Hoyt v. Shelden,
66 U.S. 518 (1861)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hoyt v. Shelden, 66 U.S. 1 Black 518 518 (1861)

Hoyt v. Shelden

66 U.S. (1 Black) 518


1. This Court cannot review the proceedings of a state court on the ground that the judgment or decree violates the federal Constitution unless it appears from the record that the point was distinctly raised in the court below.

2. The clause in the Constitution on which the party relies, and the right claimed under it, must have been called to the attention of the court, and the decision of the court, with the subject so before it, must have been against the right claimed; otherwise no writ of error will lie.

This was a writ of error to the Superior Court of the City of

Page 66 U. S. 519

New York, "being possessed of the record and proceedings upon a remittitur from the Court of Appeals of the State of New York." It was a bill in equity, filed in the supreme court of the State of New York by Jesse Hoyt, the plaintiff in error, against Abraham G. Thompson, George B. Fisk, the Long Island Railroad Company, and the Statutory Representatives of the State of Michigan. All the defendants except the representatives of the State of Michigan demurred. The demurrers were argued before one of the judges of the supreme court, who overruled them. From this decision the defendants appealed to the general term of the supreme court, when, under a state statute the case was transferred to the Superior Court of the City of New York, where the appeal was argued and the decision of the supreme court overruled, the demurrers allowed, and the bill dismissed. From this decision the plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals, where the judgment of the superior court was reversed and the demurrers overruled, but defendants had leave to answer. About this time, the defendant, Abraham G. Thompson, died, and Henry Shelden was qualified as his executor and was made a party defendant. The superior court, on receiving the remittitur from the Court of Appeals, rendered judgment for the plaintiff on the demurrers and ordered the defendants demurring to answer to the bill. Shelden and the Long Island Railroad Company filed their answers. Testimony was taken and the court made a decree for plaintiff. Shelden appealed from this decree of a single judge at a special term, to the general term of the superior court, and obtained a reversal of it, with an order for a new trial. From the decision of the general term the plaintiff Hoyt took the cause to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the judgment of the superior court, made it final against plaintiff, as he had stipulated that it should be, and remitted the record and proceedings to the superior court. The superior court, on filing the remittitur from the Court of Appeals, ordered that final judgment be rendered against the plaintiff and that his bill be dismissed. Thereupon plaintiff sued out a writ of error from the Supreme Court of the United states to the superior court, in which he made Shelden, as

Page 66 U. S. 520

executor of Thompson, and the Long Island Railroad Company defendants in error. Pending this writ of error, Shelden died, and Edward G. Thompson, as his successor, and as administrator with the will annexed of Abraham G. Thompson, was made a party by order of this Court.

The power and jurisdiction of this Court to review the proceedings of the state court was denied by the defendant's counsel.

On the part of the plaintiff in error, it was contended that by a certain act of the New Jersey Legislature, and by the record of a judicial proceeding in the court of chancery of the same state, the title to the property in dispute was vested in the persons under and through whom he claimed it, and that the state court of New York in deciding against him, and dismissing his bill, refused to give full faith and credit to the records and judicial proceedings of the State of New Jersey, as required by Art. IV, Sec. 1, of the federal Constitution. The right which he had under the Constitution being refused him in the state court, his remedy was to reverse the proceeding on a writ of error from this Court.

The defendants' answer to this was that no such question had been raised in the state court. No claim of any right under the federal Constitution was asserted, nor was the attention of the court called to it in any manner whatever. It is not enough that such a point might have been made. It must appear that it was actually made.

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