Gut v. The State
ERROR to the Supreme Court of Minnesota. The case was thus:
A statute of Minnesota, in force in 1866, required that criminal causes should be tried in the county where the offences were committed. The offence charged against the defendant was committed in December of that year, in the county of Brown, in that State. At that time four other counties, which were unorganized, were attached to Brown County for judicial purposes. On the 9th of March, 1867, a statute was passed by the legislature of the State authorizing the judge of the District Court, in cases where one or more counties were attached to another county for judicial purposes, to order, whenever he should consider it to be in furtherance of justice, or for the public convenience, that the place of holding the court should be changed from the county then designated by law to one of the other counties thus attached.
Under this act the judge of the district embracing Brown County ordered that the place of holding the court should be changed from that county to the county of Redwood, within the same district, and the change was accordingly made. The court subsequently held its sessions in Redwood County, where the defendant, in September, 1867, was indicted for murder in the first degree. The plea of not guilty having been interposed the case was transferred, on his motion, to Nicollet County, in an adjoining district, where he was tried, convicted, and sentenced. On appeal to the Supreme Court of the State the judgment was affirmed, and the case was now brought to this court under the 25th section of the Judiciary Act.
Mr. E. M. Wilson, for the plaintiff in error, contended in this court, as it was also contended in the court below, that the act of Minnesota, under which the court was held in Redwood County, and the grand jury were summoned, was unconstitutional so far as it authorized an indictment or trial there of an offence previously committed in Brown County; that it was in effect an ex post facto law, and, therefore, within the inhibition of the Federal Constitution.
Mr. F. R. E. Cornell, Attorney-General of Minnesota, contra.
Mr. Justice FIELD, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court, as follows: