« PreviousContinue »
by statute, which may be necessary for the exercise of their respective jurisdictions, and agreeable to the principles and usages of law. And that either of the justices of the supreme court, as well as judges of the district courts, shall have power to grant writs of habeas corpus for the purpose of an inquiry into the cause of commitment.-Provided, That writs of habeas corpus shall in no case extend to prisoners in gaol, unless where they are in custody, under or by colour of the authority of the United States, or are committed for trial before some court of the same, or are necessary to be brought into court to testify.
SEC. 15. And be it further enacted, That all the said courts of the United States, shall have power in the trial of actions at law, on motion and due notice thereof being given, to require the parties to produce books or writings in their possession or power, which contain evidence pertinent to the issue, in cases and under circumstances where they might be compelled to produce the same by the ordinary rules of proceeding in chancery; and if a plaintiff shall fail to comply with such order, to produce books or writings, it shall be lawful for the courts respectively, on motion, to give the like judgment for the defendant as in cases of nonsuit; and if a defendant shall fail to comply with such order, to produce books or writings, it shall be lawful for the courts respectively on motion as aforesaid, to give judgment against him or her by default.(a)
SEC. 16. And be it further enacted, That suits in equity shall not be sustained in either of the courts of the United States, in any case where plain, adequate and complete remedy may be had at law.(b)
The act of Congress authorizing the writ of habeas corpus to be issued "for the purpose of inquiring into the cause of commitment," applies as well to cases of commitment under civil as those of criminal process. See Chief Justice Marshall. 2 Brocken. C. C. R. 447. Ex parte Cabrera, 1 Wash. C. C. R. 232. United States v. French, 1 Gallis. C. C. R. 2. Holmes v. Jennison, Governor of the State of Vermont, 14 Peters, 540.
(a) It is sufficient for one party to suggest that the other is in possession of a paper, which he has, under the act of Congress, given him notice to produce at the trial, without offering other proof of the fact; and the party so called upon must discharge himself of the consequences of not producing it, by affidavit or other proof that he has it not in his power to produce it. Hylton v. Brown, 1 Wash. C. C. R. 298. The court will not, upon a notice of the defendant to the plaintiff to produce a title paper to the land in dispute, which is merely to defeat the plaintiff's title, compel him to do so; unless the defendant first shows title to the land. Merely showing a right of possession is not sufficient to entitle him to the aid of a court of chancery, or of the Supreme Court, to compel a discovery of papers which are merely to defeat the plaintiff's title without strengthening the defendant's. It is sufficient, in order to entitle him to call for papers to show the title to the land, although none is shown in the papers. Ibid.
Where one party in a cause wishes the production of papers supposed to be in the possession of the other, he must give notice to produce them: if not produced, he may give inferior evidence of their contents. But if it is his intention to nonsuit the plaintiff, or if the plaintiff requiring the papers means to obtain a judgment by default, under the 15th section of the judicial act, he is bound to give the opposite party notice that he means to move the court for an order upon him to produce the papers, or on a failure so to do, to award a nonsuit or judgment, as the case may be. Bas v. Steele, 3 Wash. C. C. R. 381.
No advantage can be taken of the non-production of papers, unless ground is laid for presuming that the papers were, at the time notice was given, in the possession or power of the party to whom notice was given, and that they were pertinent to the issue. In either of the cases, the party to whom notice was given may be required to prove, by his own oath, that the papers are not in his possession or power; which oath may be met by contrary proof according to the rules of equity. Ibid.
To entitle the defendant to nonsuit the plaintiff for not obtaining papers which he was noticed to produce, the defendant must first obtain an order of the court, under a rule that they should be produced. But this order need not be absolute when moved for, but may be nisi, unless cause be shown at the trial. Dunham v. Riley, 4 Wash. C. C. R. 126.
Notice to the opposite party to produce on the trial all letters in his possession, relating to monies received by him under the award of the commissioners under the Florida treaty, is sufficiently specific as they described their subject matter. If to such notice the party answer on oath that he has not a particular letter in his possession, and after diligent search could find none such, it is sufficient to prevent the offering of secondary proof of its contents. The party cannot be asked or compelled to answer whether he ever had such a letter in his possession. Vasse v. Mifflin, 4 Wash. C. C. R. 519.
(b) The equity jurisdiction of the courts of the United States is independent of the local law of any State, and is the same in nature and extent as the equity jurisdiction of England from which it is derived. Therefore it is no objection to this jurisdiction, that there is a remedy under the local law. Gordon v. Hobart, 2 Sumner's Č. C. R. 401.
