U.S. Supreme Court
Hawaii v. Mankichi, 190 U.S. 197 (1903)
Hawaii v. Mankichi
Argued March 4-5, 1903
Decided June 1, 1903
190 U.S. 197
In interpreting a statute, the intention of the lawmaking power will prevail even against the letter of the statute; a thing may be within the letter of the statute and not within its meaning, and within its meaning, though not within its letter. Smythe v. Fisk, 23 Wall. 374. In inserting in the Resolution of July 7, 1898, annexing Hawaii, a provision that municipal legislation not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States should remain in force until Congress otherwise determined, Congress did not intend to impose upon the islands every clause of the Constitution, and to nullify convictions and verdicts which might, before the legislature could act, be rendered in accordance with existing legislation of the islands but not in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, nor was such the intention of Hawaii in surrendering its autonomy.
The conviction of one who, between August 12, 1898, and June 14, 1900, was tried on information and convicted by a jury not unanimous, in accordance chanrobles.com-red
with legislation of the Republic of Hawaii existing at the time of the annexation, is legal notwithstanding it is not in compliance with the provisions of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution.
This was a petition by Mankichi for a writ of habeas corpus to obtain his release from the Oahu convict prison, where he is confined upon conviction for manslaughter, in alleged violation of the Constitution, in that he was tried upon an indictment not found by a grand jury, and convicted by the verdict of nine out of twelve jurors, the other three dissenting from the verdict.
Following the usual course of procedure in the Republic of Hawaii prior to its incorporation as a territory of the United States, the prisoner was tried upon an indictment much in the form of an information at common law, by the Attorney General, and indorsed "a true bill, found this fourth day of May, A.D. 1899. A. Perry, first judge of the circuit court," etc.
From an order of the United States District Court discharging the prisoner, the Attorney General of the territory appealed to this Court. chanrobles.com-red