« ForrigeFortsett »
of those courts, especially when they involve questions of the interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, and of the constitutionality and effect of acts of Congress, cannot be considered as establishing the law, or as relieving this court from the responsibility of exercising its own judgment. Ex parte Wilson (1885) 114 U. S. 417, 425 [29: 89, 92]; Andrews v. Hovey (1888) 124 U. S. 694, 717 [31: 557,563]; The J. E. Rumbell (1893) 148 U. S. 1, 17 [37: 345, 349].
IX. The legislation of Congress since the act of 1823 has not changed the character of the office, or the nature of the powers, of the justices of the peace in the District of Columbia, or of the juries summoned to try cases before those justices. The principal changes have been by enlarging the limits of the civil jurisdiction of the justices of the peace, and by expressly requiring security on appeals from their judgments.
By the act of February 22, 1867, chap. 63, 1 (14 Stat. at L. 401), Congress enlarged the jurisdiction of justices of the peace in the District of Columbia to "all cases where the amount claimed to be due for debt or damages arising out of contracts, express or implied, or damages for wrongs or injuries to persons or property, does not exceed one hundred dollars, except in cases involving the title to real estate, actions to recover damages for assault, or assault and battery, or for malicious prosecution, or actions against justices of the peace or other officers for misconduct in office, or in actions for slander, verbal or written." [Rev. Stat. D. C. § 997.] And on the same day, Congress, by the act of 1867, chap. 64 (14 Stat. at L. 403), provided that "no appeal shall be ȧllowed from a judgment of a justice of the peace, unless the appellant, with sufficient surety or sureties, approved by the justice, enter into an undertaking to satisfy and pay all intervening damages and costs arising  on the appeal;" and that, "when such*undertaking has been entered into, the justice shall immediately file the original papers, including a copy of his docket entries, in the office of the clerk of the supreme court of the District of Columbia; and thereupon, as soon as the appellant shall have made the deposit for costs required by law, or obtained leave from one of the justices, or from the court, to prosecute his appeal without a deposit, the clerk shall docket the cause," and it should be proceeded with substantially in the manner prescribed by the act of Congress of 1823. [Rev. Stat. D. C. 88 774, 1027-1029.]
In 1874, the provisions, above quoted, of the acts of 1823 and 1867, were re-enacted (with hardly any change except by subdividing and transposing sections) in the Revised Statutes of the District of Columbia, at the places above referred to in brackets.
By the act of February 19, 1895, chap. 100, §§ 1, 2, justices of the peace of the District of Columbia have been granted (with the same exceptions as in the act of February 22, 1867, chap. 63, also excepting, however, actions for damages for breaches of promise to marry, and not excepting actions for assault
or for assault and battery) exclusive original jurisdiction of "all civil pleas and actions, including attachment and replevin, where the amount claimed to be due or the value of the property sought to be recovered does not exceed" one hundred dollars, and concurrent original jurisdiction with the supreme court of the District of Columbia, where it is more than one hundred and not more than three hundred dollars; "and where the sum claimed exceeds twenty dollars, either party shall be entitled to a trial by jury." And by § 3, "no appeal shall be allowed from the judgment of a justice of the peace in any common-law action, unless the matter in demand in such action, or pleaded in set-off thereto, shall exceed the sum of five dollars; nor unless appellant, with sufficient surety approved by the justice, enters into an undertaking to pay and satisfy whatever final judgment may be recovered in the appellate court." 28 Stat. at L. 668.
Under the act of 1895, as under the previous acts of Congress, where the matter in controversy exceeds five dollars in value, an appeal lies to a court of record from any judgment of a justice of the peace, whether  rendered upon a verdict or not, and either party may have a trial by a common-law jury in the appellate court; and the trial by jury in that court is, and the trial before & justice of the peace is not, a trial by jury within the meaning of the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution.
