The Supreme Court of Kansas has held in this case that the statute under which the plaintiff in error was sentenced to be imprisoned for a contempt of court was a valid statute, and did not violate either the constitution of the State or of the Federal Government.
One portion of the statute in question has already been passed upon by this court and decided to be a valid provision as construed by the state court. Smiley v. Kansas, 196 U.S. 447. The decision in that case has no application to the section involved herein.
It is contended on the part of the plaintiff in error that the court below denied to him the protection of section 10 of the bill of rights of the constitution of Kansas, and also denied to him the benefit of the provision of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, that no person should be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself, and also that he has been deprived of the benefit of the Fourteenth Amendment. We are bound by the decision of the Supreme Court of Kansas that the statute in question violated no provision of the constitution of that State, and that it was a valid statute so far as that instrument was concerned. This doctrine is familiar, and a few of the many cases upon the subject are cited in Smiley v. Kansas, 196 U.S. supra.
It has been so frequently held, as not to warrant the citation of many authorities, that the first ten amendments to the
The plaintiff in error, however, contends that the denial of his claim of right to refuse to answer the questions was in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and deprived him of his liberty without due process of law. This, in reality, is the sole question in the case. He contends that the immunity granted by the state statute, while enforcing the giving of testimony which may incriminate the party interrogated, as a violator of that statute, is not (and could not be) broad enough to provide immunity from prosecution under the Federal anti-trust statute, and that compelling him to answer questions under such circumstances, which might incriminate him as a violator of the Federal anti-trust statute, and upon his refusal condemning him to imprisonment, deprived him of his liberty without due process of law, within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the statute is therefore void. The state statute could not, of course, prevent a prosecution of the same party under the United States statute, and it could not prevent the testimony given by the party in the State proceeding from being used against the same person in a Federal court for a violation of the Federal statute, if it could be imagined that such prosecution would be instituted under such circumstances. Is this fact fatal to the proceeding? We think not. Assuming for this purpose that if the statute failed to give sufficient immunity from prosecution or punishment, it would violate the Fourteenth Amendment, and that an imprisonment by virtue of the statute would be depriving the witness of his liberty, without due process of law, we come to an examination of the extent of the immunity in this case.
The Supreme Court of Kansas has held in this case that in the proceeding under the section in question the witness can only be asked material questions relating to information regarding any alleged violation of the statute relating to transactions within the State, and that it would not be material, and consequently not permissible, to ask a witness in relation to matters of interstate commerce, which might constitute a violation of the Federal anti-trust act. Therefore, the opinion continued, if in the course of an examination properly made, in regard to transactions within the State, information should incidentally be given which might possibly be used in a prosecution under the Federal act; such possible prosecution did not operate as a reason for permitting the witness to refuse to
We are of opinion that no Federal right of the plaintiff in error has been violated, and the judgment of the Supreme Court of Kansas must, therefore, be
MR. JUSTICE BREWER and MR. JUSTICE McKENNA dissented.