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Governor Crapo's Letter To Mr. Stanton

Governor Crapo's Letter To Mr. Stanton image
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■State of Micjligau, lixociiilve Oilioe.i i'í.ut, J une lü, lbüó. ) To Hi-n. E. M. Stunten,. Seccetary of War, Wasliingtou, D. 0. yn; - 1 have Ujv honor to nuknowledge tbc receipt Of jour coinmunication of tl c 5tb instant, requestiug uie to the ciïii offioer of Detroit, J.Lic!ii2:iD, to turn over to tbo military autbonties ai that piuco, in order that ihey uiay at opcc btí btoügbt to trial before a court martkd, Lieut. John A. Kubvwtta and Lieut Arthur C. Ellis, oi the Öd regiment velaran reserve cdrps, v. ho ire chavged vvítli tho hoinicide of cue Wii.-sn, huck driver." The faets in this case, as thoy have Mn rSpreseníód to üie, are sabatantiaHy ti)6S6 I i,u-n':er f öfficèrs en thé hight of tho lioruicide w. re absent iroin the bar vacks, ,either on leavo of absence or otheruise, and nöt-on daty, and were in a 'irTiiVwig si.lóo'n very. hito in the night. Vhile tlieré tliuy made spnse arrangement vyi'b lbo haokmuo ivferreil to, to curry them to tho barracó, aud aftcr warM declined going. Tho hackman di tfiurred at tfiid and bécaine abusive, niid galherci togclher a number of other haófcjtfe'ftj Ihrcatening the cflieers. At this ttio officêïs wt-uL lo Fne.iuen" Hall, where a guuid otsoldiors were stationed, iind, Without having nny right to do po, oidend tbcm into tho Btreet, where some difinulty docuircJ betwuea the s,.!dicrs and hackatón. The one who was ïhot juinped upou bis haclt and attenipted lp drivo óff, Whan some oue guve tho soldiei's orders to firc ou biiiï, wlifeib they did, and ho was shot froiii bis sLat aud died soqii af'.er. As Iuuderatanfi lbo bïïa)r the nfiioers no busito ua'l out thoguard, is it was not uu der theïr conirol, and the söldiera had i:o right to obuy iheui, midor tho ijicumstiwices. It jran, v.i fnet, nothing piofó than a sirect rov7. "'leso Lioutourtiits, together with private Cnct.uldor and livu othors, are now helq in cuslody by regular procesa of a court 'huviug tul! jnrisdiotion, eLargod with Ihs mu'rdt-r of said Wasso, and tha trial ol the cuse is sul down in tho Jve coréer'e Court of thy city of Detroit, for Monday, tho 19lh insf. Yoiir ruques! for the transfer of these men froir. tl. e cuatody uf tho "civil officera of tho Statu to tbc military autfioritios at üc roit, noceMíarüy involves two consideralions : Have 1 tbo power to comply with the ree.uest; and if so, wonld its BXêrciSe be politie and wise 'Í I do not propose in this caimnunieation to argue these questions, uor is it necessary. that I should do so, but simply to statu very briyfly the grounds upou which I ra-ast dioline to interfere 'm this enso B'ith the due administsation of tho civil laws of the State. Although it bo admitted tbat theso paiticá w-ere and are offiuers in the miltary seVsiee of the United States, yet at the time of the oominissiou of the ulleged ofl'inao by them, neithcr of them were in discharge of military duty. The homicida wíís coinmitied, not wkhiu the ümits of tho ciunp, but in the streets of tha aaccl'ul city of Detroit ; and in no eenêe, and to no exteut, is tliis unfortunato aifair conuecteil with the army beyond tho simple faut that tho ueeused were at that time iu the military service oí the Uuited States. It was not an offense against tie puace aud sovereiguty of the Ünired States, but against thoso of the Stito of Miuhigan. Any principie or eoustructión oflaw whïch would exempt these men from ac countability to the State of Michigan woaldexempt any person in the military 6orvice of tho general government from accountability to the civil government for crime committed auywhere within the ler:gth and breadth ol the United States Whfther the provisions ot tho act of Congress, approved March 3d, 1863, eiabrano offeuses coiiiniittod by pcraous wlio may be in the military service of tho United States, but vsho at the time of susk oominission are not engaged on military duty, is a point is unnocessary for ma to diseuss or decide. Uoncoding, however, that it does so apply, it is perfectly plain to my miad that milisary courts ara not by law invested witb the exclusive jurisdietioa of certain ciimes, (amoiig which are raarder and maLslaughter, ) when eommittod by persons iu the military service. It never oould havo Keu the intention of Congress that in time of war, insurreetion or rebellion, each and oyery person in the military service of the Üuited States, and subject to iho articles of war, sbould be exemptad from rosponsitility to the civil tribunals o'f tne country tor the crimes committed by him. away from camps, and under circumBiaucea in no wy couuected with thtt discharge of military duties. But suppose I shourd deern it expediünt to grant your reqaest to the elfect thut I " require the civil offioers oí Detroit, Michigan, to turn over to the iiiiitary authoritica that place, iu ordor that thoy may be at once brought to trial bcfore a ojjur-Umavtial,'1 theso partios, I caunot fina that I have any power uhder the Constitution and 1-ws of th3 State to comply vith suoh request. 'Fhe aecused aro in tho eustody of the law, and with its aduiinistratiou tho Exoeutive can in uo way interfere. His pover is limited to that of pardon, whiuh can bo exeraised aaly Bíter conviction. He eau not even direct or iuatruet a prosceutiag oÜJcor to enter a nolle proseguí, and ho eau in no way interfere with the custody, prosecu'ion aud trial oí the aocused. Iu view of all the facts in this case, it does appear to me that I have no power to comply with your request, and that if I had such power its exercise would be iunpolitic and unwise. But supposing it to be true that tho authority of the military tribunals of the United States is exclusive, then the accused havo, through tho ordinary course ui judicial procoedings, a perfect defense to tbeir prosscution by the State of Michigan. They can picad this specially, or ia some way bring it beforo the court ; and if the positiou is sound, their roleasj is assured. Should it be faared, as inticnated in you commuuteation, liiat. ir. this case a fair and impartial trial canuot be had befoie the cj vil tribunal, I would say Ihat vary liberal piovisions have been iiiade uudor oijr statutes iu reforenco to thtí selooyou of jurors; tht court in wijich LCo triüi is liad lüay graut v new trial; and after conviotion the lints, it thoy eoiisidor thcrnsclvus igyrjdved by -Mty iútáoa, directiuu or judgratfnt uf tliü court, may briug a wiit üf error. Dojl.ning theieforè, to ta!;o part in ! iii túis malter, I aiu, very respectftilly, yours; i , I1ENKY H CKAl'ü, QovepDot oí Jlichigaií,


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