Annual Report of the Attorney-General of the State of Virginia for the Year 1878-79
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4 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE Commonwealth of Virginia vs. Alexander Rives, Judge of the District Circuit Court of the United States for the Western District of Virginia Exparte The Commonwealth of Virginia. Exparte J. D. Coles. The first of these cases is an application to the Supreme Court for a mandamus to compel Judge Rives to remand to the custody of the officers of Patrick county Lee and Burwell Reynolds, who have been indicted in the State court for murder, and who, under an order from Judge Rives, have been taken from the custody of the State officers, and are now held by the United States Marshal for trial in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Western District of Virginia. The two last cases are petitions for habeus corpus, to release from arrest Judge J. D. Coles, Judge of the County Court of Pittsylvania, the arrest having been made upon a warrant issued upon an indictment found in the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Virginia, charging him with a failure to put the names of negroes on the jury list of the county of Pittsylvania. These three cases have been argued, and are now in the hands of the court. It is supposed that decisions will be rendered during the present session of the court, probably in January. In the preparation and argument of these very important cases, I have had the constant and able assistance of Judge William J. Robertson, who was retained under the authority of the Legislature. His arguments in the cases for thoroughness and ability are rarely equalled. They commanded the undivided attention of the distinguished tribunal to which they were addressed. I regret very much that the Legislature had not put at my disposal a fund sufficient to have had these arguments reported in full for the use of the court and for preservation by the State. No cases attracted greater interest than those above named. State of Tennessee vs. Davis. This case involves the right of the Circuit Courts of the United States to remove for trial the case of a revenue officer of the United States, indicted for murder in the State court. By the courtesy of the Hon. Benjamin J. Lea, attorney-general of Tennessee, I was invited to take part in the argument of this important case, and did so, as there are two similar cases now in Judge Rives' court awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court in this case. The decision will probably be rendered at the same time the Virginia cases are decided. IN THE CIRCUIT COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA. United States vs. Judge Edward Fitzbugh. This is a suit instituted to recover $1000, and is the only one of the "gold cases" not disposed of. Last spring there was a trial of the case of United States vs. Governor Smith. After a full trial and elaborate argument of the questions, the jury rendered a verdict for the defendant. The district attorney then dismissed all the cases,