Constitutional Law – Civil Rights Statute – Failure to Release Prisoner Promptly Not a Violation of Section 242

A Florida state attorney was charged with violation of the Federal Civil Rights Statute for failure to apply for release of a Negro prisoner held nineteen months without charge. The prisoner had been held on request of the state attorney for further prosecution or use as a witness after a verdict had been directed in the prisoner’s favor in a prior murder trial. Neither the prisoner nor defense counsel petitioned for release. The United States District Court dismissed the indictment. On appeal, held, affirmed. No duty existed on the part of the Florida state attorney to make application for release of the prisoner; thus the failure to procure· release did not subject defendant to prosecution under the civil rights statute. United States v. Hunter, (5th Cir. 1954) 214 F. (2d) 356, cert. den. 348 U.S. 888, 75 S. Ct. 208 (1954).