Výjimečný stav v USA rozšiřuje jurisdikci vojenských soudů i na civilisty
Dostal se mi do rukou zajímavý dokument. Nevím, zda se jedná přímo o zákon, ale dle něho se jurisdikce vojenských soudů rozšiřuje i na civilisty. To je důvod, proč prezident Trump vyhlásil v USA výjimečný stav. Díky tomu jsou a budou globální kabalisté a členové chazarská mafie souzeni před vojenskými soudy.
Co myslíte, budou na Guantanámu „ubytováni“ také někteří čeští členové justiční mafie, exekutorské mafie, mafie uvnitř policie, čeští politici a někteří údajní miliardáři, kteří plní roli bílých koní? Stejná otázka platí i pro Slovensko. Připomínám, že dle Společnosti Bílého Draka bylo podáno 10.000 žalob po celém světě a Ministerstvo obrany USA investovalo 500 mil. dolarů na rozšíření věznic a posílení řad vojenské policie.
Níže uvedený právní předpis je pouze v anglickém jazyce.
California Law Review
Volume 12 | Issue 3 Article 1
Jurisdiction of Military Tribunals in the United
States over Civilians
L. K. Underhill
Follow this and additional works at: http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/californialawreview
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L. K. Underhill, Jurisdiction of Military Tribunals in the United States over Civilians, 12 Cal. L. Rev. 159 (1924).
Available at: http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/californialawreview/vol12/iss3/1
California Law Review
VOL XII MARCH, 1924 Number 3
Jurisdiction of Military Tribunals in the
United States Over Civilians
CONTINUED FROM JANUARY ISSUE
II.-M .ITARY GOVERNMENT.
Returning to the opinion of Mr. Chief Justice Chase in Ex parte
Milligan, there is, under the Constitution, a second kind of military
jurisdiction, „to be exercised in time of foreign war without
the boundaries of the United States, or in time of rebellion or civil
war within states or districts occupied by rebels treated as belligerents;
… distinguished as military government, superseding, as far
as may be deemed expedient, the local law, and exercised by the
military commander under the direction of the President, with the
express or implied sanction of Congress.““‚ 5 Ordinarily in our history
this jurisdiction has been exercised on foreign soil, during a formally
declared war; but „when the regular course of justice is interrupted
by revolt, rebellion, or insurrection, so that the Courts of Justice
cannot be kept open, ciil war exists and hostilities may be prosecuted
on the same footing as if those opposing the government were
foreign enemies invading the land.““‚ The courts are bound by
the determination of the President that civil war exists.“ 7
„Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under
the authority of the hostile army.““48 „The authority of the legitimate
power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant,
the latter shall take all measures in his power to restore, and insure,
as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless
absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.““ 9 Accordingly,
where possible, the occupant maintains the local courts in
24 Ex parte Milligan (1866) 71 U. S. (4 Wall.) 2, 141.
248 The Prize Cases (1862) 67 U. S. (2 Black) 635, 667.
147 The Prize Cases, supra, n. 146.
248 Art. 42, Annex to Hague Convention No. IV of Oct 18, 1907.
149 Id., Art. 43.
12 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW
their operation. 50 But where this is impracticable, the occupant
may establish a government of his own, not only on foreign soil
but in the occupied territory of a belligerent rebel.“5‚ The government
as instituted does not depend on the Constitution of the invader,
but on the laws of war,1 2 and the jurisdiction and authority of
tribunals created by the conqueror depends upon his discretion.“‚
During the Civil War, the President or military commander
appointed, under authority of the laws of war, courts variously
designated. The so-called Provost Courts, which ordinarily exercised
the functions of Police Courts, when so empowered by the
commander in the field, took cognizance of important civil actions.“‚
In The Grapeshot‘ 55 and in Burke v. Miltonberger’50 the authority
of the Provisional Court to entertain a case in admiralty, and a
civil action, respectively, was upheld by the Supreme Court of the
United States, while United States v. Reiter‘5 7 was a trial for
murder. In Leitensdorfer v. Webb 58 the authority of a Circuit
Court established by military power on Mexican soil to contiriue
its functions after the cession of the territory, but before organization
of a civil government, was upheld. Here it may be noted that
though we acquired the island of Guam in 1899, Congress has never
seen fit to abolish the military government thereof.
While these courts are civil in appearance, they are nevertheless
established by military authority and are in reality military
tribunals. 9 Usually they have dealt with matters normally under
the jurisdiction of the local courts. But the fact of the occupation
brings into existence a class of offenses against the safety of the
invading army, which cannot arise in time of peace. These are
generally denominated offenses against the laws of war. On
expressly recognized by the Hagne Convention is espionage.‘ 6 ‚
Among those recognized by our Rules of Land Warfare are: using
forbidden weapons, killing wounded, refusal of quarter, ill-treatment
of prisoners, breach of parole, abuse of flag of truce or of the Red
15o Rules of Land Warfare, U. S. War Dept., par. 299.
151 Texas v. White (1868) 74 U. S. (7 Wall.) 700; U. S. v. Reiter (1865)
Fed. Cas. No. 16,146, 4 American Law Register (N.S.) 534.
?5R utledge v. Fogg (1866) „43 Tenn. 554, 91 Am. Dec. 299.
153 Heffernan v. Porter (1869) 46 Tenn. 391, 98 Am. Dec. 459.
154Mechanics and Traders Bank v. Union Bank (1874) 89 U. S. (22
’55 (1869) 76 U. S. (9 Wall.) 129.
16 (1873) 86 U. S. (19 Wall.) 519.
257 Supra, n. 151.
1s (1857) 61 U. S. (20 How.) 176.
