MR. JUSTICE MILLER delivered the opinion of the court.
This is a petition by Charles Mason Lane, addressed to the original jurisdiction of this court, for a writ of habeas corpus. Upon the filing of the petition a rule was issued upon Charles H. Case, warden of the penitentiary of the State of Kansas, who, it was alleged, held the petitioner in unlawful imprisonment. Case made a return to this rule, in which he said that the prisoner was held under a mittimus issued from the office of the clerk of the District Court of the United States in and for the District of Kansas, and accompanying the return was a certified copy of the proceedings in that court under which Lane was held. From this it appears that the following indictment was found in that court at its September term, 1889:
"The United States of America, District of Kansas, ss:
"In the District Court of the said United States in and for the
said district, September term, 1889.
"At the term of the District Court of the United States of America in and for the said District of Kansas, begun and held
"[Endorsed:] No. —; The United States v. Charles Lane; rape, sec. 5345; J. Hoopes, foreman; a true bill, J. Hoopes, foreman; witnesses, Wm. H. Skeed (Oklahoma City, I.T.), Frances M. Skeed, Dr. I.W. Benipe, N.T. Ross, Rosa Skeed, Dr. H.C. Hunter (Dodd City, Texas); filed September 6, 1889; J.C. Wilson, clerk."
Under the plea of not guilty, a trial was had on this indictment, in which the jury rendered the following verdict: "We, the jury in the above-entitled cause duly empanelled and sworn,
Some kind of certificate appears to have been made after this to transfer the case to the Circuit Court of the United States, where it came before Brewer, Circuit Judge, who delivered an opinion in it concurring informally with the judgment of the District Court, which is found as an appendix to the brief of the counsel for the government.
The counsel for petitioner has argued the case before us as if every error that may possibly be found in the ruling of the District Court in the progress of the case was a sufficient ground to release the prisoner on this writ of habeas corpus. It has been often reiterated in this court that the writ of habeas corpus cannot be converted into a writ of error, and that this court, when asked to issue a writ of habeas corpus as of its original jurisdiction, can do so only when the inferior court has acted without jurisdiction, or has exceeded its powers to the prejudice of the party seeking relief.
There is really but one question out of the several grounds of relief sought in this case that is a proper subject for this court. By the act of Congress approved February 9, 1889, c. 120, 25 Stat. 658, under which defendant is indicted and convicted, it is provided: "That every person who shall carnally and unlawfully know any female under the age of sixteen years, or who shall be accessory to such carnal and unlawful knowledge before the fact, in the District of Columbia or other place, except the territories, over which the United States has exclusive jurisdiction; or on any vessel within the admiralty or maritime jurisdiction of the United States, and out of the
The offence with which the petitioner is here charged is alleged in the indictment to have been committed within that part of the Indian Territory commonly known as Oklahoma, and it is alleged in the indictment that this is a district of country under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States and within the jurisdiction of the District Court of Kansas. The counsel for prisoner contend that this is a territory within the exception of the act of Congress of 1889; that therefore this act does not apply to the case; and that, there being no other act of Congress punishing a party for carnal and unlawful knowledge of a female under the age of sixteen years, the court was without jurisdiction to try or to sentence the prisoner. But we think the words "except the territories" have reference exclusively to that system of organized government long existing within the United States, by which certain regions of the country have been erected into civil governments. These governments have an executive, a legislative and a judicial system. They have the powers which all these departments of government have exercised, which are conferred upon them by act of Congress, and their legislative acts are subject to the disapproval of the Congress of the United States. They are not in any sense independent governments; they have no Senators in Congress and no representatives in the lower house of that body, except what are called delegates, with limited functions. Yet they exercise nearly all the powers of government, under what are generally called organic acts passed by Congress conferring such powers on them. It is this class of governments, long known by the name of Territories, that the act of Congress excepts from the operation of this statute, while it extends it to all other places over which the United States have exclusive jurisdiction.
Oklahoma was not of this class of Territories. It had no legislative body. It had no government. It had no established
It is next objected that the indictment is bad, inasmuch as it contains the double charge of a rape at common law and of the statutory offence under the act of February 9, 1889; and it is quite obvious that both these offences can be made out from the language of the indictment, which is in a single count. The allegation that the offence was by violence and against the will of the woman, with the other allegations in the indictment, describe the offence of rape. The allegation that the defendant had carnal knowledge of a female under sixteen years of age makes out the offence under the statute of 1889. But the view of the court was, that the allegation that the carnal knowledge was against the will of the woman may be rejected as surplusage, and the rest of the indictment be good under the statute referred to. And, as the court instructed the jury in accordance with that view of the subject, and as the jury found the prisoner guilty not of the crime of rape but of the smaller crime of carnal knowledge of a female under sixteen years of age, the action of the court on that subject was probably correct. At all events, the court had jurisdiction of the prisoner, and it had jurisdiction both of the offence of rape and of carnal knowledge of a female under sixteen years of age. It was its duty to decide whether there was a sufficient indictment to subject the party to trial for either or for both of these offences. As no motion was made to compel the prosecuting attorney to elect on which of the charges he would try the prisoner, we think that there was no error in its rulings on this subject. If there were, it was not an error which went to the jurisdiction of the court to try and sentence the prisoner.
It is urged that there is an indictment now pending against the prisoner for the same offence, charged only as carnal knowledge of a female under sixteen years of age, and that the present indictment is so ambiguous that the trial and conviction
An objection is made to the indictment that it was not signed by the district attorney of the United States; but, as the indictment was found by the grand jury, and endorsed as a true bill by the foreman, and filed in open court according to law, we do not see that there is any error on that subject, certainly none which goes to the jurisdiction of the court. See Commonwealth v. Stone, 105 Mass. 469.
It is said that the indictment was fatally defective because it did not sufficiently apprise the prisoner of the nature of the offence for which he was to be tried. But he was tried and convicted for carnally and unlawfully knowing a female under the age of sixteen years. This was succinctly and clearly set out in the indictment as the charge, or one of the charges, against him, which he must have known he was to meet, and we do not think the objection has any merit.
There may be other objections made by counsel, to the proceedings under which the prisoner was convicted, but none of them rise to the dignity of questioning the jurisdiction of the court. The rule upon the warden of the penitentiary is, therefore, discharged and a writ of habeas corpus