McMullen v. United States - 146 U.S. 360 (1892)


U.S. Supreme Court

McMullen v. United States, 146 U.S. 360 (1892)

McMullen v. United States

No. 55

Submitted November 22, 1892

Decided December 5, 1892

146 U.S. 360

Syllabus

For the purpose of determining the amount of compensation to be paid to a marshal of the United States for attending circuit and district courts, under Rev.Stat. § 829, held that the court is "in session" only when it is open by its order for the transaction of business, and that if it be closed by its own order for an entire day or for any given number of days, it is not then in session, although the current term may not have expired.

The allowance of a marshal's account by the court does not preclude a revision of it by the proper officers in the Treasury, nor justify its payment when it appears that such allowance was unauthorized by law.

The appellant was United States Marshal for the District of Delaware from February 1, 1850 to July 24, 1885. The terms of the district court for that district began on the second Tuesdays in January, April, June, and September in each year, and continued until the Friday or the day preceding that for opening the next succeeding term. The terms of the circuit court began on the third Tuesdays in June and October in each year and continued until the Tuesday or the day preceding that for opening the next succeeding term.

It is found by the Court of Claims (Finding II) that the appellant, as marshal, "attended the circuit and district courts when in session, during the terms of said courts, nine hundred and five days;" that those days were charged by him in his account at $5 per day; that the account, being verified, was approved by the court as just, and in accordance with law, but its payment was refused at the Treasury Department, and that appellant's whole compensation, if the above charges were added, would not have exceeded in any one year the maximum of $6,000.

Finding VII was in these words:

"Claimant has been paid in full at the rate of $5 per day for every day whilst the Circuit and District Courts of the United States in the State of Delaware

Page 146 U. S. 361

were sitting or in session, from and including October term, 1879, to and including June term, 1885. The 905 days referred to in Finding II were days occurring between sessions of the courts."



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