The only question remaining to be considered is of the constitutionality of the provisions of the act of 1895, by which the civil jurisdiction of justices of the peace is extended to three hundred dollars, and either party, on appealing from the judgment of the justice of the peace to the supreme court of the District of Columbia, is required to enter into an undertaking to pay and satisfy whatever judgment may be rendered in that court.
For half a century and more, as has been seen, after the adoption of the earliest Constitutions of the several states, their courts uniformly maintained the constitutionality of statutes more than doubling the pecuniary limit of the civil jurisdiction of justices of the peace as it stood before the adoption of Constitutions declaring that trial by jury should be preserved inviolate, although those statutes made no provision for a trial by jury, except upon appeal from the judgment of the justice of the peace, and upon giving bond with surety to pay the judgment of have been understood to be the law of Marythe appellate court. And such appears to land and of the District of Columbia before and at the time of the passage of the act of Congress of 1823.
Legislation increasing the civil jurisdiction of justices of the peace to two or three hundred dollars, and requiring each appellant from the judgment of a justice of the peace to a court of record, in which a trial by jury may be had for the first time, to give security for the payment of the judgment of the court appealed to, has not generally been
considered as unreasonably obstructing the right of trial by jury, as is shown by the numerous statutes cited in the margint *from which it appears that the civil jurisdiction of justices of the peace has been increased to three hundred dollars in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, Arkansas, Colorado, and California; to two hundred and fifty dollars in Missouri; and to two hundred dollars in New York, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Delaware, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas; and that the appellant is required (at least when the appeal is to operate as a supersedeas) to enter into a bond or recognizance, not only to prosecute his appeal, but to pay the judgment of the appellate court, in all those states, except Pennsylvania; and in that state any corporation, except a municipal corporation, is required to give such a bond, but other appellants are required to give bond for the payment of costs only. And we have not been referred to a single decision in any of those states that holds such a statute to be unconstitutional in any respect.
The legislature, in distributing the judicial power between courts of record, on the one hand, and justices of the peace or other subordinate magistrates, on the other, with a view to prevent unnecessary delay and unreasonable expense, must have a considerable discretion, whenever in its opinion, because *of general increase in litigation, or other change of circumstances, the interest and convenience of the public require it, to enlarge within reasonable bounds the pecuniary amounts of the classes of claims entrusted in the first instance to the decision of justices of the peace, provided always the right of trial by jury is not taken away in any case in which it is secured by the Constitution.
Having regard to the principles and to the precedents applicable to this subject, we should not be warranted in declaring that the act of Congress of 1895 so unreasonably obstructs the right of trial by jury, that it must for this reason be held to be unconsti
tutional and void.
X. Upon the whole matter, our conclusion is, that Congress, in the exercise of its general and exclusive power of legislation over the District of Columbia, may provide for
the trial of civil causes of moderate amount by a justice of the peace, or, in his presence, by a jury of twelve, or of any less number, allowing to either party, where the value in
controversy exceeds twenty dollars, the right to appeal from the judgment of the justice of the peace of a court of record, and to have a trial by jury in that court; that Congress, in every case where the value in controversy exceeds five dollars, has authorized either party to appeal from the judgment of the justice of the peace, although entered upon the verdict of a jury, to the supreme court of the District of Columbia, and to have a trial by jury in that court; that the trial by a jury of twelve, as permitted by Congress to be had before a justice of the peace, is not, and the trial by jury in the appellate court is, a trial by jury, within the meaning of the common law, and of the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution; that therefore the trial of facts by a jury before the justice of the peace does not prevent those facts from being re-examined by a jury in the appellate court; that the right of trial by jury in the appellate court is not unduly obstructed by the provisions enlarging the civil jurisdiction of justices of the peace to three hundred dollars, and requiring every appellant to give security to pay and satisfy the judgment of the appellate court; that the legislation of Congress upon the subject is in all respects consistent with the Constitution of the  United States; and that upon these grounds (which are substantially those taken by Chief Justice Alvey below) the judgment of the court of appeals, quashing the writ of certiorari to the justice of the peace, must be affirmed.
