Pike v. Wassell
94 U.S. 711 (1876)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pike v. Wassell, 94 U.S. 711 (1876)

Pike v. Wassell

94 U.S. 711

Syllabus

Certain lands in Arkansas, liable to confiscation under the Act of July 17, 1862, 12 Stat. 589, and belonging to A., a nonresident of the state, were seized Feb. 16, 1865, by the marshal, pursuant to instructions from the district attorney, who, on the 17th of that month, filed a libel of information against them in the proper district court of the United states. On the following day, a warrant of arrest and monition was issued and duly served. The libel was amended April 5, so as to embrace other lands of A. On that day a decree of condemnation, forfeiture, and sale of all the lands was entered by that court, and they were sold on the 28th of that month by the marshal, under a venditioni exponas. The purchasers subsequently conveyed them to B. The decree of condemnation was affirmed by the circuit court. A writ of attachment, sued out of one of the courts of Arkansas, March 9, 1865, at the suit of sundry creditors of A., was on that day levied upon the same lands. A., by his attorney, entered his appearance to the suit, and judgment was rendered against him Sept. 29. All of said lands were sold by the sheriff under a fieri facias. B. became the purchaser, and refuses to pay taxes upon them, in order that, by buying them at a sale for delinquent taxes, his title may be perfected. A. is still living, and his children brought this suit.

Held:

1. That the appearance of A. did not discharge the lien of the attachment.

2. That the levy of that writ by the sheriff upon the lands seized by the marshal was void, and that B.'s interest in them is determinable upon the death of A.

3. That the decree of condemnation did not divest the rights of the attaching creditors in the lands not seized by the marshal, and that B.'s title to them in fee, acquired by his purchase at the sheriff's sale, was not affected by the proceedings in

Page 94 U. S. 712

confiscation, and the sale under them.

4. That the affirmance by the circuit court of the decree gave no validity to it as against the attaching creditors.

5. That the heirs apparent or presumptive of A. have, in regard to the lands so seized and sold by the marshal, a right to protect their estate from forfeiture or encumbrance, and that B.'s refusal to pay the taxes on them presents a proper case for relief in a court of equity.

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