If a case is cognizable at common law, the defendant has a right of trial by jury, and a suit upon it cannot be sustained in equity. Baker v. Biddle, 1 Baldwin's C. C. R. 405.
SEC. 17. And be it further enacted, That all the said courts of the United States shall have power to grant new trials, in cases where there grant new trials. has been a trial by jury for reasons for which new trials have usually been granted in the courts of law; (a) and shall have power to impose and administer all necessary oaths or affirmations, and to punish by fine or imprisonment, at the discretion of said courts, all contempts of authority in any cause or hearing before the same ;(b) and to make and 2,1831, ch. 99. establish all necessary rules for the orderly conducting business in the said courts, provided such rules are not repugnant to the laws of the United States.
Act of March
SEC. 18. And be it further enacted, That when in a circuit court, judgment upon a verdict in a civil action shall be entered, execution may on motion of either party, at the discretion of the court, and on such conditions for the security of the adverse party as they may judge proper, be stayed forty-two days from the time of entering judgment, to give time to file in the clerk's office of said court, a petition for a new trial. And if such petition be there filed within said term of forty-two days, with a certificate thereon from either of the judges of such court, that he allows the same to be filed, which certificate he may make or refuse at his discretion, execution shall of course be further stayed to the next session of said court.(c) And if a new trial be granted, the former judgment shall be thereby rendered void.
SEC. 19. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of circuit courts, in causes in equity and of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, to cause the facts on which they found their sentence or decree, fully to appear upon the record either from the pleadings and decree itself, or a state of the case agreed by the parties, or their counsel, or if they disagree by a stating of the case by the court.
SEC. 20. And be it further enacted, That where in a circuit court, a plaintiff in an action, originally brought there, or a petitioner in equity, other than the United States, recovers less than the sum or value of five hundred dollars, or a libellant, upon his own appeal, less than the sum or value of three hundred dollars, he shall not be allowed, but at the discretion of the court, may be adjudged to pay costs.
SEC. 21. And be it further enacted, That from final decrees in a district court in causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, where the matter in dispute exceeds the sum or value of three hundred dollars, exclusive of costs, an appeal shall be allowed to the next circuit court,
may be stayed on conditions.
Facts to appear on record.
Altered by act of March 3, 1803, chap. 40.
Costs not alunless lowed
500 dollars recovered.
Appeals from the district to the circuit court where matter ceeds 300 dolls. in ex
There cannot be concurrent jurisdiction at law and equity, where the right and remedy are the same; but equity may proceed in aid of the remedy at law, by incidental and auxiliary relief; if the remedy at law is complete. Its jurisdiction is special, limited and defined; not as in England, where it depends on usage. Ibid.
The 16th section of the judiciary law is a declaratory act settling the law as to cases of equity jurisdiction, in the nature of a proviso, limitation or exception to its exercise. If the plaintiff have a plain, adequate and complete remedy at law, the case is not a suit in equity, under the constitution, or the judiciary act. Ibid.
Though the rules and principles established in English Chancery at the revolution, are adopted in the federal courts, the changes introduced there since, are not followed here; especially in matters of jurisdiction, as to which the 16th section of the act of 1789 is imperative. Ibid.
(a) New trials. Calder v. Bull and Wife, 3 Dall. 386; 1 Cond. Rep. 172. Arnold v. Jones, Bee's Rep. 104.
(b) Contempt of court. The courts of the United States have no common law jurisdiction of crimes against the United States. But independent of statutes, the courts of the United States have power to fine for contempts, and imprison for contumacy, and to enforce obedience to their orders, &c. The United States v. Hudson et al., 7 Cranch, 32; 2 Cond. Rep. 405.
By an act passed March 2, 1831, chap. 99, it is enacted, that the power of the courts of the United States to punish for contempts shall not extend to any cases, except to misbehaviour in the presence of the court, or so near to the court as to obstruct the administration of justice, or the misbehaviour of the officers of the court in their official transactions, and disobedience or resistance by any officer of the court, party, juror, witness or any person to any writ, process, order or decree of the court. Indictments may be presented against persons impeding the proceedings of the court, &c. See the statute.
