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decided: December 3, 1894.



Author: Shiras

[ 155 U.S. Page 273]

 MR. JUSTICE SHIRAS, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

The record discloses that, while the trial was proceeding, a jury having been sworn and a witness examined, the fact that one of the jury was disqualified, by having been a member of the grand jury that found the indictment, became known to the court. Thereupon the court, without the consent of the defendant, and under exception, discharged the jury, and directed that another jury should be called. The defendant, by his counsel, pleaded that he had been once in jeopardy upon and for the same charge and offence for which he now stood charged. The court permitted this plea to be filed, and submitted the question to the jury, with instructions to find the issue in favor of the government. Such a verdict was accordingly rendered, and the cause was then disposed of

[ 155 U.S. Page 274]

     under the plea of not guilty, and resulted in a verdict of guilty under the indictment.

The defendant now seeks, in one of his assignments of error, the benefit of the constitutional provision that no person shall be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life and limb.

As the matter of the plea puis darrein continuance, setting out the previous discharge of a jury after having been sworn, and the plea of not guilty were not inconsistent with each other, it accorded with the rules of criminal pleading that they might stand together, though, of course, it was necessary that the issue under the first plea should be disposed of before the cause was disposed of under the plea of not guilty. Commonwealth v. Merrill, 8 Allen, 545; 1 Bishop on Criminal Procedure, ยง 752.

As to the question raised by the plea of former jeopardy, it is sufficiently answered by citing United States v. Perez, 9 Wheat. 579; Simmons v. United States, 142 U.S. 148, and Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263. Those cases clearly establish the law of this court, that courts of justice are invested with the authority to discharge a jury from giving any verdict, whenever in their opinion, taking all the circumstances into consideration, there is a manifest necessity for the act, or the ends of public justice would otherwise be defeated, and to order a trial by another jury; and that the defendant is not thereby twice put in jeopardy within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The evidence in the case substantially disclosed the following facts:

The defendant, Thompson, was an Indian boy about seventeen years of age, and lived with Sam Haynes, a Creek Indian, who had a farm near Okmulgee in the Creek Nation. The deceased, Charles Hermes, lived with his father on land rented from Haynes, and distant about half a mile from the house of the latter. There was testimony tending to show ill feeling on the part of Hermes and his sons towards this Indian boy, and that they had threatened to injure him if he

[ 155 U.S. Page 275]

     came about where they were. Thompson could not speak or understand the English language, but he had been told by Haynes and another witness that old man Hermes had claimed that he, Thompson, had been abusing and killing his hogs, and that if he "came acting the monkey around him any more he would chop his head open."

In the afternoon of June 8, 1893, Mrs. Haynes directed the boy to take a bundle to Mrs. Checotah's, who lived two or three miles away. The boy caught a horse, got on it without a saddle, took the bundle that Mrs. Haynes gave him, and went off on his errand. Mrs. Haynes testified that he had no arms of any kind when he left her house, and that he appeared in a good humor with everybody at that time. The road to Checotah's ran by a field where the deceased, his father and brother were working, ploughing corn. There was testimony, on the part of Thompson, tending to show that, as he rode along past the field, the old man and the deceased began quarrelling with him; that Thompson saw that they were angry with him, but could not understand much that was said to him, although he could tell that they were talking about hogs. Thompson says that he remembered the threats against him they had made to Haynes and Checotah, and thought they were going to hurt him.He further states that he rode on to Checotah's, where he left the bundle; that he got to thinking about what Sam Haynes had told him as to the threats that Hermes had made, and as there was no other road for him to return home by, except the one alongside of the field, he thought it was best for him to arm himself so that he could make a defence in case he was attacked; that he went by Amos Gray's house, and there armed himself with a Winchester rifle belonging to Gray. The defendant further testified that, after ...

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