Manro v. Almeida - 23 U.S. 473 (1825)
U.S. Supreme Court
Manro v. Almeida, 23 U.S. 10 Wheat. 473 473 (1825)
Manro v. Almeida
23 U.S. (10 Wheat.) 473
The courts of the United States, proceeding as courts of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, have jurisdiction in cases of maritime torts, in personam as well as in rem.
The courts of the United States, proceeding as courts of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, may issue the process of attachment to compel appearance both in cases of maritime torts and contracts.
Under the Process Act of 1792, ch. 137, sec. 2, the proceedings in cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction in the courts of the United States are to be according to the modified admiralty practice in our own country engrafted upon the British practice, and it is not a sufficient reason for rejecting a particular process which has been constantly used in the admiralty courts of this country that it has fallen into desuetude in England.
The process by attachment may issue wherever the defendant has concealed himself or absconded from the country and the goods to be attached are within the jurisdiction of the admiralty.
It may issue against his goods and chattels and against his credits and effects in the hands of third persons.
The remedy by attachment in the admiralty in maritime cases applies even where the same goods are liable to the process of foreign attachment issuing from the courts of common law.
It applies to the case of a piratical capture, and the civil remedy is not merged in the criminal offense.
In case of default, the property attached may be condemned to answer the demand of the libellant.
It is not necessary that the property to be attached should be specified in the libel.
It seems that an attachment cannot issue without an express order of the judge, but it may be issued simultaneously with the monition, and where the attachment issued in this manner and in pursuance of the prayer of the libel, this Court will presume that it was regularly issued.
This was a libel filed in the district court by the appellants, resident merchants of Baltimore, against the respondent, Almeida, charging him with having forcibly and piratically taken from on board a certain vessel, off the capes of the Chesapeake, and within the territorial limits of the United States, the sum of $5,000 in specie belonging to the appellants and converted the same to his own use without bringing it into any port or place for adjudication. The libel further stated that the said Almeida had absconded from the United States and fled beyond the jurisdiction of the court, and that no means of redress remained for the libellants unless by process of attachment against the goods, chattels, and credits of the said Almeida, which were also about to be removed by his orders to foreign parts. The libel also prayed a personal monition, and likewise viis et modis, and that the respondent might answer the premises on oath, and be compelled to pay the appellants the said sum of $5,000, and damages, and in default thereof that his goods, chattels, and credits, when attached, be condemned to answer the premises, &c. The marshal returned that he had attached certain goods and chattels of the said Almeida; that the said Almeida was not to be found within the district and that he had left a copy of the monition at the late dwelling house of Almeida, and had affixed it at the public exchange
and on the mast of the vessel containing the goods and chattels attached by him. But although the transcript of the record contained a petition for the sale of the attached goods and an order of the court denying the prayer of the petition, yet it did not appear by the record by what authority the attachment issued. But it appeared by the admission of counsel at the hearing that the attachment had been issued by the clerk of the district court as a process of course, without any particular order of the judge. The respondent appeared by a proctor of the court and demurred to the libel. On the argument of the demurrer, the district court dismissed the libel and ordered that the goods, chattels, and credits attached should be restored with costs. This decree being affirmed pro forma by the circuit court, the cause was brought by appeal to this Court.