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Ex parte Milligan

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Ex parte Milligan was an 1866 Supreme Court of the United States ruling that the petitioner could not be tried by military tribunal because the civil courts were operating where he lived, and:[1]

  • He was a citizen of the United States
  • He was not in any of the states in rebellion, where habeas corpus had been suspended
  • He was not a member of the military of the United States
  • He was not in combat

Lamdin P. Milligan, a resident of Indiana, had been arrested, on October 5, 1864, by the local military commandant ad placed in a military prison. In modern terms, this was considered extrajudicial detention. His residence was not in a combat zone. He was charged with:

1. "Conspiracy against the Government of the United States;"

2. "Affording aid and comfort to rebels against the authority of the United States;"

3. "Inciting insurrection;"

4. "Disloyal practices;" and

5. "Violation of the laws of war."

Without judging the merits of the charges, the Court held the military courts had no authority to try him, since the civil courts of Indiana, and the Federal courts there, were operating.