159 Handlin v. Wicldiffe (1873) 79 U. S. (12 Wall.) 173.
160 Art. 29, Annex to Hague Convention No. IV of Oct. 18, 1907.
JURISDICTION OF MILITARY TRIBUNALS
Cross flag, use of civilian clothing on the battlefield, poisoning wells,
and pillage. The foregoing may be committed by members of the
enemy’s armed forces. 61 Others peculiar to civilians are: committing
hostilities without having acquired the belligerent character,162
war treason,’1 3 war rebellion,‘ 6‚ highway robbery and war piracy,165
acting as armed prowlers or marauders, 66 and miscellaneous
offenses against regulations promulgated by the occupaiit.167
In some cases jurisdiction over the less serious of these offenses has
been granted to Provost Courts, as in the area occupied by the
American Forces in Germany during the World War. 68 In general,
however, we have not conferred this jurisdiction on these courts,
but on the military commission.
On the continent of Europe these offenses appear to be handled
by the court-martial. This has also been true in the British service.
But though our system of courts-martial was derived from the
British, there is a fundamental difference in the systems; the British
courts were established by royal commission to supplement, and
later to supersede, the Curia Militaris, or Court of the Constable and
Though Parliamentary sanction for courts-martial was granted
by the statute 1 Win. & M. s. 1 c. 5, and by more comprehensive
later enactments, nevertheless the war-time authority of British
courts-martial abroad may still depend in part on royal order.Y6
In our service the jurisdiction of our earliest courts-martial was
derived from Resolves of the Continental Congress. That body
promulgated Articles of War in 1775 and again in 1776. The latter
Articles‘ 7‚ are almost an exact copy of the British royal Articles of
1774 ;172 where the name of Congress appears it is substituted in
ten places for the British Crown or its ministers and only once for
Parliament; and as Congress in the Declaration of Independence
contended that the jurisdiction of Parliament was „foreign to our
Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws,“ and indicted the
161 Rules of Land Warfare, par. 366.
‚162 Id., par. 369.
163 Id., par. 372.
164 Id., par. 370.
165 Id., par. 371.
166 Id., pars. 373, 374.
167 Id., par. 375.
168 Smith, Military Government, 36.
192 Grose, Military Antiquities, 54, 86 et seq.
1T0 18 Law Quarterly Review, 153.
171 (Sept. 20, 1776) 5 Journal of the Continental Congress, 788; Davis,
Military Law of the United States, Appendix B.
172 Davis, Military Law of the United States, Appendix B.
12 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW
British king for giving assent to Parliamentary acts of „pretended
legislation,“ it is safe to assume that the Continental Congress
deemed itself the successor of the British Crown in a purely executive
union of thirteen legislatively independent states, and that the American
Articles of 1776 were therefore an executive and not a legislative
act. When the Articles of Confederation were adopted July 9,
1778, the United States in Congress assembled found itself vested
with mixed executive and legislative powers; among these was the
power to make „rules for the government of the land and naval
forces“. 73 When the Constitution was adopted, however, there
was a sharp segregation of executive and legislative powers; the
President became commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy,7
while the power to „make rules for the government and regulation
of the land and naval forces“ was definitely placed in the legislative
powers of Congress.‘75 One of the earliest acts of Congress was
to continue in force the then existing Articles of War. 78
So while before the Confederation our courts-martial may have
exercised a customary jurisdiction under the laws of war, since
no such jurisdiction was granted them by the Articles in force under
the Confederation or Constitution, they early ceased to exercise such
jurisdiction. Further, under the Constitution they were creatures
of statute, and no President or military commander could grant
them such jurisdiction. In 1818, General Jackson, invading Florida
to punish the depredations of certain Indians, tried two British subjects
by court-martial and carried the sentence of death into execution.
This extension of jurisdiction was the subject of a debate
in Congress, and was generally held to be illegal. In 1847, General
Scott found himself unable adequately to punish soldiers of his
command in Mexico for crimes ordinarily cognizable by the civil
courts, as they were not covered by any Articles of War; and at
the same time he found himself unable to punish natives for such
offenses against his forces. He therefore enumerated certain
offenses, and established what he called „martial law“ as a „supplemental
code in, and about, all cities, towns, camps, posts, hospitals,
and other places which may be occupied by any part of the forces
of the United States, in Mexico, and in, and about, all columns,
173 Articles of Confederation, Art. IX.
274 U. S. Const., Art. II, § 2.
175 1d., Art. I, § 2.
78 Act of Sept. 29, 1789, 1 U. S. Stats. at L. 96.
JURISDICTION OF MILITARY TRIBUNALS
escorts, convoys, guards and detachments, of said forces, while
engaged in prosecuting the existing war in, and against the said
republic and while remaining within the same“. He then provided
that the enumerated crimes
„.. . whether committed: 1. By any inhabitant of Mexico,
sojourner or traveler therein, upon the person or property of any
individual of the United States forces, retainer or follower of
the same; 2. By any individual of the said forces, retainer or
follower of the same, upon the person or property of any inhabitant
of Mexico, sojourner or traveler therein; or 3. By any
individual of the said forces, retainer or follower of the same
upon the person or property of any other individual of the said
forces, retainer or follower of the same-shall be duly tried
under the said supplemental code.
„10. For this purpose it is ordered, that all offenders, in the
matters aforesaid, shall be promptly seized, confined and reported
for trial, before military commission:“1
This was the genesis of the military commission. In. the Civil
War it was used for the trial of two classes of offenses, committed
whether by civilians or by military persons, viz., I. Violation of the
laws of war. II. Civil crimes, which, because the civil authority is
superseded by the military and the civil courts are suspended, cannot
be taken cognizance of by the ordinary tribunals.“8 It might take
cognizance of offenses, committed during the war before the initiation
of military government but not then brought to trial . 79
The jurisdiction might be exercised up to the declaration by competent
authority of the termination of the war status.8 0 During the
Civil War, some jurisdiction was conferred by statute on these
tribunals, ‚but with the exception of the provision relating to spies
these statutes are not now in force l During the Spanish War the
military commission was used on foreign soil, and its jurisdiction
over civilians between the time of the signature of the peace treaty
and the ratification was upheld in Ex parte Ortiz. 82 This tribunal
was again established in Germany by Orders No. 1, Officer in Charge
of Civil Affairs in Occupied Territory, A. E. F., December 18, 1918,
for the trial of inhabitants offending against the laws of war or the
’77 General Orders, 267, Headquarters of the Army, Sept. 17, 1847. 178 Dig. Ops. J. A. G. (1912) p. 1067.