The effect of so affirming that judgment will be to leave the claim of Hof against the Capital Traction Company open to be tried by a jury before the justice of the peace, and, after his judgment upon their verdict, to be taken by appeal to the supreme court of the District of Columbia, and to be there tried by jury on the demand of either party. Judgment affirmed.
Mr. Justice Brewer concurred in the
judgment of affirmance, but dissented from so much of the opinion as upheld the validity of the provision of the act of Congress reof a justice of the peace to give bond with quiring every appellant from the judgment surety for the payment of the judgment of the appellate court.
Mr. Justice Brown did not sit in this case, or take any part in its decision.
ARKANSAS. Digest 1894, §§ 4317, 4431, | Howell's Stat. 1882, §§ 6814, 7000.
CALIFORNIA. Code of Civil Procedure 1872,
88 114, 974, 978. COLORADO. Rev. Stat. 1867, chap. 50, §§ 1, 38, 39; Gen. Laws 1877, §§ 1482, 1519, 1520; Gen. Stat. 1883, §§ 1924, 1979, 1980.
DELAWARE. Rev. Stat. 1893, chap. 99, §§ 1, 25. ILLINOIS. Rev. Stat. 1874, chap. 79, §§ 13, 62; Starr & Curtis's Stat. 1896, chap. 79, §§ 16,
INDIANA. R.v. Stat. 1881. §§ 1433, 1500. KANSAS. Gen. Stat. 1868, chap. 81, §§ 2, 121 Gen. Stat. 1897, chap. 103, §§ 20. 188. Rev. Stat. 1872, §§ 5249, 5433;
MISSISSIPPI. Code 1892. §§ 2394. 82. MISSOURI. Rev. Stat. 1889, §§ 6122, 6328. NEW YORK. Stat. 1861, chap. 158; Rev. Stat. 1875, 6th ed. pt. 3, tit. 2, § 56; tit. 4, § 53.
NORTH CAROLINA. Code 1883, §§ 834, 884. OHIO. Rev. Stat. 1880, §§ 585, 6584. PENNSYLVANIA. Stat. July 7, 1879, chap. 211; Purdon's Digest 1885, 11th ed. Justice of the Peace, §§ 35, 99, 100.
TEXAS. Rev. Stat. 1879, §§ 1539, 1639; Rev. Stat. 1895, §§ 1568, 1670.
WISCONSIN. Rev. Stat. 1878, §§ 3572, 3756; Stat. 1898, §§ 3572, 3760.
tion that in criminal prosecutions the accused shall be confronted with the witnesses against him.
An indictment for receiving stolen property of the United States sufficiently alleges its ownership of the property when it was feloniously received by the accused, by alleging that the property was that of the United States when stolen, and was stolen two days previously to its being received by him, and that he received it knowing that it had been stolen.
An indictment for receiving stolen property need not state from whom the accused received it, or state that the name of such person is unknown to the grand jurors.
Argued and Submitted January 5, 6, 1899. Argued January 20, 1899. Decided April Decided April 11, 1899.
'N ERROR to the Court of Appeals of the
I District of Columbia to review judgments
of that court.
See same case below, 11 App. D. C. 57. Messrs. D. W. Baker and Nathaniel Wil son for Metropolitan Railroad Company, plaintiff in error.
Mr. Ernest L. Schmidt for Samuel R. Church, defendant in error.
Messrs. Henry P. Blair and Corcoran Thom for the Brightwood Railway Company, plaintiff in error.
Messrs. Raymond A. Heiskell and M. J. Colbert for O'Neal et al., defendants in
BY THE COURT:
In No. 114, METROPOLITAN RAILWAY COMPANY V. CHURCH, and No. 195, BRIGHTWOOD RAILWAY COMPANY V. O'NEAL, argued at the same time, the judgments of the court of appeals of the District of Columbia, quashing writs of certiorari to set aside proceed ings of a justice of the peace under similar circumstances, are likewise affirmed.
