De Castro v. Board of Comm'rs of San Juan
322 U.S. 451 (1944)

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U.S. Supreme Court

De Castro v. Board of Comm'rs of San Juan, 322 U.S. 451 (1944)

De Castro v. Board of Commissioners of San Juan

No. 349

Argued April 24, 1944

Decided May 29, 1944

322 U.S. 451


1. On review by the federal courts, a decision of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico on a question of local law will be rejected only on a clear showing that the rule applied by the insular court does violence to recognized principles of local law or established practices of the local community. Diaz v. Gonzalez, 261 U. S. 102, followed. Pp. 322 U. S. 455-456.

2. The ruling in Bonet v. Texas Company, 308 U. S. 463, that, to justify reversal of a decision of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico on a matter of local law, "the error must be clear or manifest; the interpretation must be inescapably wrong," does not warrant summary disposition of appeals from the insular court, but imposes on the Circuit Court of Appeals and on this Court the duty to examine and appraise the local law in its setting, with the sympathetic disposition to safeguard in matters of local concern the adaptability of the law to local practices and needs. P. 322 U. S. 458.

3. The deference due by the federal courts on review of decisions of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico to that court's understanding of matters of local concern is due likewise by the federal district court for Puerto Rico in cases there pending, and by the federal courts on appeals therefrom. P. 322 U. S. 459.

Page 322 U. S. 452

4. The decision of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico that, under the applicable local legislation, properly construed, the term of office of the City Manager of San Juan is for "four years, provided that, during the same, he observe good behavior," was not clearly erroneous, and must be sustained on review. P. 322 U. S. 464.

136 F.2d 419 affirmed.

Certiorari, 321 U.S. 757, to review the affirmance of a judgment of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico staying execution of a prior judgment which ordered reinstatement of the petitioner in a local public office.

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