(c) Execution. The 14th section of the Judiciary act of September 24, 1789, chap. 20, authorizes the courts of the United States to issue writs of execution upon judgments which have been rendered. This section provides only for the issuing of the writ, and directs no mode of proceeding by the officer obeying its command. Bank of the United States v. Halstead, 10 Wheat. 51; 6 Cond. Rep. 22.
Altered by the 2d section of the 1803, chap. 40.
act of March 3,
Final decrees re-examined
above 50 dol
2d section of the
Altered by the act of March 3, 1803, chap. 40.
And suits in equity, exceed. ing 2000 dollars
to be held in such district. Provided nevertheless, That all such appeals from final decrees as aforesaid, from the district court of Maine, shall be made to the circuit court, next to be holden after each appeal in the district of Massachusetts.
SEC. 22. And be it further enacted, That final decrees and judgments in civil actions in a district court, where the matter in dispute exceeds the sum or value of fifty dollars, exclusive of costs, may be reexamined, and reversed or affirmed in a circuit court, holden in the same district, upon a writ of error, whereto shall be annexed and returned therewith at the day and place therein mentioned, an authenticated transcript of the record, an assignment of errors, and prayer for reversal, with a citation to the adverse party, signed by the judge of such district court, or a justice of the Supreme Court, the adverse party having at least twenty days' notice. (a) And a like process, may final upon judgments and decrees in civil actions, and suits in equity in a circuit court, brought there by original process, or removed there from courts of the several States, or removed there by appeal from a district court where the matter in dispute exceeds the sum or value of two thousand dollars, exclusive of costs, be re-examined and reversed or affirmed in the Supreme Court, the citation being in such case signed by a judge of such circuit court, or justice of the Supreme Court, and the adverse party having at least thirty days' notice. (b) But there shall be no rever
(a) The rules, regulations and restrictions contained in the 21st and 22d sections of the judiciary act of 1789, respecting the time within which a writ of error shall be brought, and in what instances it shall operate as a supersedeas, the citation to the opposite party, the security to be given by the plaintiff in error, and the restrictions on the appellate court as to reversals in certain enumerated cases, are applicable to the act of 1803, and are to be substantially observed; except that where the appeal is prayed for, at the same time when the decree or sentence is pronounced, a citation is not necessary. The San Pedro, 2 Wheat. 132; 4 Cond. Rep. 65.
By the 2d section of the act of March 3, 1803, chap. 40, appeals are allowed from all final judgments or decrees in any of the District courts, where the matter in dispute, exclusive of costs, shall exceed the sum or value of fifty dollars. Appeals from the Circuit Court to the Supreme Court are allowed when the sum or value, exclusive of costs exceeds $2000. This section repeals so much of the 19th and 20th sections of the act of 1789, as comes within the purview of those provisions.
By the provisions of the act of April 2, 1816, chap. 39, appeals from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Columbia, are allowed when the matter in dispute in the cause exceeds $1000, exclusive of costs.
(b) The following cases have been decided on the questions which have arisen as to the value in controversy, in a case removed by writ of error or appeal.
The verdict and judgment do not ascertain the matter in dispute between the parties. To determine this, recurrence must be had to the original controversy; to the matter in dispute when the action was instituted. Wilson v. Daniel, 3 Dall. 401; 1 Cond. Rep. 185.
Where the value of the matter in dispute did not appear in the record, in a case brought by writ of error, the court allowed affidavits to be taken to prove the same, on notice to the opposite party. The writ of error not to be a supersedeas. Course v. Stead's Ex'ors, 4 Dall. 22; 1 Cond. Rep. 217; 4 Dall. 20; 1 Cond. Rep. 215.
The Supreme Court will permit viva voce testimony to be given of the value of the matter in dispute, in a case brought up by a writ of error or by appeal. The United States v. The Brig Union et al., 4 Cranch, 216; 2 Cond. Rep. 91.
The plaintiff below claimed more than $2000 in his declaration, but obtained a verdict for a less sum. The appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court depends on the sum or value in dispute between the parties, as the case stands on the writ of error in the Supreme Court; not on that which was in dispute in the Circuit Court. If the writ of error be brought by the plaintiff below, then the sum the declaration shows to be due may still be recovered, should the judgment for a smaller sum be reversed; and consequently the whole sum claimed is in dispute. Smith v. Honey, 3 Peters, 469; Gordon v. Ogden, 3 Peters, 33.
In cases where the demand is not for money, and the nature of the action does not require the value of the thing to be stated in the declaration, the practice of the courts of the United States has been to allow the value to be given in evidence. Ex parte Bradstreet, 7 Peters, 634.
