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Opinion of the Court.
the Army. The date of the order of dismissal, of the infliction of the fine and of the beginning of the imprisonment were the same date.
The accused was proceeded against as an officer of the Army, and jurisdiction attached in respect of him as such, which included not only the power to hear and determine the case, but the power to execute and enforce the sentence of the law. Having being sentenced, his status was that of a military prisoner held by the authority of the United States as an offender against its laws.
He was a military prisoner though he had ceased to be a soldier; and for offences committed during his confinement he was liable to trial and punishment by court martial under the rules and articles of war. Rev. Stat. § 1361.
It may be added that the principle that where jurisdiction has attached it cannot be divested by mere subsequent change of status has been applied as justifying the trial and sentence of an enlisted man after expiration of the term of enlistment, Barrett v. Hopkins, 7 Fed. Rep. 312; and the execution of sentence after the lapse of many years and the severance of all connection with the Army. Coleman v. Tennessee, 97 U. S. 509.
In the latter case this court held, at October term, 1878, that a soldier who had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death by a general court martial in 1865, but whose sentence had not been executed, might“ be delivered up to the military authorities of the United States, to be dealt with as required by law.” In this matter it was subsequently advised by Attorney General Devens that the death sentence might legally be carried into effect notwithstanding the fact that the soldier had in the meantime been discharged from the service, under the circumstances detailed, but he recommended that the sentence be commuted, and this recommendation was followed. 16 Op. Att. Gen. 349.
In Ex parte Mason, 105 U. S. 696, where the accused was sentenced by a general court martial to dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay, and eight years' imprisonment in the Albany penitentiary, an application for release on habeas corpus was denied, and the sentence held to be legal.
Opinion of the Court.
Another objection strenuously insisted on is that the sentence ceased to be the sentence of the court martial because of the disapproval of certain specifications by the President.
The 65th article of those enacted by Congress, April 10, 1806, (2 Stat. 359, c. 20,) provided : “But no sentence of a court martial shall be carried into execution until after the whole proceedings shall have been laid before the officer ordering the same, or the officer commanding the troops for the time being.” In the Revised Statutes this part of the 65th article of war was made section 104, and read : “No sentence of a court martial shall be carried into execution until the whole proceedings shall have been approved by the officer ordering the court, or by the officer commanding for the time being." By the act of July 27, 1892 (27 Stat. 277, c. 272,) the 104th section was amended so as to read : “No sentence of a court martial shall be carried into execution until the same shall have been approved by the officer ordering the court, or by the officer commanding for the time being.”
The original article required the whole proceedings to be laid before the reviewing authority ; the Revised Statutes, that the whole proceedings should be approved ; the act of July 27, 1892, that the sentence should not be carried into execution until it was approved. From this legislation it appears that the approval of the sentence and not of the whole proceedings is now the prerequisite to carrying the sentence into execution, and this is in harmony with articles 105, 106, 107 and 108.
In Claassen v. United States, 142 U. S. 140, 146, it was said : “In criminal cases, the general rule, as stated by Lord Mansfield before the Declaration of Independence, is that if there is any one count to support the verdict, it shall stand good, notwithstanding all the rest are bad.' Peake v. Oldham, Cowper, 275, 276; Rex v. Benfield, 2 Bur. 980, 985. See also Grant v. Astle, 2 Doug. 722, 730. And it is settled law in this court, and in this country generally, that in any criminal case a general verdict and judgment on an indictment or information containing several counts cannot be reversed on error, if any one of the counts is good and warrants the judgment, because, in the absence of anything in the record to show the contrary, the pre
Opinion of the Court.
sumption of law is that the court awarded sentence on the good count only."
In Ballew v. United States, 160 U. S. 187, where the indictment embraced two counts, each setting up a distinct offence, the court instructed the jury that if they considered the defendant guilty on one count and innocent on the other, they should so find; and that if they found him guilty on both counts, that they should return a general verdict of guilty. A general verdict of guilty was returned, and judgment rendered thereon.
This court held that error had been committed in the conviction as to the first count but none in the conviction upon the other, and as the general verdict covered both, the judgment was reversed under the statute in that behalf and the cause remanded with instructions to enter judgment on the second count.
