Garzot v. De Rubio - 209 U.S. 283 (1908)
U.S. Supreme Court
Garzot v. De Rubio, 209 U.S. 283 (1908)
Garzot v. De Rubio
Nos. 141, 142, 604
Argued February 27, 28, 1908
Decided April 6, 1908
209 U.S. 283
The power of this Court to review judgments of the District Court of the United States for Porto Rico given by § 35 of the Act of April 12, 1900, 31 Stat. 85, is the same as that to review judgments of the supreme courts of the territories, and is controlled by § 2 of the Act of April 7, 1874, 18 Stat. 27; on writ of error, therefore, this Court is confined to such legal questions as necessarily arise on the face of the record, such as exceptions to rulings on the rejection and admission of testimony and the sufficiency of the findings to sustain the decree based thereon.
In this case, the facts sustained the plaintiff's contention that she was a citizen of Spain, and as to that point there was no ground for dismissal for want of jurisdiction.
A bill in equity to set aside an agreement adjusting a community between the widow and children, brought after the death of the widow who had also left children by a second marriage, held in this case to be a liquidation of the community, and, although the property was derived solely from the first husband, the children of the second marriage were, as heirs of the mother, interested in her share and necessary parties to the bill.
In establishing a civil government for Porto Rico, Congress, by § 33 of the Act of May 1, 1900, in scrupulous regard for local institutions and laws, preserved the local courts and recognized their jurisdiction over local affairs, including matters of probate jurisdiction.
By Art. 62, par. 5, of the Porto Rican Code, power to administer estates is exclusively vested in the judge of the last place of residence of the deceased, and this includes all actions incidental to the liquidation of a community existing between husband and wife, and the District Court of the United States for Porto Rico has not jurisdiction of an action to set aside an agreement of liquidation of a community where the estates are still open in, and subject to the power and authority of, the local court.
The facts are stated in the opinion.