Barlow v. Eighty-Five Hogsheads of Sugar
32 U.S. 404 (1833)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Barlow v. Eighty-Five Hogsheads of Sugar, 32 U.S. 7 Pet. 404 404 (1833)

Barlow v. Eighty-Five Hogsheads of Sugar

32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 404

Syllabus

Construction of the acts of Congress relative to drawback on refined sugar.

The legislature did not, in the enactments in reference to drawbacks, intend to supersede the common principle of the criminal as well as the civil jurisprudence of the country that ignorance of the law will not exempt its violation.

In the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York, a libel was filed by the United States for the forfeiture of eighty-five hogsheads of sugar, alleging them to have been entered for the benefit of drawback under a false denomination, viz., as refined sugars, with intent to defraud the revenue. The answer of the claimant, Joseph Barlow, denied that the sugars were entered by a false denomination or with intent to defraud the revenue, and insisted they were refined sugars within the meaning of the act of Congress. Testimony was taken in the district court by the parties to the proceedings, and that court decreed as follows:

"The sugar mentioned in the pleadings in this cause is not refined sugar within the meaning of the Act of Congress of January 21, 1829, and that entry was made of the said sugar in the office of the collector of the port of New York for exportation, by a false denomination, the same being entered by the owner for the benefit of drawback or bounty, under the denomination of refined sugar. But it is further considered and decreed, that it has been made to appear, to the satisfaction of this Court, that such false denomination happened by the mistake of the claimant, the owner, in believing bastard sugar entitled to the drawback provided by the said act of Congress. And it is further considered and decreed by this court, that the forfeiture of the said sugar, so entered, has not been incurred by the owner. It is further ordered and decreed

Page 32 U. S. 405

by this Court, that the said claimant pay the taxable costs of the libellants, and of the officers of this Court in this cause, and that therefore the libel filed in this cause be dismissed, and that the said sugar be delivered up, on demand, at reasonable times, to the said claimant, and it is further ordered that a certificate of probable cause of seizure be given to the collector or officer of the customs, by whom the seizure of the said sugar may have been made."

From this decree, both parties appealed to the Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York. On 4 January, 1831, the circuit court made the following decree:

"This cause having been brought to a hearing upon the pleadings and proofs therein, and counsel having been heard upon the appeal by the United States of America, as well as upon the appeal by Joseph Barlow, the claimant of the sugars mentioned in the pleadings in the cause, and the court having taken time to advise as to its decision, due deliberation being had, it is now ordered, adjudged and decreed by the court, and his honor, Smith Thompson, judge of this Court, doth order, adjudge and decree, that the appeal of the said Joseph Barlow, claimant as aforesaid, be dismissed, with costs. And it is further, in like manner, ordered, adjudged and decreed, that the decree of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York, so far as the same acquits the said sugars from forfeiture, for the causes in the libel in this cause mentioned, be reversed, with costs. And it is further, in like manner, ordered, adjudged and decreed, that the said sugars are not refined sugars, entitled to the benefit of drawback or bounty, within the meaning of the act of Congress, of 21 January, 1829, and that the same were entered in the office of the collector for the port of New York, for the benefit of drawback or bounty, under a false denomination, and with intent to defraud the revenue of the United States. And it is accordingly in like manner further ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the said sugars be and the same are condemned, as forfeited to the use of the United States, and that the said United States do recover their costs of suit,

Page 32 U. S. 406

to be taxed against the said Joseph Barlow, claimant as aforesaid."

The claimant appealed to this Court.

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