Hoyt v. Russell,
117 U.S. 401 (1886)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hoyt v. Russell, 117 U.S. 401 (1886)

Hoyt v. Russell

Submitted March 11, 1886

Decided March 22, 1886

117 U.S. 401


A territorial court is bound to take judicial notice of the statutes of the territory in operation affecting a subject brought before it in the regular course of procedure.

On May 8, 1873, the Legislature of Montana enacted that any person who should thereafter discover a mining claim should file in the office of the recorder of the county a statement in some material respects different from the statement previously required by law to be filed in such case, and that the act should take effect on and after its passage. On that date, a statute was in force there which provided that

"All acts of the legislature declaring that they should take effect from and after their passage shall so take effect only at the seat of government, and in other portions of the territory, allowing fifteen miles from the seat of government for each day."

On the 13th of May, 1873, at a place in the territory in which the Act of May 8, 1873, had not come into force, H & G discovered a lode and located it, and subsequently filed a notice of location complying in all respects with the law as it was before the passage of the Act of May 8, 1873, but not complying with the requirements of that act. R, who had made a conflicting location, filed an adverse claim under Rev.Stat. § 2326. On the trial, the

Page 117 U. S. 402

court refused to receive proof of the location by H & G because they did not also prove affirmatively that the Act of May 8 had not taken effect at the lode at the time of the location by reason of its distance from the seat of government. Held that the court should have taken judicial notice of the fact that that statute was not then in force there, and that it was error to exclude the evidence for the want of such proof.

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

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