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§ 601. THE several States of this Union are independent nations, except as to things concerning which they have surrendered their sovereignty to the United States.1 To what extent the government of a State can exercise jurisdiction over its citizens beyond its local limits 2 is doubtful. We must suppose, that it can have no authority upon the high seas; because there is the point of contact with other nations, and all international questions belong to the general government. There is room for doubt also, whether, in all cases in which a citizen goes out of his own State, though not intending to abandon his domicil, he is not so far a subject of the United States in distinction from the particular State he left, as to be exempt from the criminal laws of the latter, and answerable only to those of the locality where he is, and of the general government. In a Virginia case, however, the court took the contrary view.3 In North Carolina it was said: "This State cannot declare, that an act done in Virginia [another State], by a citizen of Virginia, shall be criminal and punishable in this State; our penal laws can only extend to the limits of this State, except as to our own citizens. A case before some of the judges of New York goes apparently to the full extent, that the legislature of one

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1 Ante, § 568; The State v. Bartlett, 11 Vt. 650.

2 See ante, § 576-583.

3 Commonwealth v. Gaines, 2 Va. Cas. 172.

The State v. Knight, 2 Hayw. 109, 1 Taylor, 65.

State cannot make any act indictable done in another State, even by one of its own citizens.1

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§ 602. We may also doubt, whether a command from the authorities of one of the States of this Union will justify, in another State, the citizen of the commanding State who there does an act violative of its laws; in other words, whether the doctrine on this subject discussed some sections back, as an international question, applies between the States. The federal constitution has shorn the States of diplomatic and war-making authority; and therefore the reason of the doctrine does not apply where the command comes from the supreme power of a State.3

§ 603. Questions have arisen, concerning the power of the States to extend their jurisdiction over Indian territory within their limits, and concerning the power of congress to exercise the federal jurisdiction over Indian territory within the States; but, as these questions are not of universal interest, it will be sufficient for us simply to refer to the adjudications. The right, attempted in the cases to be carried out, has been held to lie in the States, not in the United States.

§ 603 a. The foregoing sections of this chapter exhaust the decisions, but not the subject. There is little gained in traversing ground quite unexplored by the courts; while to do so would be a departure from the plan of these volumes. When the judges have led the way in presenting to us their views, in connection with the facts of an actual case, the legal author who follows them must consider the question on its


People v. Merrill, 2 Parker, 590. On the subject of this section the reader may profitably consult the cases cited post, § 603.

2 Ante, § 592, 592 a.

3 Commonwealth v. Blodgett, 12 Met. 56. And see Luther v. Borden, 7 How. U. S. 1. United States v. Bright, 1 Whart. Pa. Dig. 6th ed. p. 506.

* Caldwell v. The State, 1 Stew. & P. 327; The State v. Tassels, Dudley,

Ga. 229; The State v. Foreman, 8 Yerg. 256.

United States v. Bailey, 1 McLean, 234.

merits, as well as on the decision. But the whole framework of our jurisprudence has arisen from the emergencies of occasions; this being true not only of our common law, but of our statute law also; therefore any attempt, however executed, to rear a superstructure to suit imaginary circumstances hereafter possible to arise, would violate established methods, as well as be of doubtful practical utility. Great must be the gain in any particular direction to justify so wide a wandering from the ways trodden successfully by our ancestors.




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SECT. 603 b. Introduction.

The Local Jurisdiction.

612-613 a. The Jurisdiction arising from the Subject..
614-616. The Jurisdiction proceeding from the Parties.
617, 618. Locality of Crimes against the United States.

§ 603 b. THE subject of the present chapter has been much more fully illustrated by decisions than that of the last. These decisions present points to be unfolded in the following order: I. The Local Jurisdiction; II. The Jurisdiction arising from the Subject; III. The Jurisdiction proceeding from the Parties; IV. The Locality of Crimes against the United States.


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1. The Local Jurisdiction.

§ 604. We have already considered the boundary lines of the United States, viewed as one nation. Those States which lie on the borders of the country have their outward lines coexistent with the lines which encircle the country.2 Within the general space, there are, under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, first, such territory as is not yet. organized into States; secondly, the District of Columbia;

1 Ante, § 569 et seq.

* United States v. Bevans, 3 Wheat. 386; Commonwealth v. Peters, 12 Met. 387, 394; Commonwealth v. Alger, 7 Cush. 53, 81-83; Pollárd v. Hagan, 3 How. U. S. 212. And see Neal v. Commonwealth, 17 S. & R. 67; The State v. Cameron, 2 Chand. 172. I

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thirdly, places ceded by the States to the United States for dock-yards, arsenals, and the like; over which several localities the sway of the several States extends not, only that sometimes in the last-mentioned places a special reservation otherwise provides.1

§ 605. States are divided into counties. A State may have portions of its territory not within any county, though it has the right to extend its county lines over the whole. Thus on the seaboard and against the open sea, a county, at common law, reaches only to the water-margin, and there the line pulsates, in and out, with the ebb and flow of the tide; while, as we have seen, the territory of the State, and consequently its territorial jurisdiction, reach, beyond low-water mark, to the distance of a marine league. But at points where the sea puts up inland, the rule is somewhat different; - for arms of the sea, as rivers, harbors, creeks, basins, and bays, so closely embraced by land that a man standing on the one shore can reasonably discern with the naked eye objects and what is done on the opposite shore, are within county limits.5 And it is not material to this rule, whether the shore is mainland or island.

§ 606. On this principle, the harbor of Boston, enclosed by numerous islands with narrow straits between, has been held to belong to the county of Suffolk, in which Boston is situated. Yet the precise limits of the county outward appear not to be settled by adjudication. "Upon the evi

United States v. Bevans, supra; United States v. Davis, 5 Mason, 356; New Orleans v. United States, 10 Pet. 662, 737; Mitchell v. Tibbets, 17 Pick. 298; United States v. Cornell, 2 Mason, 60.

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33 Inst. 113; 2 East P. C. 803; 1 Gab. Crim. Law, 815; 2 Hale P. C.


2 Hawk. P. C. 6th ed. c. 9, § 14; United States v. Grush, 5 Mason, 290.

* Ante, § 571.

2 East P. C. 805; 1 Gab. Crim. Law, 815; Rex v. Bruce, Russ. & Ry. 243, 2 Leach, 4th ed. 1093.

• Commonwealth v. Peters, 12 Met. 387; United States v. Grush, 5 Mason, 290; United States v. Bevans, 3 Wheat. 336.

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