The onus probandi of the amount in controversy, to establish the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in a case brought before it by writ of error, is upon the party seeking to obtain the revision of the case. He may prove that the value exceeds $2000, exclusive of costs. Hagan v. Foison, 10 Peters, 160.
The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in a case in which separate decrees have been entered in the Circuit Court for the wages of seamen, the decree in no one case amounting to $2000, although the amount of the several decrees exceed that sum, and the seamen in each case claimed under the same contract. Oliver v. Alexander, 6 Peters, 143. See Scott v. Lunt's Adm'rs, 6 Peters, 349.
The Supreme Court will not compel the hearing of a cause unless the citation be served thirty days before the first day of the term. Welsh v. Mandeville, 5 Cranch, 321; 2 Cond. Rep. 268.
A citation must accompany the writ of error. Lloyd v. Alexander, 1 Cranch, 365; 1 Cond. Rep. 334. When an appeal is prayed during the session of the court, a citation to the appellee is not necessary. Riley, appellant, v. Lamar et al., 2 Cranch, 344; 1 Cond. Rep. 419.
tioned questions of validity or construction of the said constitution, treaties, statutes, commissions, or authorities in dispute.(a)
SEC. 26. And be it further enacted, That in all causes brought before either of the courts of the United States to recover the forfeiture annexed to any articles of agreement, covenant, bond, or other speciality, where the forfeiture, breach or non-performance shall appear, by the default or confession of the defendant, or upon demurrer, the court before whom the action is, shall render judgment therein for the plaintiff to recover so much as is due according to equity. And when the sum for which judgment should be rendered is uncertain, the same shall, if either damages when of the parties request it, be assessed by a jury.
Jury to assess the sum is uncertain.
Marshal to be
Duration of of. fice.
Act of May
1820, ch. 102; 107, sec. 8.
SEC. 27. And be it further enacted, That a marshal shall be appointed in and for each district for the term of four years, but shall be remova- appointed. ble from office at pleasure, whose duty it shall be to attend the district and circuit courts when sitting therein, and also the Supreme Court in the district in which that court shall sit.(b) And to execute throughout the district, all lawful precepts directed to him, and issued under the authority of the United States, and he shall have power to command all necessary assistance in the execution of his duty, and to appoint as there shall be occasion, one or more deputies, (c) who shall be removable from office by the judge of the district court, or the circuit court sitting within the district, at the pleasure of either; and before he enters on the duties of his office, he shall become bound for the faithful performance of the same, by himself and by his deputies before the judge of the district court to the United States, jointly and severally, with two good and sufficient sureties, inhabitants and freeholders of such district, to be approved by the district judge, in the sum of twenty thousand dollars, and shall take before said judge, as shall also his deputies, before they enter on the duties of their appointment, the following oath of office: "I, A. B., do solemnly swear or affirm, that I will faithfully execute all lawful precepts directed to the marshal of the district of mark, under the authority of the United States, and true returns make, and in all things well and truly, and without malice or partiality, perform the duties of the office of marshal (or marshal's deputy, as the case may be) of the district of during my continuance in said office, and take only my lawful fees. So help me God."
SEC. 28. And be it further enacted, That in all causes wherein the marshal or his deputy shall be a party, the writs and precepts therein shall be directed to such disinterested person as the court, or any justice or judge thereof may appoint, and the person so appointed, is hereby authorized to execute and return the same. And in case of the death of any marshal, his deputy or deputies shall continue in office, unless otherwise specially removed; and shall execute the same in the name of the deceased, until another marshal shall be appointed and sworn: And the defaults or misfeasances in office of such deputy or deputies in the mean time, as well as before, shall be adjudged a breach of the condition of the bond given, as before directed, by the marshal who appointed
In cases of forfeiture the courts may give
judgment according to equi ty.
Deputies removable by the district and circuit courts.
Oath of marshal, and of his deputies.
If marshal, or his deputy, a party to a suit,
process to be directed to a person selected
by the court. Deputies to continue in of
fice on the death
of the marshal.
Defaults of de
(a) Williams v. Norris, 12 Wheat. 117; 6 Cond. Rep. 462.
(b) A marshal is not removed by the appointment of a new one, until he receives notice of such appointment. All acts done by the marshal after the appointment of a new one, before notice, are good; but his acts subsequent to notice are void. Wallace's C. C. R. 119.