179 Loc. Cit.
180 Id., p. 1068.
181 LOc. cit.
182 (1900) 100 Fed. 955.
12 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW
Meanwhile, by Act of March 3, 1863 (later incorporated as Article
of War 58 of the Code of 1874),183 jurisdiction over soldiers in
time of war for the more.serious common-law crimes was conferred
on courts-martial; and this jurisdiction has been amplified and incorporated
in the later codesI s
– In addition, by Act of March 2, 191318r
and again by Act of August 29, 1916186 and Act of June 4, 1920, 81
general courts-martial were given jurisdiction over persons who
by the laws of war were subject to trial by military tribunals,
and by the two latter acts military commissions were specifically
given jurisdiction over the offenses of dealing in captured
or abandoned property, by any person subject to military law,1 8 of
relieving, corresponding with, or aiding the enemy,18 9 and of being
found lurking or acting as a spy.90 In both statutes it was also
provided (words italicized appearing in the Act of June 4, 1920
only, bracketed words in the Act of August 29, 1916 only):
„Article 15. Jurisdiction not exclusive.-The provisions of
these articles conferring jurisdiction upon courts-martial shall not
be construed as depriving military commissions, provost courts.
or other military tribunals of concurrent jurisdiction in respect of
offenders or offenses that by statute or by the law of war may
be [lawfully] triable by such military commissions, provost
courts, or other military tribunals.“
Jurisdiction of military tribunals of one sort or another in hostile
occupied territory of a belligerent, whether foreign enemy or
insurgent or hostile Indian tribe‘9 ‚ is therefore undoubted. The
jurisdiction extends over civilians, whether hostile or neutral,9 „
and „the law of war, like the criminal law regarding other offenses,
makes no difference on account of the difference of sexes concerning
the spy, the war traitor, or the war rebel.“‚913
183 12 U. S. Stats. at L. 257, 284, 736, incorporated in U. S. Rev. Stats.
184 Act of Aug. 29, 1916, ch. 418, § 3, 39 U. S. Stats. at L. 650, U. S.
Comp. Stats. (1918 ed.) §§ 2308a, 2308a (1)-(121), 9 Fed. Stats. Ann. (2d ed.)
1243. Act of June 4, 1920, ch. 2, supra, n. 19.
18537 U. S. Stats. at L. 722, U. S. Comp. Stats. (1918 ed.) § 2308a
(8)-(41),.9 Fed. Stats. Ann. (2d ed.) 1256.
28 Supra, n. 184.
187 41 U. S. Stats. at L. 787, U. S. Comp. Stats. (1923 Sulpp.) § 2308a, Fed.
Stats. Ann (1920 Supp.) 330.
188 Art War 80.
289 Art. War 81.
190 Art. War 82.
191 Holmes v. Sheridan (1870) Fed. Cas. No. 6644, 1 Dill, 351.
192 Rules of Land Warfare, par. 428.
293 Gen. Orders, 100, Headquarters of the Army, 1863, Art. 102.
JURISDICTION OF MILITARY TRIBUNALS
III. MARTIAL LAw.
We are now ready to consider the third kind of military jurisdiction
described by Mr. Chief Justice Chase. He says that this „is to
be exercised in time of invasion or insurrection within the limits of
the United States, or during rebellion within the limits of states
maintaining adhesion to the National Government, when the public
danger requires its exercise. . . . [it] may be denominated martial
law proper, and is called into action by Congress, or temporarily,
when the action of Congress cannot be invited, and in the case of
justifying or excusing peril, by the President, in times of insurrection
or invasion, or of civil or foreign war, within districts or localities
where ordinary law no longer adequately secures safety and private
While the above classification is generally accepted, the statement
as to the manner in which martial law can be called into action, and
as to the jurisdiction of military tribunals thereunder was dictum in
a dissenting opinion, and has not established the law.
Some confusion results from a study of the authorities, by reason
of the fact that the term „martial law“ is not always used in the
same sense. In the British usage it includes both military government
and martial law as defined by Mr. Chief Justice Chase. In
some cases it is confused with military law. Sir Matthew Hale says:
„First, that in truth and reality it is not a law, but something
indulged, rather than allowed as a law. The necessity of govern-
.ment, order, and discipline in an army, is that only which can
give these laws a countenance; quod enim necesstas cogit defendi.
„Secondly, this indulged law, was only to extend to the members
of the Army, or those of the opposite army, and never was
so much indulged as intended to be exercised upon others . . .
„Thirdly, that the exercise of martial law, whereby any
person should lose his life, or member, or liberty, may not be
permitted in time of peace, when the king’s courts are open for
all persons to receive justice according to the laws of the land.‘ 95
And again he says, „that regularly, when the king’s courts are
open, it is a time of peace in judgment of law“.9 These passages
are cited with approval by Blackstone, 97 who further regrets that,
though express legislative sanction had been given for the exercise
294 Ex parte Milligan (1866) 71 U. S. (4 Wall.) 2, 142, 18 L. Ed. 281.
195 Hale, Common Law, 42.
296 1 Hale, Pl. Cr. 347.
19 1 BI. Comm. 413.
