United States v. Smith
158 U.S. 346 (1895)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Smith, 158 U.S. 346 (1895)

United States v. Smith

Nos. 289, 345

Submitted April 10, 1895

Decided May 20, 1895

158 U.S. 346

Syllabus

Mileage or travel fees are allowed to a district attorney as a disbursement or commutation of travelling expenses, irrespective of the amount of compensation for services to which be is limited by law.

Page 158 U. S. 347

Per diem allowances to him for attendance, and charges for special service's directed by the Attorney General, are compensation for services, and in law form part of the gross sum therefor, which may not be exceeded.

These were cross-appeals from certain allowances and disallowances in the accounts of the claimant, who was District Attorney of the United States for the Territory of New Mexico from January 1, 1886, to December 31, 1888.

His accounts for the services performed by him during that time were duly rendered, with vouchers and items, to the proper district court, and were duly approved by said court in the sum of $19,230.80, as just and according to law. The accounts were afterwards presented to the Treasury Department, and certified as correct to the amount of $18,605.80, of which $14,266.34 was paid, leaving an unpaid balance of $4,339.36.

This balance the accounting officers of the Treasury refused to certify for payment upon the ground that the claimant had been paid for the three years in question the maximum compensation of $3,500 per annum prescribed by the Act of August 7, 1882, for the Attorney of the United States for New Mexico, and on the further ground, in respect to another item of $595, that it had been disallowed by the Attorney General as being in excess of just compensation.

The unpaid balance of $4,339.46 is composed of certain services performed by him in a claimed unofficial capacity under the direction of the Attorney General, of mileage, and of per diem compensation.

The Court of Claims rendered judgment in his favor for the mileage, amounting to $1,270.80, but disallowed his claim for per diem compensation, amounting to $2,843.66, and for special services, $225.

Page 158 U. S. 348

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