The statute under which the change of venue was made provides "that whenever a member of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations is indicted for homicide, he may, within thirty days aftersuch indictment . . . file . . . his affidavit that he cannot get a fair trial, . . . and it thereupon shall be the duty of the judge to order a change of venue in such case to the United States district court for the Western District of Arkansas, at Fort Smith, Arkansas, or to the United States district court for the Eastern District of Texas, at Paris, Texas . . ." June 28, 1898, c. 517, 30 Stat. 511. Reading the order of the court changing the venue of the case in connection with the statute, the order is not uncertain. Besides, the record was transferred and filed in the District Court at Paris, Texas, and Hendrix was tried in that court. In other words, the case was removed to the only United States court at Paris, Texas, designated by the statute,

[ 219 U.S. Page 88]

     and tried in the only United States court there in which it could be tried.

It is further contended that such District Court had no jurisdiction of the person of Hendrix, because the order of removal did not recite "the jurisdictional facts or findings authorizing such change of venue," nor are such facts or findings shown by the record. That is, it is not shown that he was a member of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations. To both objections it might be immediately answered that a complete record of the case is not here. The affidavit upon which the order of removal was made is not here. It is not denied that an affidavit was filed as required by the statute, and it may be assumed that it was sufficient to justify the action of the court. It is admitted that Hendrix is an Indian and a member of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations. The motion for change of venue was made by him, and could only have been made by him, and the order recites that the court granted the motion, "being well advised in the premises." This means advised by Hendrix in the way provided by the ...


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