JOE KIRBY, Plff. in Err.,
(See S. C. Reporter's ed. 47-64.) Presumption of innocence of accused-act of March 3, 1875, as to evidence, unconstitutional-indictment for receiving stolen property of the United States-need not state from whom property was received.
1. The presumption of the innocence of the accused attends him throughout the trial, and has relation to every fact that must be established in order to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
2. The provision of the act of March 3, 1875, that the judgment of conviction against the
principal felons shall be evidence in the prose
United States for the District of South
IN ERROR to the District Court of the
Dakota to review a judgment of that court
The facts are stated in the opinion.
The finding of a sufficient indictment by a grand jury is jurisdictional and a right of which the accused, under the Constitution, cannot be deprived.
Ex parte Bain, 121 U. S. 1, 30 L. ed. 849.
which the plaintiff in error was convicted
United States v. Cook, 17 Wall. 174, 21 L. ed. 539; United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 23 L. ed. 588; Reg. v. Martin, 9 Car. & P. 215.
The ownership of the property of the United States is a jurisdictional question; and such ownership at the time the crime is charged to have been committed must be distinctly alleged and proved.
Affierbach v. McGovern, 79 Cal. 268; Miller v. People, 13 Colo. 166; State v. Lyon, 17 Wis. 238; People v. Vice, 21 Cal. 345; Higgins v. State (Tex. App.) 19 S. W. 503; State v. Lathrop, 15 Vt. 279; Thomas v. State, 96 Ga. 311.
The indictment is also defective in that it fails to allege from whom the plaintiff in error received the stamps which had been stolen.
United States v. De Bare, 6 Biss. 358; State v. Ives, 35 N. C. (13 Ired. L.) 338; Foster v. State, 106 Ind. 272; 2 Bish. New Cr. Law, § 1140.
The indictment is also fatally defective for duplicity; it contains complete indictments against the principal felons, and what is claimed to be an indictment against the plaintiff in error.
cution against the receiver, that the property
Wis. 238; State v. Longley, 10 Ind. 482; | in concealing, or have, or retain in his pos
The mere fact that a party has, in the absence of the accused, said that he himself is guilty, is not to be received as evidence sufficient to justify the conviction of the ac
Com. v. Elisha, 3 Gray, 460; State v. Newport, 4 Harr. (Del.) 567; State v. Arnold, 48 Iowa, 566; State v. Westfall, 49 Iowa, 328; Hicks's Case, 1 N. Y. City Hall Rec. 66; People v. Kraker, 72 Cal. 459; Reg. v. Robinson, 4 Fost. & F. 43; Reg. v. Pratt, 4 Fost. & F. 315.
If the record of the conviction of the principal felons be laid out of the case, there is then no evidence that the property was "stolen property," and the verdict must be set aside.
State v. Caveness, 78 N. C. 484.
The possession of stolen stamps by a regular practitioner in the court ought not to be considered as a presumption against him, unless long continued and coupled with some other incriminating circumstances.
Durant v. People, 13 Mich. 351; State v. Bulla, 89 Mo. 595; State v. Caveness, 78 N. C. 484; Wilson v. State, 12 Tex. App. 481. Mr. James E. Boyd, Assistant Attorney General, for defendant in error:
session with intent to convert to his own use or gain, any money, property, record, voucher, or valuable thing whatever, of the moneys, goods, chattels, records, or property of the United States, which has theretofore been embezzled, stolen, or purloined, such person shall, on conviction before the circuit or district court of the United States in the district wherein he may have such property, be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or imprisonment at hard labor in the penitentiary not exceeding five years, one or both, at the discretion of the court before which he shall be convicted; and such receiver may be tried either before or after the conviction of the principal felon, but if the party has been convicted, then the judgment against him shall be conclusive evidence in the prosecution against such receiver that the property of the United States therein described has been embezzled, stolen, or purloined." 18 Stat. at L. 479, chap. 144.
