The Sarah - 21 U.S. 391 (1823)
U.S. Supreme Court
The Sarah, 21 U.S. 8 Wheat. 391 391 (1823)
21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 391
In cases of seizures made on land under the revenue laws, the district court proceeds as a court of common law according to the Court of the Exchequer on information in rem, and the trial of issues of fact is to be by jury; but in cases of seizures on waters navigable from the sea by vessels if ten or more tons burden, it proceeds as an instance court of admiralty, by libel, and the trial is to be by the court.
A libel charging the seizures to have been made on water when in fact it was made on land will not support a verdict and judgment or sentence thereon, but must be amended or dismissed. The two jurisdictions and the proceedings under them are to be kept entirely distinct.
This was a libel of information in the court below against 422 casks of wine, imported in the brig Sarah, and afterwards seized at New Orleans, alleging a forfeiture to the United States by a false entry in the office of the collector of the port of New York, made for the benefit of drawback, on reexportation, and stating that the seizure was made on waters navigable from the sea by vessels
of ten or more tons burden. In the progress of the cause it appeared that the seizure was in fact made on land, which fact was suggested to the court by the claimant's proctor, who moved that the cause should be tried by a jury. The court accordingly directed a jury, which was sworn and found a verdict for the United States. On this verdict, a sentence of condemnation was pronounced by the court, and the cause was brought to this Court by appeal on the part of the claimant.