The Haytian Republic - 154 U.S. 118 (1894)
U.S. Supreme Court
The Haytian Republic, 154 U.S. 118 (1894)
The Haytian Republic
Argued April 27, 1894
Decided May 26, 1894
154 U.S. 118
When a vessel, libeled for smuggling and for violations of the Chinese Exclusion Act, is discharged on giving the bond required by law, it may be again libeled in another district for similar offenses alleged to have been committed prior to the offences charged in the first libel; but if both suits proceed to judgment, there can be but one forfeiture of the vessel.
On June 7, 1893, in the District Court of the United States for the District of Washington, the United States libeled the steamship Haytian Republic for violations of the Chinese Exclusion Act and for smuggling opium. It was averred that the violations of the Exclusion Act occurred at the following dates: first, September 20, 1892; second, October 8, 1892; third, October 12, 1892; fourth, October 15 and 16, 1892; fifth, November 1, 1892; sixth, November 26, 1892; seventh, December 12, 1892; eighth, December 13, 1892; ninth, January 2, 1893; tenth, January 26, 1893; eleventh, February 2, 1893; twelfth, March 28, 1893; thirteenth, May 11, 1893.
The offenses of opium smuggling, according to the libel, were committed as follows:
November 21, 1892 at Portland, Oregon, 2,000 pounds, of the value of $22,000; December 7, 1892 at St. Johns, on the Columbia River, 1,000 pounds, of the value of $11,000.
The prayer was for the forfeiture of the vessel on account of the violations of the Exclusion Act, and for judgment for $32,000, the value of the opium, with recognition of a lien on the ship for that amount.
The Northwest Loan and Trust Company claimed the vessel, and, after due appraisement, she was bonded.
On the 6th day of July, 1893, in the District Court of the United States for the District of Oregon, the United States again libeled the same steamship for violations of the Chinese Exclusion Act and for smuggling opium. In this libel it was alleged that the violations of the act were committed at the following dates: 1st, October 29, 1892; 2d, June 14, 1893, and 3d, June 28, 1893, all at the port of Portland, Oregon. And the opium smuggling was charged as follows:
1st, October 29, 1892 at Portland, Oregon, 1,640 cans, containing 820 pounds, of the value of $9,840; 2d, December 27, 1892 at St. Johns, Oregon, 1,000 pounds, valued at $12,000.
The prayer of this second libel was for forfeiture of the vessel for the violations of the Exclusion Act, and for judgment for $28,840, the value of the opium, with recognition of a lien on the vessel for that amount.
On the 14th of July, 1893, an amended libel was filed charging the smuggling of opium: 1st, on July 28, 1892, Willamette River, 300 pounds of opium, of the value of $3,300; 2d, on August 30, 1892, on the Columbia River, near the mouth of the Willamette River, of 800 pounds, of the value of $8,800; 3d, on the second of September, 1892, near Swan Island, 1,400 pounds, worth $15,400; 4th, on the 27th of January, 1893 at Portland, Oregon, 1,200 pounds, worth $11,220, and 5th, on the 22d of February, 1893 at Portland, Oregon, 900 pounds, value $9,900.
The prayer of the amended libel was also for the forfeiture of the vessel and for a decree for the penalty to the value of the opium, which was $48,620, with lien upon the vessel.
The original and amended libel claimed therefore the forfeiture
of the vessel for three violations of the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first occurring in October, 1892, and the last two after June 7, 1893, and also sought to enforce against the vessel an aggregate penalty of $77,460 for seven acts of opium smuggling, which, they charged, had taken place at various dates between the 28th of July, 1892, and the 22d of February, 1893.
Thus, all the offenses against the Chinese Exclusion Act charged by these libels except the two last occurred prior to June 7, 1893, the date of the filing of the libel in the District Court of Washington, and all the offenses of opium smuggling therein charged occurred prior to the filing of the suit in Washington.
The Northwest Loan and Trust Company appeared as claimant in the new suit. It excepted to all the averments as to violations of the Exclusion Act and smuggling which, according to the allegations, were committed before the filing of the suit in the District of Washington. Its exception therefore covered all the charges of smuggling opium and one of the charges of violation of the Chinese Exclusion Act. To the two averments of violation of the act which were not excepted to an answer was filed.
The court sustained the exception and dismissed the libels except as to the two charges of violation of the Exclusion Act subsequent to the filing of the suit in the Washington District. As to these, it held that the averments of the libel stated no violation of the laws of the United States.
The case was taken by appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where the judgment of the district court was affirmed. This action of the circuit court of appeals was brought up for review under a writ of certiorari.