United States v. 422 Casks of Wine
26 U.S. 547 (1828)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. 422 Casks of Wine, 26 U.S. 1 Pet. 547 547 (1828)

United States v. 422 Casks of Wine

26 U.S. (1 Pet.) 547

Syllabus

It is not the habit of this Court to consider points again open for discussion, which have been once deliberately decided and have furnished the groundwork of the judgment already rendered in the same cause in a stage of the proceedings.

In suits in rem and in the exchequer side of the district courts of the United States, the claimant is in actor, and is entitled to come before the court in that character only in virtue, of his proprietary interest in the thing in controversy. This alone gives him a persona standi in judicio. It is necessary that he should establish his right to that character as a preliminary to his admission as a party ad litem, capable of, sustaining the litigation.

If the claim be made through an agent, the agent must make oath as to his belief to the verity of the claim, and if necessary produce proof of his authority before he can be admitted to put in the claim.

Allegations and pleadings to the merits are a waiver of the preliminary inquiry as to, proprietary interest, and admission that the party is rightly in court and capable of contesting the merits.

If after proceeding in a cause, the court find the claimant has no property, or that it is in another not represented, the court will retain the res until the real owner shall appear, claim and receive it from the court.

Upon a writ of error in the exchequer proceeding which has been tried by a jury, the evidence given at the time of the trial is not in a strict sense before this Court.

This case was before this Court at February Term, 1823, and is reported in 21 U. S. 8 Wheat. 391 under the name of The Sarah. The cause having been sent back, the libel was changed into an information, charging the seizure to have been made on land, according to the leave given by the decree of the court in that case.

The information charges the wine to have been in reality Malaga wine, falsely exported from New York under the name of Sherry for the benefit of the drawback. To this information a claim and answer was given and filed by Benjamin Story as agent for Hazard & Williams, and on the oath of the said Story claiming the wine as the property of the said Hazard & Williams, making no answer to the specific fact charged by the information, that the wine was Malaga wine, exported under the name of Sherry for the benefit of drawback, but denying generally the allegations of the information or that anything had been done to forfeit the wine under the revenue laws of the United States, and claiming the restoration of the wine to Hazard & Williams. The record set forth the evidence on the

Page 26 U. S. 548

question whether the wines were Malaga or Sherry. The verdict of the jury was for the claimants. The district attorney moved for a new trial, which was overruled, on which he brought this writ of error, and made the following assignment of errors.

1. That on 18 December, 1819, this case was tried by jury and verdict and judgment rendered for the United States.

2. The proceedings under this libel were regular, as the amendment related to matter of form merely, and not of substance, and by the 17th section of the Act of Congress 24 September, 1789, the courts of the United States may establish all necessary rules for conducting the business of the court, and the 22d section of the same act provides that "there shall be no reversal for error in ruling any plea in abatement," &c. The proceedings in this case were in conformity with the rules of the court in which they were instituted.

No answer and claim was filed and sworn to by or in the name and behalf of Charles Hall, the real owner of the said 422 casks of wine, at the time of the seizure and forfeiture thereof to the United States.

Page 26 U. S. 549

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