Miller v. Joseph - 84 U.S. 655 (1873)
U.S. Supreme Court
Miller v. Joseph, 84 U.S. 17 Wall. 655 655 (1873)
Miller v. Joseph
84 U.S. (17 Wall.) 655
A writ of error from the Supreme Court of the United States to review the judgment of a state court must be issued to the highest court of the state in which a decision of the case could be had, even if that court be an inferior court of the state. Accordingly, where a circuit court of Virginia had jurisdiction to decide a case finally, the Court of Appeals of that state not having jurisdiction to review the decision by reason of the amount in controversy being under $500, a writ of error from this Court issued to the Court of Appeals was dismissed. If allowable at all, the writ should have been issued to the circuit court.
In 1868, one Joseph recovered a judgment in the Circuit Court of Rockingham County, Virginia, against a certain Miller for a sum less than $500 -- costs and interest included -- and issued execution thereon. In 1869, Miller filed a bill
in chancery in the same circuit court to restrain the collection of the judgment and for a new trial, making Joseph and the sheriff of that county parties. They appeared and answered. The circuit court, at the hearing, which was had on the pleadings, dismissed the bill.
The plaintiff then applied to the Supreme Court of Appeals of the state to allow an appeal from the decree of the circuit court, but that court refused to allow it. Miller then sued out of this Court a writ of error to review this action of the Supreme Court of Appeals. With certain exceptions, not embracing the present case, the Constitution of Virginia of 1870 does not allow an appeal in civil cases where the amount in controversy is under $500.