12 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW
of „martial law“ in capital cases, nevertheless Parliament still permitted
the king to denounce and fix the penalties for less serious
offenses committed by soldiers. Blackstone admitted that in view
of 1 Win. & M. s. 2 c. 2, „martial law“ could extend to soldiers in
time of peace. Both Hale and Blackstone were, then speaking of
„military law“190 — a military law which was „indulged, rather than
allowed as a law,“ but which was embodied in executive articles of
war dating back at least to the reign of Richard I (see the Articles
of various monarchs in 2 Grose, Military Antiquities); and which
Was first administered by the Court of the Constable and Marshall“
under customary authority as restricted by 8 Ric. 2, c. 5; 13 Id., c. 2;
and 1 Hen. 4, c. 14,2o‘ later by the Court of the Marshal;20± and
later by the court of war or court-martial under royal commission. 20 2
It appears, however, that from time to time attempts were made
to extend this jurisdiction beyond the army. Hale informs us that
Edmund of Kent“‚ and Thomas of Lancaster 2′ were taken in arms
against the king and condemned by a sort of military court, but that
their attainders were reversed by Parliament in 1 Edw. III, „for the
reason that no man ought to be adjudged to death for treason or for
any other offense without being arraigned and put to answer.“
Again we find the term in its proper sense used in the Petition
of Right of 3 Car. I, wherein it was prayed that no commission
should issue in England to proceed according to martial law. In
Grant v. Gould, 205 however, the term is used in the sense of „military
government“ or „martial law,“ as distinguished from „military law,“
and it was so used in Marais v. General Officer.20
Early cases in the United States exhibit similar confusion. The
case of Smith v. Shaw2°
7 uses the term in the sense of military
authority exercised in the immediate vicinity of the military forces,
in time of war, over spies; in other words, probably in the sense of
„military law“. In a number of cases it is used in the sense of
2s 8 Ops. Atty. Gen. 366.
199 1 Grose, Military Antiquities, 216, 227; 2 Id., 53.
200 2 Hawkins, P1. Cr. 12.
2012 Grose, Military Antiquities, 54, 86 et seq.; contra, 3 BI. Comm. 103;
Hale, Common Law, 40; 7 Mod. 127.
2022 Grose, Military Antiquities, 86 et seq., 124, 126, 137, 152.
203 Hale, Common Law, 42.
2041 Hale, P1. Cr. 347.
205 (1792) 2 Hen. Blackst. 99.
205  A. C. 109, 71 L. J. P. C. 42, 85 L. T. 734, 50 W. R 273, 18
T. L. R. 185.
207 (1815) 12 Johns. 257, 5 N. Y. Com. Law. Rep. 383.
JURISDICTION OF MILITARY TRIBUNALS
„military government,“ e.g., United States v. Diekelman, 08 Winter v.
Dickman,209 Jeffries v. State,2 10 Kimball v. Taylor 2 11 In many cases,
however, it is used conformably to the classification of Mr.
Chief Justice Chase.
The cases are not in accord, however, as to just what authority
exercised in the home territory constitutes martial law. Some consider
that it exists when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
is suspended, or -when the militia is called forth to enforce the laws
of the Union, or when the governor, pursuant to the provisions of
the State Constitution, declares that a state of insurrection exists
and sends in the militia to suppress the same. In Luther v. Borden212
the court, in upholding the power of the State of Rhode Island to
declare martial law, referred only to a resort to the laws and usages
of war, no more force being used than might be necessary, the parties
being answerable for excesses. On the other hand, the courts in
some cases have used the term to describe a condition of affairs in
which military forces either lawfully or unlawfully exercise jurisdiction
over matters usually confided to the judiciary. As the object
of this inquiry is to discover the extent of the jurisdiction of military
tribunals over civilians, we shall therefore omit from consideration
those cases which uphold the legality of „martial law,“ but which do
not decide anything bearing on the jurisdiction of military tribunals.
We have already noted that military tribunals may function
practically without restriction in hostile occupied territory-whether
that territory be that of a foreign foe or of a rebel treated as a
belligerent. May they function similarly in parts of the United
States not in belligerent rebellion? This question involves the following
considerations: What is the difference between a mere insurrection
and a belligerent rebellion? How is the existence of one
or the other condition determined? Under what conditions may the
guarantees of the Constitution against military trials be set aside
in parts of the home soil which are not in belligerent rebellion?
There are various decisions describing the difference between a
belligerent rebellion and a mere insurrection. Perhaps the following
quotations will serve to give an adequate idea:
„Several of these states have combined to form a new confederacy,
claiming to be recognized by the world as a sovereign
208 (1875) 92 U. S. 520, 23 L. Ed. 742.
209 (1868) 42 Ala. 92.
210 (1866) 39 Ala. 655.
211 (1874) Fed. Cas. No. 7775, 2 Woods, 37.
212 (1849) 48 U. S. (7 How.) 1, 12 L. Ed. 581.
12 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW
state …. It is no loose, unorganized insurrection, having no
defined boundaries or possessions. It has a boundary marked by
lines of bayonets and which can be crossed only by force; south
of this line is enemies‘ territory; because it is claimed and held in
possession by an organized, hostile, and belligerent power.“21 s
„When the regular course of justice is interrupted by revolt,
rebellion, or insurrection, so that the Courts of Justice cannot
be kept open, civil war exists and hostilities may be prosecuted
on the same footing as if those opposing the Government were
foreign enemies invading the land.“214
„There is a very great distinction between insurrection and
war. It is this: war is an act of sovereignty, real or assumed;
insurrection is not; war makes enemies of the inhabitants of
the contending states; but insurrection does not put beyond the
pale of friendship the innocent in the affected district. War
creates the rights and duties of belligerency, which to a mere
insurrection are unknown. Doubtless an insurrection may
become war, as was the case with the Great Rebellion; but it
does not become so in the legal sense until the rebellious party
assumes legal form.“21 5
If, then, a state of war is different from a state of insurrection,
by whom may a state of civil war be recognized? The courts follow
the decisions of the political branches of the Federal government
on this question.218 Whether or not the political branches of a
State government can recognize a condition of civil war, so as to
accord to the insurrectionary party belligerent rights, and so as
to itself acquire the power to set aside the guarantees of the State
Constitution in.th e affected region, is a disputed question. The
Federal Constitution provides:
„No state shall, without the consent of Congress, …. engage
in war, unless actually invaded or in such imminent danger as
will not admit of delay.“21 ‚
That the term „invaded“ does not include insurrection or other
domestic violence is indicated by the use of the terms, „insurrections“
and „invasions“ side by side in Article I, section 8, of „rebellion“
and „invasion“ in section 9, and of „invasion“ and „domestic
violence“ in Article IV, section 4. The „imminent danger“ under
which a State may engage in war is not defined, but some help
23 The Prize Cases (1862) 67 U. S. (2 Black) 635, 673.
4 The Prize Cases (1862) 67 U. S. (2 Black) 635, 667.
215 Ex parte McDonald (1914) 49 Mont. 454, 474, 143 Pac. 947, L. R. A.
1915B 988, Ann. Cas. 1916A 1166.