It is the duty of a marshal of a court of the United States to execute all process which may be placed in his hand, but he performs this duty at his peril, and under the guidance of law. He must, of course, exercise some judgment in the performance. Should he fail to obey the exegit of the writ without a legal excuse, or should he in its letter violate the rights of others, he is liable to the action of the injured party. Life and Fire Ins. Comp. of New York v. Adams, 9 Peters, 573.
(c) A marshal is liable on his official bond for the failure of his deputies to serve original process, but the measure of his liability is the extent of the injury received by the plaintiff, produced by his negligence, If the loss of the debt be the direct legal consequence of a failure to serve the process, the amount of the debt is the measure of the damages; but not so if otherwise. The United States v. Moore's Adm'rs, 2 Brocken. C. C. R. 317. See San Jose Indiano, 2 Gallis. C. C. R. 311. Ex parte Jesse Hoyt, collector, &c., 13 Peters, 279.
executor or administrator of
Powers of the them; and the executor or administrator of the deceased marshal shall have like remedy for the defaults and misfeasances in office of such dedeceased mar puty or deputies during such interval, as they would be entitled to if the marshal had continued in life and in the exercise of his said office, until his successor was appointed, and sworn or affirmed: And every marshal or his deputy when removed from office, or when the term for which the marshal is appointed shall expire, shall have power notwithstanding to execute all such precepts as may be in their hands respectively at the time of such removal or expiration of office; and the marshal shall be power after re- held answerable for the delivery to his successor of all prisoners which
may be in his custody at the time of his removal, or when the term for which he is appointed shall expire, and for that purpose may retain such prisoners in his custody until his successor shall be appointed and qualified as the law directs. (a)
Trial of cases
death to be had in county.
SEC. 29. And be it further enacted, That in cases punishable with punishable with death, the trial shall be had in the county where the offence was committed, or where that cannot be done without great inconvenience, twelve petit jurors at least shall be summoned from thence.(b) And jurors in all cases to serve in the courts of the United States shall be designated by lot or otherwise in each State respectively according to the mode of forming juries therein now practised, so far as the laws of the same shall render such designation practicable by the courts or marshals of the United States; and the jurors shall have the same qualifications as are requisite for jurors by the laws of the State of which they are citizens, to serve in the highest courts of law of such State, and shall be returned as there shall be occasion for them, from such parts of the district from time to time as the court shall direct, so as shall be most favourable to an impartial trial, and so as not to incur an unnecessary expense, or unduly to burthen the citizens of any part of the district with such serWrits of venire vices. And writs of venire facias when directed by the court shall issue
facias from clerk's office.
from the clerk's office, and shall be served and returned by the marshal in his proper person, or by his deputy, or in case the marshal or his deputy is not an indifferent person, or is interested in the event of the cause, by such fit person as the court shall specially appoint for that purpose, to whom they shall administer an oath or affirmation that he will truly and impartially serve and return such writ. And when from challenges or otherwise there shall not be a jury to determine any civil or criminal cause, the marshal or his deputy shall, by order of the court where such defect of jurors shall happen, return jurymen de talibus circumstantibus sufficient to complete the pannel; and when the marshal or his deputy are disqualified as aforesaid, jurors may be returned by such disinterested person as the court shall appoint.
Jurors by lot. Act of May 13, 1800, ch. 61.
Juries de talibus, &c.
Mode of proof.
Act of April 29, 1802, ch.31,
Depositions de bene esse.
SEC. 30. And be it further enacted, That the mode of proof by oral testimony and examination of witnesses in open court shall be the same in all the courts of the United States, as well in the trial of causes in equity and of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, as of actions at common law. And when the testimony of any person shall be necessary in any civil cause depending in any district in any court of the United States, who shall live at a greater distance from the place of trial than one hundred miles, or is bound on a voyage to sea, or is about to go out of the United States, or out of such district, and to a greater distance from the place of trial than as aforesaid, before the time of trial, or is ancient or very infirm, the deposition of such person may be taken de bene esse before any justice or judge of any of the courts of the United States,
(a) If a debtor committed to the State jail under process of the courts of the United States escapes, the marshal is not liable. Randolph v. Donnaldson, 9 Cranch,76; 3 Cond. Rep. 280.
(b) The Circuit Courts of the United States are bound to try all crimes committed within the district, which are duly presented before it; but not to try them in the county where they have been committed The United States v. Wilson and Porter, Baldwin's C. C. R. 78.