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BlackmervsUS(1932)

PetitionerHarryBlackmer,acitizenoftheUnitedStatesandaresidentofParis,France,was
serveduponsubpoenasinFrancerequiringhimtoappearasawitnessonbehalfoftheUnited
Statesatacriminaltrialinthatcourt.However,hefailedtorespondtosaidsubpoenas.

ContemptproceedingswereinitiatedagainstBlackmerforhisfailuretorespondtothe
subpoenasandwasfoundtobeincontemptofcourtandwasfined.Blackmerappealed.

Issue:
Whetherornottheremustbedueprocessfortheexerciseofjudicialjurisdictioninpersonam.

Held:
Yes,theremustbedueprocessfortheexerciseofjudicialjurisdictioninpersonam.Due
processrequiresappropriatenoticeofthejudicialactionandanopportunitytobeheard.

Questionsofauthorityinsuchcasesarenotquestionsofinternationallaw,butofmunicipallaw.
Thus,acitizenoftheUnitedStatesresidinginaforeigncountrycontinuestooweallegianceto
theUnitedStatesandisboundbyitslawsmadeapplicabletohissituation.Thepowerto
requirethereturnofabsentcitizensinthepublicinterestisinherentinsovereignty.Oneofthe
dutiesofsuchabsentcitizenstotheUnitedStatesisthatofattendingitscourtstogive
testimonywhenproperlysummoned,andCongressmayprovidefortheperformanceofthis
dutyandprescribepenaltiesfordisobedience.

TheActofJuly3,1926,providesthat,whenthetestimonyofacitizenoftheUnitedStates
residinginaforeigncountryisneededbytheGovernmentinacriminalcase,thecourtinwhich
thecaseispendingmayissueasubpoenatobeserveduponhimpersonallybyanAmerican
consulwithatenderofmoneytocoverhisnecessaryexpensesoftraveltoandfrom,and
attendanceupon,thecourtthat,ifherefuseorneglecttoappearasdirectedbythesubpoena,
thesamecourt,uponproofofserviceanddefault,mayissueitsorderdirectinghimtoappear
beforeitatadesignatedtimetoshowcausewhyheshouldnotbeadjudgedguiltyofcontempt
andbepunishedthatthisordermaydirectthatpropertyofthewitnessintheUnitedStatesbe
seizedandheldtosatisfyanyjudgmentthatmayberenderedinthecontemptproceedingthat,
aftersuchseizure,theordertoshowcauseandforsequestrationshallbeservedonthewitness
personallybysuchconsulandshallbepublishedinsomenewspaperofgeneralcirculationin
thedistrictwherethecourtsits,andthat,onthereturndayoftheorder,orlater,proofshallbe
taken,andifthechargeofrecusancyshallbesustained,thecourtshalladjudgethewitness
guiltyofcontemptandimposeuponhimafinenotexceeding$100,000,which,withthecosts,
maybesatisfiedbysaleofthepropertyleviedupon,tobeconducteduponnoticeandinthe
mannerprovidedforsalesuponexecution.