Friday, November 15, 2013

In re Carmen’s Petition case brief

In re Carmen’s Petition case brief summary
165 F.Supp. 942 (1958)

Petitioner prisoner sought a writ of habeas corpus for his release from a state penitentiary. He asserted that his conviction of murder in a California trial court was invalid because, pursuant to the Ten Major Crimes Act, his crime fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal court. A similar petition had been denied by the California Supreme Court.

Under the Act the federal courts had exclusive jurisdiction over Indians who committed one of the ten listed crimes in Indian country. The state supreme court had discharged the writ of habeas corpus because it believed that the trial court's exercise of jurisdiction could not be contested in a habeas corpus proceeding based on new facts that did not appear in the trial record.


  • The court issued the writ. 
  • It held that a review of the state court's jurisdiction was appropriate even if it meant looking beyond the trial record. 
  • The court then held that the evidence established that under the Act the federal court had exclusive jurisdiction over the prisoner's murder charge. 
  • Murder was one of the listed crimes in the Act. 
  • The prisoner was of Indian blood and his name appeared on the rolls of an Indian tribe. 
  • The land upon which the murder was committed was part of an Indian allotment and was Indian country under 18 U.S.C.S. § 1151. 
  • The court also held that the prisoner's confinement on a conviction of assault with intent to murder was improper because that crime also fell within the purview of the Act.

The court issued a writ of habeas corpus and ordered that the prisoner be discharged.

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