Title: John M. Binckley to Walter A. Burleigh, 21 January 1868
Date: January 21, 1868
Source: Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: National Archives and Records Administration
Whitman Archive ID: nar.00406
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Kevin McMullen, and John Schwaninger
January 21, 1868.
Hon. Walter A. Burleigh,
House of Representatives.
The Attorney General has received a letter from the United States District Attorney for the District of Dakota, dated 13th instant,‚ of which I herewith enclose a copy ‚ relative to the administration of justice in a large District of country sometimes known as "Wyoming Territory," and otherwise designated "the counties of Laramie and Carter." Of this region, he says, "the Laramie country is all unceded territory, and, consequently, the United States laws are the only laws that can be enforced there, and United States courts the only courts having jurisdiction to enforce them."
It appears that this country is not included in any Judicial District, federal or territorial, except that by a recent Act, (of which no copy is furnished,) of the Territorial Legislature of Dakota, it was provided that this region should be annexed to the second judicial district of the Territory, and that the court of said District should hold a term on the first Monday of March next, at Cheyenne, in said region, distant some seven hundred miles from Yankton, the Capital of Dakota.
The District Attorney having doubts, under existing statutory provisions of Congress, whether such a court would be legal, has inquired of the Attorney General for advice. The following telegram has also been received:
Cheyenne, January 21, 1868.
To the Attorney General:
Hanging men here, without judge or jury. What is to be done?
A. R. Cunningham.
Upon the whole, it is believed that if it were practicable for the Attorney General to give, immediately, legal advice upon the imperfect data submitted to him, his opinion would afford no adequate remedy for the mischief which seems to be apprehended. The District Attorney, therefore, has been informed, under this date, that the matter has been communicated to the Delegate of the Territory for such action as he may think proper to take. A copy is herewith enclosed of our instructions to him.
your obedient servant,
John M. Binckley,
Assistant Attorney Gen'l.
see p 54 seq.
also Ins. Book p 14