U.S. Supreme Court
Neely v. Henkel , 180 U.S. 109 (1901)
Neely v. Henkel (No. 1)
Argued December 10-11, 1900
Decided January 14, 1901
180 U.S. 109
There is no merit in the contention that Article 401 of the Penal Code of Cuba, which provides that the public employee who, by reason of his office, has in his charge public funds or property, and takes or consents that others should take any part therefrom, shall be punished, applies only to persons in the public employ of Spain. Spain having withdrawn from the island, its successor has become "the public," to which the code, remaining unrepealed, now refers.
Within the meaning of the Act of June 6, 1900, c. 793, 31 Stat. 656, providing for the surrender of persons committing defined crimes within a foreign country occupied by or under the control of the United States and fleeing to the United States, or any territory thereof, or the District of Columbia, Cuba is foreign territory which cannot be regarded in any constitutional, legal or international sense as a part of the territory of the United States, and this is not affected by the fact that it is under a military governor appointed by and representing the President in the work of assisting the inhabitants of the island in establishing a. government of their own.
As between the United States and Cuba, that island is territory held in trust for its inhabitants, to whom it rightfully belongs and to whose exclusive control it will be surrendered when a stable government shall have been established by their voluntary action.
The Act of June 6, 1900, is not unconstitutional in that it does not secure to the accused when surrendered to a foreign country for trial all the rights, chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
privileges and immunities that are guaranteed by the Constitution to persons charged with the commission in this country of crime against the United States.
The provisions in the Constitution relating to writs of habeas corpus, bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, trial by jury for crimes, and generally to the fundamental guarantees of life, liberty, and property embodied in that instrument have no relation to crimes committed without the jurisdiction of the United States against the laws of a foreign country.
When an American citizen commits a crime in a foreign country, he cannot complain if required to submit to such modes of trial and to such punishment as the laws of that country may prescribe for its own people unless a different mode be provided for by treaty stipulations between that country and the United States.
The contention that the United States recognized the existence of an established government known as the Republic of Cuba, but is now using its military or executive power to overthrow it, is without merit.
The Act of June 6, 1900, is not in violation of the Constitution of the United States, and this case comes within its provisions; and, the court below having found that there was probable cause to believe the appellant guilty of the offenses charged, the order for his extradition was proper, and no ground existed for his discharge on habeas corpus.
The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.