United States v. MooreAnnotate this Case
7 U.S. 159 (1805)
U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Moore, 7 U.S. 3 Cranch 159 159 (1805)
United States v. Moore
7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 159
An appeal in a criminal case does not lie to the Supreme Court from the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia.
An affirmative description of the powers of the Supreme Court of the United States by an act of Congress must be understood as a regulation under the Constitution prohibiting the exercise of other powers than those described.
The words "matter in dispute" in the act of Congress respecting appeals to the Supreme Court seem appropriated to civil cases where the subject in contest is of a value beyond the sum mentioned in the act. But in criminal cases, the question is the guilt or innocence of the accused. And although he may be fined upwards of $100, yet that is, in the eye of the law, a punishment for the offense committed, and not the particular object of the suit.
Error to the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, sitting at Washington, upon a judgment in favor of the traverser on a demurrer to an indictment for taking unlawful fees as a justice of the peace for the County of Washington.
The indictment was as follows:
"United States, District of Columbia and County of Washington, to-wit:"
"The jurors for the United States for the District of Columbia and County of Washington aforesaid, upon their oath present that Benjamin More, late of the County of Washington, aforesaid, gentleman, on 10 December, 1802, then being one of the justices of the peace of the United States for the County of Washington aforesaid at the County of Washington aforesaid, by color of his said office, unlawfully and unjustly did demand, extort, receive and take of and from one Richard Spalding, constable, acting for and on behalf, of one Joseph Hickman, the sum of twelve cents and a half cent, lawful current money of the United States, for and as his fee for executing and doing the duties of his said office, to-wit, for rendering and giving judgment upon a warrant for a small debt in a case between the said Joseph Hickman, plaintiff, and one Joseph Dove, defendant, in contempt of the law, to the great damage of them, the said Richard Spalding and Joseph Hickman, and against the peace and government of the United States."
"JOHN T. MASON"
"United States Attorney, for the District of Columbia"
To this indictment there was a general demurrer and joinder, and judgment in the court below for the traverser at July Term 1803.