- The U.S. Marshals and Court Security
Protection of Federal Judges
In the Matter of David Neagle
The Habeus Corpus Hearing
Deputy Neagle's habeus corpus
was held in the Federal courtroom located
in the Appraiser's Building at Sansome and
Washington Streets in San Francisco, the
same building where Neagle had earlier
disarmed David Terry of his Bowie knife.
During the habeus corpus proceedings,
Deputy Neagle testified in his own defense.
Abstracted above is Neagle's brief description
of the shooting. The circuit
court granted the motion for Neagle's
release. Sheriff Cunningham, assisted by
the state of California, appealed to the
The Supreme Court's Landmark Decision
SOURCE: RG 60. National Archives.
In a six to two decision (Justice Field
abstained), the Supreme Court decided that
Neagle "was acting under the authority
of the law of the United States, and was
justified in so doing; and that he is not
liable to answer in the courts of California
on account of his part in that transaction."
Since there was no specific
law authorizing the President to provide
protection to judges, the decision
represented a significant expansion of
executive authority. Pictured above is the
Supreme Court certificate upholding the
circuit court's decision to release Neagle.
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See also related
article on Protection of Judges