218 Sutton v. Tiller (1869) 6 Cold. (Tenn.) 593, 98 Am. Dec. 471; U. S.
v. One Hundred and Twenty-nine Packages (1862) Fed. Cas. No. 15,941;
The Prize Cases (1862) 67 U. S. (2 Black) 635.
217 U. S. Const., Art. I, § 10.
JURISDICTION OF MILITARY TRIBUNALS 169
may be obtained from the history of the section above quoted. It
first appeared in the Articles of Confederation, where it read:
„No State shall engage in any war without the consent of
the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be
actually invaded by enemies, or shall have received certain advice
of a resohltion being formed by some nation of Indians to invade
such State, and the danger is so imminent as not to admit of a
delay till the United States in Congress assembled can be
consulted; . . .“218
Unless, then, it be held that the Constitution has materially
amplified the war-making powers of the states over what they were
under the Confederation, it would appear that no state may transmute
a domestic disturbance or insurrection into a war, so as to
acquire for itself belligerent powers in the disturbed area.2 1 9 The
statement in Luther v. Borden220 that the State of Rhode Island
resorted to the rights and usages of war during Dorr’s Rebellion
does not seem to have been necessary to the decision in the case. In
Kentucky it has been held that the Federal government is the only
sovereign in this country for recognizing belligerent rights.22
West Virginia, however, it has been held that the governor may
declare that a state of war exists; that such declaration is reviewable
only by the legislature under impeachment proceedings; and that
during such a state of war the military forces of the state may, under
the governor’s orders, exercise belligerent powers in the affected
area, including the right to try civilians by military commission, for
offenses committed in an interim of peace between two periods of
„war“. 222 The court arrived at this decision in spite of the following
provisions of the State Constitution.
„The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be
„…. no citizen, unless engaged in the military service of the
State, shall be tried or punished by any military court, for any
offense that is cognizable by the civil courts of the State.“22‚
„The provisions of the Constitution of the United States, and
of this State, are operative alike in a period of war as in time
218 Articles of Confederation, Art. VI.
219 See Ballantine, Military Dictatorship in California and West Virginia,
1 Ca2l2if0o rnia Law Review, 413, 424. Supra, n. 212.
221 Price vs Poynter (1866) 1 Bush (Ky.) 387; Bell v. L. & N. R. R. Co.
(1866) 1 Bush (Ky.) 404.
222 State ex rel. Mays v. Brown (1912) 71 W. Va. 519, 77 S. . 243,
45 L. R. A. (N. S.) 996, Ann. Cas. 1914C 1; Ex parte Jones (1913) 71 W. Va.
567, 77 S. F_ 1029,45 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1030, Ann. Cas. 1914C 31.
22 W. Va. Const, Art 3, § 4.
224 Id., Art. 3, § 12.
12 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW
of peace, and any departure therefrom, or violation, thereof, under
the plea of necessity, or any other plea, is subversive of good
government, and-tends to anarchy and despotism.“ 225
This disregard of the Constitution appears to be logical, if we
grant the premise that the state may engage in civil war, as does
also the decision that this jurisdiction is dependent on military
occupation in actual war ;226 but the disregard in the Mays case of
the fact that civil courts were open in unaffected parts of the same
county, and in the Jones case of the fact that petitioner was brought
from an unaffected district into the military zone for trial, can not
be so easily reconciled with our theory of government.
It appears settled, then, that the Federal government, through
its political branches, may recognize the existence of civil war in a
legal sense in a defined area, and may conduct military government
therein. We must leave it as an unsettled question whether the
political branches of a state government may do the same thing.
We have now to consider under what conditions military trials of
civilians may be held in parts of the country retaining their
allegiance, or, in other words, whether or not such trials may be
held under „martial law“.
The Constitution of the United States gives little help on this
question. The term „martial law“ is not mentioned, nor is any
exception made to the prohibitions of the Fifth and Sixth amendments
other than the one discussed under the head of „military law“.
Power is granted to suspend the writ of habeas corpus „when in
cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
This suspension is a legislative function.228 The President can not
suspend the privilege of the writ without the authority of Congress.
229 The writ itself is not suspended, but issues as a matter of
course, and the court determines whether the petitioner comes within
the terms of the suspension. 20 But this power of suspension does
not legalize an unlawful arrest or imprisonment,231 nor can Congress
deprive anyone of other remedies therefor.2 32
Congress cannot suspend the issuing of the writ by a state
225 W. Va. Const, Art. I. § 3.
226 Ex parte Lavinder (1921) 88 W. Va. 713, 108 S. E. 428.
227 U. S. Const., Art. I, § 9.
228 Ex parte Merryman (1861) Fed. Cas. No. 9487, Taney, 246.
229Ex parte Benedict (1862) Fed. Cas. No. 1292; In re Kemp (1863)
