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5 > Page 5 of Argument of J. Proctor Knott in re Varney Hatfield et al., on habeas corpus before the United States district court of Kentucky, February 28, 1888

them from their imprisonment in the jail of Pike county, and give them safe conduct back into the State in which they were captured: and that the Governor of Kentucky has declined to accede to that demand ; and in view of these filcts it is claimed that their subsequent (letention by the jailer of Pike county, in pursuance of regular proc- ess in the name of the Commonwealth, to answer to the indictments against them for the crime of murder alleged to have been committed by them in that county, was in violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States, and that your Honor should consequently dis- charge them without delay. It is for us to see, therefore, whether there is any valid reason by wvhich a proposition so startling and ex- traordinary can be sustained. THE (QUESTION STATED. Neither the guilt nor innocence of the prisoners, nor the atrocity of the crimes with which they are charged, nor their nationality or citizenship is at all pertinent to this inquiry. Conceding that their capture in West Virginia and deportation into Kentucky were without warrant, by force, against their will, and totally without legal or moral justification, after all the naked. question is: What provision of the Federal Constitution, or what law made by authority of the United States has been violated, or will be violated, by their detention in the jail of Pike county, under the authority and in obedience to the Com- monwealth of Kentucky, to answer indictments for crimes alleged to have been committed against her laws. ARGUMENT OF THE PRISONERS STATED. What reasonable answer can be made to this question, other than that no such provision can be found at all, I confess my utter inability to conceive, notwithstanding I listened with the most profound interest and attention to the verv earnest remarks of the learned counsel (MR. ST. CLAIR) who opened this discussion. He argued, however, if I understood him correctly, that the only right which a State has to claim the arrest of a fugitive from its justice, who may be found in the territory of another, is under the third clause of the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution of the United States, and that such claihn can only be asserted in the manner therein prescribed; that they were citizens and residents of the State of West Virginia; that the State of Kentucky has obtained custody of them through a differ- ent method, namely: by having them seized under a regular writ and