Kempe's Lessee v. Kennedy - 9 U.S. 173 (1809)
U.S. Supreme Court
Kempe's Lessee v. Kennedy, 9 U.S. 5 Cranch 173 173 (1809)
Kempe's Lessee v. Kennedy
9 U.S. (5 Cranch) 173
The Inferior Court of Common Pleas for the County of Hunterdon, in the State of New Jersey, in May, 1779, had a general jurisdiction in all cases of inquisition for treason, and its judgment, although erroneous, was not void, inasmuch as the court had jurisdiction of the cause.
Error to the Circuit Court of the District of New Jersey in an action of ejectment brought by John Den, lessee of Grace Kempe, a British subject, against R. Kennedy and M. Cowell, citizens of the State of New Jersey, for land in that state.
Upon the trial of the cause upon the general issue, a bill of exceptions was taken by the plaintiff which presents the following case:
Grace Coxe, the lessor of the plaintiff, being seized in fee of the land in question, before the year 1772 intermarried with John Tabor Kempe, who died in August, 1792. They resided in New York before and during the war with Great Britain, and went to Great Britain when New York was evacuated
by the British army. Grace Kempe, since the death of her husband, has continued to reside and now resides in Great Britain, where he died, having been in possession of the land in right of his wife, on the first of March, 1776, and until the same was seized by the authority of the State of New Jersey.
The defendants relied upon several acts of the Legislature of New Jersey; an inquisition taken under the authority of those acts; a judgment of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas for the County of Hunterdon, in May, 1779, upon that inquisition, confiscating the estate; a judgment of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas for the County of Sussex; an execution upon that judgment; and a deed from Joseph Gaston, an agent for the State of New Jersey, to the defendant Kennedy, whose tenant the other defendant was, and proved that he had always been in possession under that deed from the day of its date to the day of trial.
Upon this case the plaintiff prayed the court to instruct the jury that it ought to find a verdict for him, which the court refused and directed the jury that it ought to find a verdict for the defendants, to which refusal and direction the plaintiff excepted, and brought his writ of error.