16 Wis. 382; 8 Ops. Atty. Gen. 372.
230 Ex parte Milligan (1866) 71 U. S. (4 Wall.) 2, 18 L. Ed. 281.
231 Griffin v. Wilcox'(1863) 21 Ind. 383.
232 Johnson v. Jones (1867) 44 Ill. 142.
JURISDICTION OF MILITARY TRIBUNALS
court,28 nor does the restriction of Article I, section 9 of the Federal
Constitution, apply to the states.234 The constitutions of various
states, however, contain similar provisions. 235
In some few cases state constitutions authorize the governor to
declare martial law. For example, in New Hampshire, „No person
can in any case be subjected to law martial or to any pains or
penalties by virtue of that law, except those employed in the army
or navy, and except the militia in actual service, but by authority
of the legislature.“ 2 6 Again, „. . . the governor shall not at any
time hereafter . . . grant commissions for exercising the law martial
in any case without the advice and consent of the council.123
Provisions similar to the former appear in the constitutions of
Massachusetts 2 8 and of South Carolina.239 The Constitution of
Rhode Island provides, „… . and the law martial shall be used and
exercised in such cases only as occasion shall necessarily require.“240
The Organic Act of the Territory of Hawaii provides, „That the
governor . . . may, in case of rebellion or invasion, or imminent
danger thereof, when the public safety requires it, suspend the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Territory, or any
part thereof, under martial law until communication can be had
with the President and his decision thereon made known.“24‚ The
constitutions of the other states and territories appear to be silent
on the subject. A declaration of martial law in conformity with
state law does not conflict with the Federal Constitution.242
Martial law may, then, exist under the Constitution in New
Hampshire, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Rhode Island, lanl
Hawaii, though in only one of them is there an adjudication to the
effect that the declaration warrants trial of civilians by military
tribunals. In the old Republic of Hawaii, whose Constitution contained
a provision similar to the one above quoted, it was held that
233 Griffin v. Wilcox, supra, n. 231.
2 34 Gasquet v. Lapeyre (1916) 242 U. S. 367, 61 L. Ed. 367, 37 Sup. Ct.
235 E. g., Cal. Const, Art. I, § 5.
2-6 N. H. Const, Art 34.
237N. H. Const, Art. 50.
238 Mass. Const., Pt I, Art. XXVIII.
-9 S. C. Const., Art. I, § 25.
240 R. I. Const., Art. I, § 18.
241T. H. Organic Act, § 67, Act of Apr. 30, 1900, ch. 339, § 68, 31 U. S.
Stats. at L. 153, U. S. Comp. Stats. (1918 ed.) § 3708, 3 Fed. Stats. Ann.
(2d ed.) 510.
242Luther v. Burden, supra, n. 212; Despan v. Olney (1852) Fed. Cas.
No. 3, 822, 1 Curt. 306; U. S. ex rel. Seymour v. Fischer (1922) 280 Fed. 208;
U. S. ex rel. McMaster v. Wolters (1920) 268 Fed. 69.
12 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW
when the President of the Republic in his discretion declared martial
law he might authorize trials by military commission, and that such
trials might continue even after the courts were open if the state
of war still continued.24 3 Such trials do not contravene the Federal
Constitution if in conformity with State law.2 4
The Hawaiian case, however, is not decisive as to trials under
the authority of the United States, nor under the authority of states
whose constitutions do not provide for any suspension of ordinary
law or of the ordinary civil rights. In these jurisdictions, if such a
power exists, it must be because of a law superior to the Constitution.
Is there such a law?
Little help can be secured from English cases. In Grant v.
Gould 24“ a dictum of the court stated that martial law had been
exploded in England for over a century. Yet in Marais v. General
6 martial law was allowed to exist in time of foreign war
in a colony where the courts were open. Further, as Parliament is
not subject to the inhibitions of a written constitution, it could
doubtless establish trial by martial law if it so pleased. It appears
to have done so in the recent Defense of the Realm Act.24 7
In considering the American cases on this subject we are at
once struck by the large number of decisions in which the court,
by way of dictum, asserted that martial law might exist, and military
trials be held, under circumstances other than those before the court,
and the small number of decisions on the precise point. This
discussion will, as far as possible, avoid reference to the dicta.
At the outset, we find it clearly established by the leading case
of Ex parte Milligan 248 that even during civil war, and under
threatened invasion, in loyal territory where the courts are open
martial law cannot prevail, and persons not subject to military law
are not subject to trial by military tribunals. Not even a declaration
of martial law can abrogate the Constitution.249 The governor of‘
a territory cannot suspend the law and substitute military for civil
authority.50 The only cases directly to the contrary seem to be in
2 4 8
In re Kalanianole (1895) 10 Hawaii, 29.
24 U. S. ex rel. Seymour v. Fischer, supra, n. 242; U. S. ex rel. McMasters
v. Wolters, supra, n. 242.
245 (1792) 2 Hen. Blaekst. 99. 246Supra, n. 206.
247 4 and 5 Geo. V, c. 29. 248 Supra, n. 230.
249Johnson v. Duncan (1815) 3 Mart. 0. S. (La.) 530; Com. v. Palmer
(1866) 65 Ky. 570; Corbin v. Marsh (1865) 63 Ky. 193.
250 8 Ops. Atty. Gen. 374.
JURISDICTION OF MILITARY TRIBUNALS
In re Kalanianole,25 1 and Ex parte Vallandigham 52 The former,
however, turned on a provision in the Constitution of the Republic
of Hawaii, and the latter turned on a question of the jurisdiction
of the Supreme Court of the United States to issue a certiorari to
a military commission. The majority decision in the Milligan case
may be taken as settled law. In accord therewith are: In re Egan,2 53
in which it was held that a military commission could not try a
civilian for homicide in a rebellious state after the reestablishment
of civil government; Griffin v. Wilcox2 54 where it was held that
military authorities could not establish regulations where the courts
were open, and arrest civilians for violation. thereof; Smith v.
Shaw,255 where it was held that a military court could not try
civilians for treason; and Matter of Martin,25 6 where it was held that
crimes could not be tried by military tribunals outside the theater
But these cases are not decisive as to circumstances in which the
courts are closed, by an uprising not amounting to belligerency.
Can military courts assume jurisdiction of civilians in such cases?
The following cases appear at first glance to uphold the affirmative
of this proposition: In re Ezeta, 25
T Ex parte Mudd,258 United
States ex rel. Seymour v. Fischer,2 59 United States ex rel. McMaster
v. Wolters, 260 and State ex rel. Mays v. Brown.2 1 In the Ezeta case,
however, the court had before it the question of the jurisdiction of
military courts during a „state of siege“ in the Republic of Salvador,
and the decision turned on the law of that Republic which specifically
authorized such jurisdiction. In the Seymour and McMaster cases
the military court was appointed by State authority; the Federal
court in each case said that the governor had power by virtue of
his power to declare and suppress a state of insurrection, to declare
martial law and to order that civilians be tried by military tribunals;
the court in the Seymour case said that the sentence of a military
court did not expire with the termination of the condition of martial
law; but the reasoning confused military government with martial
2 1Supra, n. 243.
252 (1863) 68 U. S. (1 Wall.) 243.
253 (1866) Fed. Cas. No. 4303, 5 Blatchf. 319.
254 (1863) 21 Ind. 383.
20 (1815) 12 Johns. (N. Y.) 257.
256 (1865) 45 Barb. (N. Y.) 142.
257 (1894) 62 Fed. 972.
258 (1868) Fed. Cas. No. 9,899.
259 Supra, n. 242.
260 Supra, n. 242.
261 Supra, n. 222.
12 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW
law, and the actual decision of each case was something very different
from that indicated by the reasoning; the McMaster case
merely decided that a military trial under State authority did not
contravene the due process clause or the trial by jury clause of
the Federal Constitution, and the Seymour case decided that such
a trial under such circumstances did not contravene the due process
clause of the Federal Constitution provided it did not violate state
law. In the Mudd case, the court appears, from the reporter’s
syllabus, to have held that murder of the President in time of civil
war is triable by military commission, Unfortunately the case is
not reported at length, and it does not appear what question was
before the court, what was the status of the petitioner, whether he
was a principal or an accessory, or whether his act connecting him
with the murder was committed in hostile occupied territory. The
Mays case, as above noted, was decided on the theory that the
State can engage in civil war and can exercise belligerent powers
on the soil of the enemy; though the term „martial law“ was used
in the decision, the case is not authority on the question now under
On the other hand, In Ex parte McDonald 2 2 the Supreme Court
of Montana held that, while the military forces of the State might,
in a state of insurrection, detain prisoners until it should be judged
safe to hand them over to the civil authorities, nevertheless the
power of the governor to suppress insurrection did not include the
power to abrogate the right of trial by jury, nor to authorize the
trial of civilians by military commission. In accord is Ex parte
Of course, the McDonald case does not establish the law for the
whole United States. It may be that future decisions will clearly
uphold the, power of a state to engage in civil war, and exercise
belligerent powers within affected districts; if so, a sea-coast state
should have the right to establish a blockade of its ports which may
be in rebel control; contracts between inhabitants of loyal districts
and of disloyal districts might be suspended; all the inhabitants of
the former might be enemies of inhabitants of the latter; and neutrals
as well as citizens in the rebellious soil might be subject to trial by
military tribunals under the law of war. It may be that this doctrine
will be repudiated. If it is repudiated, and if a state may exercise
only sovereign, and not belligerent, rights, in a district in insurrec-
262 Supra, n. 215.
268 (1870) 64 N. C. 802.
JURISDICTION OF MILITARY TRIBUNALS 175
tion, even then it may be held that constitutional authority for martial
law is unnecessary; that salus populi is suprema Iez, and hence
superior to the Constitution; that with or without a formal declaration
of martial law the Executive authority may, where insurrection
in fact exists, dispense with trial by jury before the duly constituted
courts; and that the otherwise unconstitutional acts of the agents
of the government may not subsequently be reviewed by the courts.
Hitherto, however, the decisions have not gone that far. It may
well be questioned whether on principle they should go that far.
It is undoubtedly true that all the powers of sovereignty reside
somewhere in the state, except such as have been granted to the
Federal government or prohibited to the state in the Federal
Constitution. The power to suspend the Bill of Rights does not
appear (except as heretofore noted) to have been granted to any
agency of the Federal government or to any agency of any state.
May not the power to establish martial law remain dormant in the
people, to be resumed by them at will by a constitutional amendment?
May not the people determine in advance what shall be their
,supremlae x? Can it be maintained that the Executive of a state
may govern on the assumption that tfie Constitution has been set
aside, when, but for the Constitution, he himself has no official
existence? „The Constitution of the United States is a law for
rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the
shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times and under all
circumstances.“126‚ „If a subject be taken in rebellion, he is to be
tried afterwards and by the common law.125 „What the Constitution
prohibits, war cannot legalize. ’28
If it be agreed that jurisdiction under martial law cannot be
established as a matter of law on the soil of any sovereignty with
whose constitution it is in conflict, it does not necessarily follow
that every act done by officers of such government in suppression
of insurrection which fails to conform to the provisions of law
relating to personal liberty is criminal or actionable. In Kentucky,
it is true, it is held that members of the militia when lawfully called
into service by the governor have only the powers of peace
officers. 8 7 This appears to be the view of Professor H. W. Ballan.
tine, who says: „As a matter of common law, therefore, the powers
264 Ex parte Milligan (1866) 71 U. S. (4 Wall.) 2, 120, 18 L. Ed. 281.
26 Ex parte McDonald, 49 Mont 454, 468, supra n. 215, quoting from a
debate in Parliament on the Petition of Right.
w8eC orbin v. Marsh (1865) 63 Ky. 193, 195.
