Santiago v. Nogueras - 214 U.S. 260 (1909)
U.S. Supreme Court
Santiago v. Nogueras, 214 U.S. 260 (1909)
Santiago v. Nogueras
Submitted April 7, 1909
Decided May 24, 1909
214 U.S. 260
By the ratifications of the Treaty of Peace of 1898 with Spain, Porto Rico ceased to be subject to that country and became subject to the legislative power of Congress, but, pending the action of Congress, and the necessary delay in establishing civil government, there was no interregnum, and the authority to govern the territory ceded by the treaty was, by the law applicable to conquest and cession, under the military control of the President as Commander in Chief. Cross v. Harrison, 16 How. 164.
The military authority in control of ceded conquered territory at the time of a treaty of peace continues, if not dissolved by the Commander-in-Chief, until legislatively changed; nor is there any presumption of a contrary intention from the inaction of the legislature. Whatever the cause of delay in legislation, it must be presumed that the delay was consistent with the true policy of the government. Cross v. Harrison, 16 How. 164.
The authority of a military government continued after treaty of peace ceding the conquered territory, though not unlimited, is of large extent, and includes the power to establish courts of justice. Leitensdorfer v. Webb, 20 How. 176.
The military government in Porto Rico at the time of the ratification of the treaty of peace continued until superseded by the organic act, and it had power to establish the United States Provisional Court, and that court had jurisdiction to render the judgment involved in this case.
Under the provision of the order establishing the Provisional Court of Porto Rico that it have jurisdiction of controversies between different states and of foreign states, it had jurisdiction of a controversy between a subject of Spain and a resident of Porto Rico.
The service of the summons in this case by delivering the same at defendant's usual place of abode into the hands of his wife being strictly in accord with the procedure established by the court, the court had jurisdiction to enter judgment by default.
Whether the court lost jurisdiction, after having properly obtained it, by disregarding rules of procedure is not open in a collateral attack. 2 P.R. 467 affirmed.
The facts are stated in the opinion.