In Baker v. Grice, 169 U.S. 284, 290, an appeal from the final order of the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Texas, in habeas corpus, it was said:
"The court below had jurisdiction to issue the writ and to decide the questions which were argued before it. Ex parte Royall, 117 U.S. 241; Whitten v. Tomlinson, 160 U.S. 231. In the latter case most of the prior authorities are mentioned. From these cases it clearly appears, as the settled and proper procedure, that while Circuit Courts of the United States have jurisdiction, under the circumstances set forth in the foregoing statement, to issue the writ of habeas corpus, yet those courts ought not to exercise that jurisdiction by the discharge of a prisoner unless in cases of peculiar urgency, and that instead of discharging they will leave the prisoner to be dealt with by the courts of the State; that after a final determination of the case by the state court, the Federal courts will even then generally leave the petitioner to his remedy by writ of error from
The rule thus declared is well settled and, in our judgment, it was properly applied in this case. Crowley was a citizen of Pennsylvania, not in the service of the United States, and was killed in or near a street of the city of Pittsburgh, and not on property belonging to the United States or over which the United States had jurisdiction.
The homicide occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of the Court of Oyer and Terminer, which, as Judge Acheson observed, was the only civil court which could have jurisdiction to try petitioners for the alleged unlawful killing, and the indictment presented a case cognizable by that court.
The general jurisdiction in time of peace of the civil courts of a State over persons in the military service of the United States, who are accused of a capital crime or of any offense against the person of a citizen, committed within the State, is, of course, not denied.
But it is contended on behalf of the Government that the state court was absolutely without jurisdiction to try petitioners for the killing of Crowley, because the homicide was committed
The Circuit Court was not called on to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. That was for the state court if it had jurisdiction, and this the state court had, even though it was petitioners' duty to pursue and arrest Crowley (assuming that he had stolen pieces of copper), if the question of Crowley being a fleeing felon was open to dispute on the evidence; that is, if that were the gist of the case, it was for the state court to pass upon it, and its doing so could not be collaterally attacked. The assertion that Crowley was resisting arrest and in flight when shot was matter of defense, and Ex parte Crouch, 112 U.S. 178, is in point.
We have repeatedly held that the acts of Congress in relation to habeas corpus do not imperatively require the Circuit Courts to wrest petitioners from the custody of state officers in advance of trial in the state courts, and that those courts may decline to discharge in the proper exercise of discretion. We think that discretion was properly exercised in this case.
Final order affirmed.