Shapleigh v. Mier
299 U.S. 468 (1937)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Shapleigh v. Mier, 299 U.S. 468 (1937)

Shapleigh v. Mier

No. 125

Argued December 9, 1936

Decided January 4, 1937

299 U.S. 468

Syllabus

1. A transfer of land from the sovereignty of Mexico to that of the United States, brought about by an avulsive change in the course of the Rio Grande -- the boundary stream -- and by the provisions of the Convention of June 5, 1907, and proceedings thereunder, did not affect its private ownership. P. 299 U. S. 469.

2. An expropriation of such land while still a part of Mexico, if lawful and effective under the Constitution and laws of Mexico when made, must be recognized as lawful and effective under the laws of the United States when questioned in a judicial proceeding. P. 299 U. S. 471.

3. In an action to establish ownership of land on the Rio Grande which became part of the Texas pursuant to the above mentioned Convention with Mexico, the District Court found that, before the transfer of sovereignty, there had been an expropriation, valid under the laws of Mexico, by which the plaintiffs were divested of any title they may have had. Assuming that the Mexican proceedings were reexaminable and that the finding is reviewable with the aid of judicial notice of the Mexican law, held that the plaintiffs have failed to make out their case, since the finding was reasonably supported by the evidence taken below, and this Court has been referred to no document or other evidence dehors the record establishing a different rule. P. 299 U. S. 472.

4. To say that a court will take judicial notice of a fact, whether it be an event or a custom or a law of some other government, is merely another way of saying that the usual forms of evidence will be dispensed with if knowledge of the fact can be otherwise acquired. P. 299 U. S. 475.

5. Judicial notice and judicial knowledge are not the same thing. A court that is left without knowledge of a fact after exploring to the full every channel of information, must needs decide against the litigant who counts upon the fact as an essential of his claim. De non apparentibus et de non existentibus eadem est ratio. P. 299 U. S. 475.

83 F.2d 673 affirmed.

Page 299 U. S. 469

Certiorari to review a judgment affirming a judgment against the plaintiffs, the present petitioners, in an action of trespass to try title before a district judge without a jury.

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