United States v. Dieckerhoff,
202 U.S. 302 (1906)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Dieckerhoff, 202 U.S. 302 (1906)

United States v. Dieckerhoff

No. 228

Argued April 17, 1906

Decided May 14, 1906

202 U.S. 302


A bond given by an importer to a collector of customs and purporting to be executed under cover of § 2899, Rev.Stat., conditioned in double the value of packages delivered to the importer by the collector and to be forfeited if such packages are opened without consent of the collector and in presence of an inspector, or if not returned to collector on his demand therefor, is a valid bond, for, although not conditioned in express words of the statute, it does not run counter thereto, and it is within the authority of the collector to accept it.

Under such a bond, the obligation is fixed, and the government is not required to prove any actual loss or damage, but is entitled to recover the full amount specified in the bond -- double the value of the package ordered to be returned -- as a definite sum, to be paid by the importer for nonfulfillment of his statutory duty, and this obligation is not affected by anything contained in § 961, Rev.Stat., limiting recoveries on forfeitures to amount due in equity.

Where Congress has provided a specific penalty for failing to comply with a statutory provision and obligation, it is not within the province of courts of equity to mitigate the harshness of the penalty or forfeiture or to grant relief running directly counter to the statutory requirements.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 202 U. S. 305

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