Mr. Sleeper to Mr. Hay.

No. 790.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of Department’s instruction No. 304, of December 16, 1903, inclosing copy of a letter from Mr. Wilson A. Murray in regard to the murder of his father, and requesting this legation to ascertain what steps should be taken to procure counsel to assist in the prosecution of the case.

In reply I beg to inclose herewith translation of a personal note from the director of the state department to this office, giving the desired information and accompanied by a copy, translation of which is inclosed, of the articles of the law of criminal procedure pertaining to the case.

I have, etc.,

Jacob Sleeper.
[Inclosure 1.]

Dear Mr. Sleeper: Referring to our conversation of this morning, I take pleasure in stating to you that American citizens who are not residing in this country and desire to bring a private action in this country for crimes committed against the person or property of a relative in any of the cases in which that action is authorized by law should make a power of attorney for that purpose in favor of the attorney or person who, under the guidance of the attorney, is to represent them before the tribunal that is taking or should take cognizance of the punishable act, and furthermore prove, by documents with which the same could be done in their nation, the relationship and the circumstance that in the United States bond is not required of Cuban citizens in similar cases.

If the power of attorney is not made before a Cuban consular officer it should be legalized by one of said officers, and the additional documents to be presented to the tribunal must also be legalized. The signature of the consular officer must be legalized also by this office.

I send you attached a copy of the articles of the law of criminal procedure pertaining to the case.

Very sincerely, yours,

Aurelio Hevia.

Law of criminal procedure.

  • Article 270. Every Spanish citizen, whether offended by the crime or not, may bring complaint by way of the popular action established in article 101 of this law.
  • Foreigners may also bring complaint on account of criminal acts committed on their persons or properties or the persons or properties of those whom they represent, but not until they comply with the provisions of article 280, unless they are comprised in the last paragraph of article 281.
  • Article 281. The following persons are exempt from compliance with the provisions of the preceding article:
    The offended person and his heirs or legal representatives.
    In cases of murder and homicide, the widower or widow; the ancestors or descendants by blood or affinity; collaterals; uterine, by blood or affinity up to the second degree; heirs of the victim, and the natural fathers, mothers, and children to which paragraph 3 of article 261 refers.

The exemption from bond is not applicable to foreigners unless same corresponds to them in virtue of international treaties or by the principle of reciprocity.