John Marshall Harlan c. 1890

Justice Harlan (1833 - 1911) was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1877 to 1911. Harlan wrote the majority opinion in Pettibone v. Nichols, 203 U.S. 192 (1906). The Court ruled that a person held in actual custody by a state for trial in one of its courts under an indictment for a crime against its laws will not be released on habeas corpus by a federal Circuit Court even though the methods by which his personal presence in the state was secured may have violated the provisions of United States Constitution. James Hawley, one of the two main prosecutors in the case, later confided to the Pinkerton Detective James McParland that in October 1906, before the Court heard oral arguments in the case, he met with his friend Justice Harlan. Hawley told Harlan about facts of the case that Hawley thought might have "a good effect" according to J. Anthony Lukas in "Big Trouble: A Murder in a Small Western Town Sets Off a Struggle for the Soul of America." Lukas believed that this ex parte meeting may have influenced Harlan's decision especially if Hawley provided details of Harry Orchard's confession. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-40292.