United States v. Morehead,
243 U.S. 607 (1917)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Morehead, 243 U.S. 607 (1917)

United States v. Morehead

No. 685

Argued March 14, 1917

Decided April 30, 1917

243 U.S. 607


A charge of perjury may be based upon a valid regulation of the Land Department requiring an affidavit if the oath be taken "before a competent tribunal, officer or person." United States v. Smull, 236 U. S. 405.

The Land Department being expressly charged with the duty of enforcing the public land laws by appropriate regulations, its regulations in that regard, when duly promulgated, must be deemed valid if they are not unreasonable, inappropriate, or inconsistent with the acts of Congress.

A regulation of the Land Department requiring applicants for soldiers'

Page 243 U. S. 608

homesteads under Rev.Stats. § 2304 et seq., to make oath in their declaratory statements that their claims are for their exclusive use and benefit, for the purpose of actual settlement and cultivation, and not either directly or indirectly for the use or benefit of any other person, and that agents filing such statements have no right or interest, direct or indirect, in the filing thereof, is a valid regulation not adding to the conditions of the statute, but serving to effectuate its purpose.

The regulation of the Department providing that soldiers' declaratory statements, when filed by agent, may be executed before any officer having a seal and authorized to administer oaths generally, is appropriate and valid, and an oath to such a statement taken before a state notary or clerk of court pursuant to such regulation violates the federal perjury statute, if the statement is material and false.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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