Jones v. Shore's Executors
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14 U.S. 462 (1816)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Jones v. Shore's Executors, 14 U.S. 1 Wheat. 462 462 (1816)
Jones v. Shore's Executors
14 U.S. (1 Wheat.) 462
Under the Revenue Act of 2 March, 1799, c. 128, the right to share in the forfeitures and penalties accruing under the act is given to the collector who made the seizure or who brought the suit, and not to the collector who was in office at the time of the decree or judgment or the receipt of the forfeiture, if there has been any intermediate appointment. So of the share of the surveyor of a collection district.
The right of a collector to share in forfeitures in rem attaches on seizure and to personal penalties on suit brought, and in each case is consummated by the judgment.
The material facts of these cases are as follows:
On 23 November, 1808, a bond was executed at the custom house of Petersburg, in Virginia, to the United States by Thomas Pearse, master of the ship Sally, of Philadelphia, and Robert McAdam, Daniel Filton, and George Pegram, Jr., in the penal sum of $46,300, upon condition that if the cargo of said vessel, consisting of 830 hogsheads of tobacco, intended to be transported in said vessel from the port of Petersburg to the port of Boston, in Massachusetts, should be relanded in the United States, the danger of the seas excepted, then the obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full force. The bond was in fact given to John Shore, the Collector of the District of Petersburg, in pursuance of the second section of the Embargo Act of 22 December, 1807, ch. 5. A suit was afterwards brought by the said collector on the same bond in the District Court for the District of Virginia, and pending the proceedings in said court, to-wit, on or about 30 October, 1811, John Shore, the collector, died, and judgment was finally recovered on the same bond in favor of the United States on 30 November. 1811. On the 26th of the same November, John Jones was duly appointed and commissioned by the President as collector of the
same district, and he qualified as such and took upon himself the discharge of the duties of the office on 14 December, 1811, until which time Thomas Shore, who was deputy collector under John Shore at the time of his decease, continued as such deputy collector to discharge the duties of the office. Mr. Pegram sued out a writ of error from the said judgment to the Circuit Court for the District of Virginia, and Mr. Pegram having died pending the proceedings, the suit was revived by his administrator and the judgment of the district court was, at May term, 1814, affirmed by the circuit court.
At the time when the bond was taken by the collector, Andrew Torborn was the surveyor of said district for the Port of City Point, and continued in that office until his death, which happened after the commencement of the suit on said bond and before the rendition of judgment thereon, and was succeeded in his office by John H. Peterson, who was appointed and commissioned on 3 March, 1811, and qualified and entered upon the discharge of the duties of that office on the 16th of the same month. At the May term of the circuit court, 1814, the whole debt and costs recovered by the judgment were paid into court by the administrator of Mr. Pegram. Cross-petitions were thereupon filed by the district attorney in behalf of the United States praying the whole sum to be paid to him or deposited in the Bank of Virginia to the credit of the Treasurer of the United States by the present collector and surveyor of the District of Petersburg and by the representatives of the deceased collector and surveyor,
praying a payment over and distribution of the sum so recovered according to the rights respectively claimed by them. A bill was also filed on the chancery side of the circuit court by the representatives of the deceased collector and surveyor against the present collector and surveyor and the clerk of the court praying a moiety to be paid over to them or such other portion as they were entitled to by law, and also for general relief. Upon the hearing of the cross-petitions, the circuit court overruled the prayer of the motion of the district attorney, the court being of opinion that the United States was entitled only to a moiety of the money and that the same ought to be paid to the collector of the district, and ordered the clerk of the court accordingly to pay the same to John Jones, the present collector, after deducting therefrom one-half of one percentum for his commission. And the court being divided in opinion whether the other moiety should be paid to the said collector to be distributed by him according to law, as this Court should direct, or without any direction on the subject, certified the same question to the Supreme Court.
Upon the hearing of the suit in chancery on the bill, answer, and proof, in which none of the facts were controverted, a question occurred before the court whether the representative of the late surveyor, in right of his intestate, was entitled to receive the moiety of that portion of the penalty which is by law to be distributed among the several revenue officers of the district wherein the penalty was incurred, upon which
question the court was divided, and the same question was certified to this Court.