United States v. Jones
134 U.S. 483 (1890)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Jones, 134 U.S. 483 (1890)

United States v. Jones

No. 1554

Submitted March 3, 1890

Decided March 24, 1890

134 U.S. 483


The decision of a commissioner of a Circuit Court of the United States upon a motion for bail and the sufficiency thereof, and his decision upon a motion for a continuance of the hearing of a criminal charge, are judicial acts in the "hearing and deciding on criminal charges" within the meaning of Rev.Stat. § 847, providing for a per diem compensation in such cases.

The approval of a commissioner's account by a Circuit Court of the United States is prima facie evidence of its correctness, and, in the absence of clear and unequivocal proof of mistake on the part of the court, should be conclusive.

This was an appeal from a judgment rendered by the Court of Claims against the United States in favor of Richard M. Jones, for services rendered by him as a commissioner of the Circuit Court of the United States for the Western District of North Carolina.

The material facts of the case, as found by the court upon the evidence, were that the claimant had been a commissioner of the said court from 1883 to the bringing of the action; that from December 3, 1885, to June 30, 1886, as such commissioner, he issued warrants in six cases in which issue was joined and testimony taken; in three cases in which issue was joined and no testimony was taken, and in three cases in which issue was not joined, the defendants discharged, and no testimony taken, and that he duly made his docket entries in each and all of those cases by order and authority of the court, and in the manner required by its rules.

His accounts for fees and for keeping his dockets were verified by oath, and presented to the court in the presence of the district attorney, and approved by the court in due form. For those accounts thus approved he was allowed a fee of three dollars in each case where issue was joined and testimony taken, two dollars where issue was joined but no testimony taken, and one dollar where issue was not joined,

Page 134 U. S. 484

and the defendant discharged. His account also showed charges on eleven different days from March 12, 1884, to September 15, 1887, in as many criminal cases, each of which charges was either "for hearing and deciding on criminal charges, in deciding on amount of bail and sufficiency thereof," or " for hearing and deciding on criminal charges, in hearing and deciding on motion for continuance." These charges were approved by the Circuit Court, but not paid.

The court found as a conclusion of law that the claimant was entitled to $55 for these last eleven cases, and entered a judgment in his favor for $76. From that judgment, the United States brought this appeal.

The only assignment of error presented by the government in this appeal was that the court erred in finding that claimant is entitled to $55 for hearing and deciding on amount of bail and sufficiency thereof in four cases, and for hearing and deciding on motion for continuance in seven cases.

Page 134 U. S. 486

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