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U.S. Marshals Service

History - The U.S. Marshals and Court Security

Protection of Federal Judges

In the Matter of David Neagle

Act III:

Federal courtroom located in the Appraiser's BuildingScene I:

The Habeus Corpus Hearing

Deputy Neagle's habeus corpus hearing 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.










Scene II:

Neagle's Testimony

Neagle's tanscript

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 Supreme Court.

Scene III: The Supreme Court's Landmark Decision

Copy of original Supreme Court 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.

Continued:  Page One | Two | Three | Four | Five

See also related article on Protection of Judges is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justicee