Kirtland v. Hotchkiss
100 U.S. 491

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U.S. Supreme Court

Kirtland v. Hotchkiss, 100 U.S. 491 (1879)

Kirtland v. Hotchkiss

100 U.S. 491

Syllabus

1. This Court can afford the citizen of a state no relief from the enforcement of her laws prescribing the mode and subjects of taxation if they neither trench upon federal authority nor violate any right recognized, or secured by the Constitution of the United States.

2. The Constitution does not prohibit a state from taxing her resident citizens for debts held by them against a nonresident, evidenced by his bonds, payment whereof is secured by his deeds of trust or mortgages upon real estate situate in another state.

3. For the purposes of taxation, a debt has its situs at the residence of the creditor, and may be there taxed.

Charles W. Kirtland, a citizen of Connecticut, instituted this action for the purpose of restraining the enforcement of certain tax warrants levied upon his real estate in the town in which he resided, in satisfaction of certain state taxes, assessed against him for the years 1869 and 1870. The assessment was by reason of his ownership, during those years, of certain bonds executed in Chicago and made payable to him, his executors, administrators, or assigns in that city, at such place as he or they should by writing appoint, and, in default of such appointment, at the Manufacturers' National Bank of Chicago. Each bond declared that

"it is made under, and is, in all respects, to be construed by the laws of Illinois, and is given for an actual loan of money, made at the City of Chicago, by the said Charles W. Kirtland to the said Edwin A. Cummins, on the day of the date hereof."

They were secured by

Page 100 U. S. 492

deeds of trust, executed by the obligor to one Perkins, of that city, upon real estate there situated, the trustee having power by the terms of the deed to sell and convey the property and apply the proceeds in payment of the loan in case of default on the part of the obligor to perform the stipulations of the bond.

The statute of Connecticut under which the assessment was made declares, among other things, that personal property in that state "or elsewhere" should be deemed, for purposes of taxation, to include all moneys, credits, choses in action, bonds, notes, stocks (except United States stocks), chattels, or effects, or any interest thereon, and that such personal property or interest thereon, being the property of any person resident in the state, should be valued and assessed at its just and true value in the tax list of the town where the owner resides. The statute expressly exempts from its operation money or property actually invested in the business of merchandizing or manufacturing, when located out of the state. Conn. Revision of 1866, p. 709, tit. 64, c. 1, sect. 8.

The court below held that the assessments complained of were in conformity to the state law, and that the law itself did not infringe any constitutional right of the plaintiff.

This writ of error is prosecuted by Kirtland upon the ground, among others, that the statute of Connecticut thus interpreted and sustained is repugnant to the Constitution of the United States.

Page 100 U. S. 496

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