United States v. McMillan,
165 U.S. 504 (1897)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. McMillan, 165 U.S. 504 (1897)

United States v. McMillan

No. 184

Argued January 21, 1897

Decided February 15, 1897

165 U.S. 504


The clerk of a district court of a territory is bound to account to the United States for fees received by him from private parties in civil actions and from the territory on account of territorial business.

The clerk of a district court of a territory is not bound to account to the United States for sums received for his services in naturalization proceedings.

This was an action brought December 31, 1892, in the Third Judicial District Court of the Territory of Utah by the United States against Henry G. McMillan, clerk of that court, and the sureties on his official bond to recover the amount of certain fees received by him and not accounted for.

The complaint contained two counts, the first of which alleged that

"between January 8 and December 31, 1889, inclusive, the said Henry G. McMillan, while clerk as aforesaid, and as such, earned, collected, and received from different sources, as the fees and emoluments of his said office, $7,458.70, of which sum $988.90 was earned and received in United States business, $3,776 for declarations of intention and naturalizations, and $2,693.80 from private persons in civil litigation, and from the Territory of Utah on account of territorial business;"

that he was entitled to retain, of the moneys aforesaid, the sum of $1,984.93 as his personal compensation, and the further sum of $1,744.05 as the reasonable and necessary expenses of his office, as allowed by the Attorney

Page 165 U. S. 505

General of the United States; that it was his duty, as clerk aforesaid, on January 31, 1890, to account for and to pay over to the United States all moneys so earned and received by him as aforesaid in excess of these two sums, and that he neglected and failed so to do.

The second count was precisely like the first except that it related to fees received between January 1 and December 31, 1890, inclusive, and specified different sums.

The defendants demurred to the complaint as not stating facts sufficient constitute a cause of action. The court sustained the demurrer, and, the attorney for the United States saying that he could not amend the complaint, judgment was rendered for the defendants. The United States appealed to the supreme court of the territory, which affirmed the judgment. 10 Utah 184. The United States sued out this writ of error.

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