287 Franks v. Smith (1911) 142 Ky. 232, 134 S. W. 484.
12 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW
of the military would seem to be preventive, defensive, and ministerial,
with no authority to issue orders to citizens generally, or to
punish those who disobey commands or commit offenses.““
Except for the last clause, however, this does not seem to be in
accord with the general trend of decisions. In the Federal, and in
perhaps all of the state Constitutions, there are provisions which
either expressly or impliedly authorize the Executive to use the
military forces to enforce the law. These forces may at times have
to take drastic action. Aside from those cases in which state laws
provide immunity from prosecution or action for acts done in pursuance
of militia duty, there are numerous cases in which the courts
have refused redress to the party complaining of such acts. In
Ex parte Field 2 9 a marshal who, by direction of the President,
disobeyed a writ of habeas corpus issued in a state which was not
in the theater of war was fined for contempt. In McCall v.
McDowell2 70 a subordinate officer obeying the order of his superior
to execute an unwarranted arrest in a state not in insurrection was
exonerated, while the superior was held liable in damages to the
party arrested. But in In re Boyle,271 and In re Moyer 272 and
Ex parte McDonald,2 7
3 the court refused to release on habeas corpus
a petitioner who was held by the military while engaged in suppressing
an insurrection. It appeared that the detention of the petitioner
was a necessary means of restoring order, and the order of the
governor that the writ be disregarded was held justified. In
Ex parte Moore274 while the court declined to express itself as to
whether the governor’s order was justified, it exonerated the military
officer who obeyed the governor and disobeyed the writ. In Moyer
v. Peabody275 the court held that detention of a prisoner arrested
during a state of insurrection without a warrant, by state authority,
did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution,
there being no abuse of power. In the Boyle and Moyer cases
it appeared that. the governor had declared a state of insurrection.
The state courts held that they could not inquire into the existence
2685 Journal American Institute Criminal Law and Criminology, 740;
24 Yale Law Journal, 189, 212.
269 (1862) Fed. Cas. No. 4,761, 5 Blatchf. 63.
270 (1867) Fed. Cas. No. 8,673, Deady, 233, 1 Abb. (U. S.) 212.
271 (1899) 61 Idaho, 609, 57 Pac. 706.
272 (1904) 35 Colo. 159, 85 Pac. 190.
272 Supra, n. 215.
274 Supra, n. 263.
275 (1906) 148 Fed. 870, affirmed in (1909) 212 U. S. 78, 53 L. Ed. 410,
29 Sup. Ct. Rep. 235.
JURISDICTION OF MILITARY TRIBUNALS
of an insurrection, since in those states the constitution authorized
such a declaration by the governor, and made it a prerequisite to
the calling forth of the militia. They did, however, inquire into
the necessity of the detention, and decided the cases on the grounds
of necessity and not on the grounds of the governor’s declaration.
In Commonwealth ex rel. Wadsworth v. Shortall,178 where it did
not appear that a similar declaration was required, relator was held
,entitled to release on habeas corpus when charged with a homicide
committed under military orders while on duty as a militiaman in
suppressing an insurrection, the order being apparently lawful and
its issuance being apparently necessary. In re Fair,27 7 a homicide
committed by a Federal soldier without malice under orders which
were not plainly illegal was held to be not an offense against the
state (whatever may have been the responsibility of the officer
issuing the order). In Luther v. Borden7 8 a militiaman engaged in
suppressing insurrection was not liable for trespass in breaking and
entering plaintiff’s house and effecting an arrest. The rule in these
cases seems to be this: neither a military subordinate nor the
executive nor the legislature can assume to disregard the writ of
habeas corpus except as authorized by the Constitution, nor can
the executive or any military subordinate authorize arrests, searches,
or seizures by a mere declaration of a condition of affairs or of a
type of law paramount to the Constitution. But just as the individual
may justify trespass, or even homicide, in self defense on the ground
of necessity, so the agents of the state may justify what would otherwise
be tort or even crime on the ground of necessity in defense of
the state. The justification is not proclaimed as a matter of law,
but is a matter of fact in each case.2 79 It was in accord with this
doctrine that the Supreme Court of Montana held detention by
the military, in a given case, necessary and military trials
With reference to the right and duty of defending the commonwealth
against its enemies, when there is war within the realm, Sir
Frederick Pollock says:
„First, it is not a matter of prerogative, but appertains to all
lawful men. Secondly, it is not specially vested in military
officers, though they may often be the most proper persons to
278 (1903) 206 Pa. 165, 55 Atl. 952.
277 (1900) 100 Fed. 149.
278 Supra, n. 212. 2 79 McLaughlin v. Green (1874) 150 Miss. 453. 2 80Ex parte McDonald, supra, n. 215.
12 CALIFORNIA LAW RE-VIEW
exercise it. Thirdly, its exercise requires to be justified on every
occasion by the necessity of the case.1281
If by „war“ he means „insurrection,“ he is fully in accord with
what appears to be the American doctrine. He further says:
„So-called martial law . . . is an unlucky name for the
justification by the common law of acts done by necessity for
the defense of the Commonwealth when there is war within
the realm.128 2
Tested in this light, it is difficult to see how trial of civilians in
the home territory by military commission under „martial law,“ can,
as a matter of fact be justified. The military forces, like peace
officers, may, to accomplish their lawful errand, find it necessary to
trespass upon property, to seize weapons, or to detain, or even to
commit homicide upon an insurgent in flagrante delictq; they may
have to go farther than peace officers may do, and refuse, for the
time being, to obey the order of a court to vacate the property, to
restore the weapons, or to free the prisoner; but it is difficult to see
how they can justify, on the grounds of necessity, an unlawful trial
and sentence of a prisoner already taken. If the prisoner is innocent,
he is not deserving of punishment; and he is entitled to have his
guilt or innocence determined in the forms prescribed by law. It is
the function of the military forces to hold the prisoner until order
is restored and he can be safely turned over to the civil authorities
for trial. Martial law prevents, but it does not punish.288
L. K. Underhill,
Major, Infantry, United States Army.
28118 Law Quarterly Review, 152, 153.
282 Id. 156.
288 Contra, Birkhimer, Military Government and Martial Law, 525 et seq.