The indictment contained three counts, but the defendant was tried only on the first. In that count it was stated that Thomas J. Wallace, Ed. Baxter, and Frank King on the 7th day of June, 1896, at Highmore, within the jurisdiction of the court, feloniously and forcibly broke into a postoffice of the United States, and feloniously stole, took, and carried away therefrom certain moneys and  Commonly in England and in numbers of property of the United States, to wit: 3,750 our states, the indictment does not aver postage stamps of the denomination of two from whom the stolen goods were received. cents and of the value of two cents each, 1,3 Chitty, Crim. Law, 991; Arch. Crim. Pl. 266 postage stamps of the denomination of & Ev. 10th Lon. ed. 269, 19th ed. 472; Arch. one cent and of the value of one cent each, 140. New Crim. Proc. 474; Jupitz v. People, 34 postage stamps of the denomination of four Ill. 516; Cohen v. People, 5 Park. Crim. cents and of the value of four cents each, 250 Rep. 330; State v. Murphy, 6 Ala. 845; Com. postage stamps of the denomination of five v. Lakeman, 5 Gray, 82; Queen v. Gold-cents and of the value of five cents each, 80 emith, L. R. 2 C. C. 74: Horan v. State, 24 Tex. 161; Rex v. Jervis, 6 Car. & P. 156; Thomas's Case, 2 East, P. C. 781.
The plaintiff in error Kirby was indicted in the district court of the United States for the southern division of the district of South Dakota under the act of Congress of  March 3d, 1875, *entitled "An Act to Punish Certain Larcenies, and the Receivers of Stolen Goods." 18 Stat. at L. 479, chap. 144. The first section provides that "any person who shall embezzle, steal, or purloin any money, property, record, voucher, or valuable thing whatever of the moneys, goods, chattels, records, or property of the United States shall be deemed guilty of felony, and on conviction thereof before the district or circuit court of the United States in the district wherein said offense may have been committed, or into which he shall carry or have in possession of said property so embezzled, stolen, or purloined, shall be punished therefor by imprisonment at hard labor in the penitentiary not exceeding five years, or by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or both, at the discretion of the court before which he shall be convicted."
By the second section it is provided that "if any person shall receive, conceal, or aid
postage stamps of the denomination of eight cents and of the value of eight cents each, and also United States Treasury notes, national bank notes, silver certificates, gold certificates, silver, nickel, and copper coins of the United States as well as current money of the United States, a more particular description of which the grand jury were unable to ascertain, of the value of $58.19; and that the persons above named were severally indicted and convicted of that offense, and had been duly sentenced upon such conviction.
It was then alleged that the defendant on the 9th day of June, 1896, at the city of Sioux Falls, the postage stamps "so as aforesaid feloniously stolen, taken, and carried away, feloniously did receive and have in his possession, with intent then and there to convert the same to his own use and gain, the said Joe Kirby then and there well knowing the said postage stamps to have been theretofore feloniously stolen, taken, and carried away, contrary to the form, force, and effect of the statutes of the United States in such cases made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the United States."
At the trial of Kirby the government offered in evidence a part of the record of the trial of Wallace, Baxter, and King, from which it appeared that Wallace and Baxter after severally pleading not guilty withdrew their respective pleas and each pleaded
guilty and was sentenced to confinement in | found, by a careful consideration of all the the penitentiary at hard labor for the term of four years. It appeared from the same record that King having pleaded not guilty was found guilty and sentenced to the penitentiary at hard labor for the term of five years.
evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the property alleged in the indictment was stolen, then you will proceed to consider whether or not the defendant ever at any time, either on the date alleged in the indictment or any other date within three years previous to the finding of the indictment, had in his possession or received any of this property which was stolen from the postoffice at Highmore. Now, in order to find the defendant guilty of the offense charged in the indictment, you would have to find be yond a reasonable doubt from all the evidence that he either actually received a por. tion or all of the property which was stolen from the postoffice at Highmore, and that he 1eceived that property from the thief or thieves who committed the theft at the HighAfter referring to the provisions of the act more postoffice or some agent of these thieves. of March 3d, 1875, and to the indictment The statute punishes, you will observe, both against Kirby, the court, among other the receipt of stolen property, knowing it to things, said in its charge to the jury: "In have been stolen, with the intent described in order to make out the case of the prosecu- the statute, and also the having in the postion, and in order that you should be author- session of such property, knowing it to have ized to return a verdict of guilty in this been stolen, with the intent to convert it to case, you must find beyond a reasonable the person's own use or gain. If you find doubt from the evidence in the case certain beyond a reasonable doubt that any of the propositions to be true. In the first place it property which was stolen at the postoffice must be found by you beyond a reasonble at Highmore was actually received or had in doubt that the property described in the in- the possession of the defendant, then you dictment, and which is also described in the cannot convict unless you further find that indictment against these three men [Wal- the defendant had the property in his poslace, Baxter, and King] who it is alleged session or received it from the thief or his have been convicted, was actually stolen agent, knowing at the time that it was stolen from the postoffice at Highmore, was the property. Now, upon the question of property of the United States and of a cer- whether the defendant knew that it was stotain value. Second. You must find beyond len property, you will, of course consider all a reasonable doubt that the defendant Joseph the evidence in the case. You have the right Kirby received or had in his possession a to find that the person or the defendant portion of that property which had been knew that it was stolen property from the stolen from the postoffice at Highmore. admissions he may have made, if he made Third. That he received or had it in his pos- any, if there is such evidence in the case, or session with intent to convert it to his own from other circumstances that you would use and gain. Now, upon the first proposi- have the right to infer that he did know.  tion-as to whether the property described Now, if a person received property under in the indictment was stolen as alleged in the such circumstances that would satisfy a man indictment-the prosecution has introduced of ordinary intelligence that it was stolen in evidence the record of the trial and con- property, and you further find beyond a reaviction of what are known as the principal sonable doubt that he actually did believe it felons--that is, the parties who it is alleged was stolen property, then you have a right committed the larceny. Now, in the ab- to infer and find that at the time of the resence of any evidence to the contrary, ceipt of the property the person knew that the record is sufficient proof in this it was stolen. Now, the next point in the case upon which you would be author- case is in regard to the intent the defendant ized to find that the property alleged in that bad in regard to the use or disposal of the indictment was stolen as alleged; in other property. The statute requires that this rewords, it makes a prima facie case on the ceipt of stolen property, knowing it to have part of the government which must stand as been stolen, must also be with the intent to sufficient proof of the fact until some evi- convert it to the use of the party in whose dence is introduced showing the contrary, possession it is found. There are statutes and, there being no such evidence in this which simply punish the knowingly receiv case, you will, no doubt, have no trouble in ing of stolen property. That was the com[51) coming to a conclusion that the property demon law. But this statute has added this scribed in the indictment was actually further ingredient that it must be done with stolen, as alleged, from the postoffice at the intent to convert it to the party's own Highmore. But I don't want you to understand me to say that that record proves that the stamps that were found in Kirby's possession were stolen property, or that they were the stamps taken from the Highmore postoffice. Upon the further proposition that the court has suggested, after you have
The admission in evidence of the record of the conviction of Wallace, Baxter, and King, was objected to upon the ground that the above act of March 3d, 1875, was unconsti tutional so far as it made that conviction conclusive evidence in the prosecution of the receiver that the property of the United States described in the indictment against him had been embezzled, stolen, or purloined. The objection was overruled, and the record offered was admitted in evidence, with exceptions to the accused.
use and gain. It was probably put in for the reason that the statute goes further than the common law, making it punishable to conceal or aid in concealing with intent to convert it to his own use and gain. Now, all these propositions that I have charged must be made out by the prosecution, of