In Putnam v. United States, 162 U. S. 687, where there was a conviction on two counts and the sentence imposed was distinct and separate as to each count, but was made concurrent so that the entire amount of punishment imposed would be undergone if the judgment were sustained under either count, error being found in the conviction as to one of them, the judgment was reversed as to that count and affirmed on the other.
We are dealing here with no matter of insufficient counts or of conviction of two offences, sustainable only as to one, but the analogies of the criminal la w bear out the procedure under the military law, the rules of which determine the present contention.
That contention, after all, amounts to no more than to say that if the court martial had acquitted on the disapproved findings, it must be assumed that the sentence would have been less severe, and therefore that the President should have sent the case back or mitigated the punishment, and that because he did not, the punishment must be conclusively regarded as increased. This is wholly inainissible when the powers vested in the ultimate tribunal are considered.
The court martial for the trial of Captain Oberlin M. Carter was convened by orders issued by the President; and he was therefore the reviewing authority, and the court of last resort.
Opinion of the Court.
The law governing courts martial is found in the statutory enactments of Congress, particularly the Articles of War; in the Army Regulations; and in the customary military law. According to military usage and practice, the charge is in effect divided into two parts, the first technically called the “charge,” and the second, the “specification.” The charge proper designates the military offence of which the accused is alleged to be guilty. The specification sets forth the acts or omissions of the accused which form the legal constitutents of the offence. The pleading need not possess the technical nicety of indictments as at common law. “Trials by courts martial are governed by the nature of the service, which demands intelligible precision of language but regards the substance of things rather than their form." 7 Op. Atty. Gen. 604. Not only do military usage and procedure permit of an indefinite number of offences being charged and adjudicated together in one and the same proceeding, but the rule is recognized that whenever an officer has been apparently guilty of several or many offences, whether of a similar character or distinct in their nature, charges and specifications covering them all should, if practicable, be preferred together, and together brought to trial. 1 Winthrop, 219; 22 Op. Atty. Gen. 595. And it has been repeatedly ruled by the Judges Advocate General that“ a duly approved finding of guilty on one of several charges, a conviction upon which requires or authorizes the sentence adjudged, will give validity and effect to such sentence, although the similar findings on all the other charges are disapproved as not warranted by the testimony.” Dig. Op. Judge Advocate General, ed. 1895, p. 696; Id. ed. 1868, pp. 343, 350.
The sentence against Captain Carter was rendered on findings of guilty of four charges and certain specifications thereunder.
It devolved on the President to approve or to disapprove the sentence. Before taking action, he referred the proceedings to the Attorney General, who submitted a careful report thereon, and recommended the disapproval of certain findings. 22 Op. 589. These related to facts of less gravity under Charges I and II than the others set up thereunder, and those under Charge
Opinion of the Court.
III though objectionable were not material, as dismissal was the sole punishment under that charge. The President disapproved of the findings of guilty of some of the specifications under two of the charges, and approved findings of guilty of a specification or specifications under each of the charges, and of the findings of guilty of all of the charges, and approved the sentence. He might have referred the proceedings back to the court for revision, but he was not required to do so, if in bis opinion this was not necessary, and the sentence was justified by the findings which he did approve. As President he might bave exercised his constitutional power to pardon, or as the reviewing authority he might have pardoned or mitigated the punishment adjudged except that of dismissal, although he had no power to add to the punishment. He did not think it proper to remand, to mitigate or to pardon. He clearly acted within his authority whether the Articles of War, the Army Regulations, or the unwritten or customary military law be considered, and the judgment he rendered cannot be disturbed on the ground suggested.
We are brought then to consider the two propositions on which much of the stress of the argument was laid.
First. That the finding of guilty of charge 4 and its specification was beyond the powers of the court martial;
Second. That if that finding were void, then that the sentence was in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
Charge I was: “ Conspiring to defraud the United States, in violation of the 60th article of war.” Cbarge II was: “Causing false and fraudulent claims to be made against the United States, in violation of the 60th article of war."
Charge III was: “Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, in violation of the 61st article of war." Charge IV was: “Embezzlement, as defined in section 5488 of the Revised Statutes, in violation of the 62d article of war.”
If Charge IV be laid out of view, let us see if the sentence was void because in violation of the Fifth Amendment.
That amendment declares: “Nor shall any person be subjected for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”