« ZurückWeiter »
Restatement of the case in the opinion.
3. As respects the pardon, the certificate from the Court of Appeals shows that it was not spoken of there at all. If it was so spoken of, the court perhaps thought that it had rightly been deemed insufficient either as evidence or plea, because it did not appear that more than two conditions bad been observed.
Mr. Justice CLIFFORD delivered the opinion of the court.
Special jurisdiction only is given to this court by virtue of a writ of error to a State court, and unless the record shows that the case falls within the conditions annexed to the right of a party to invoke the exercise of the jurisdiction, the writ of error must be dismissed. Primarily those conditions are two: (1.) That it shall appear that some one of the questions specified in the twenty-fifth section of the Judiciary Act, or the second section of the amendatory act, did arise in the case. (2.) That the question which did so arise in the case was decided by the court in the way
therein required to give this court jurisdiction to re-examine the question, and the rule is settled that unless both those things appear the jurisdiction does not attach.*
On the sixth day of August, 1866, the plaintiff brought an action of trespass for false imprisonment against the defendant in the State court, in which he alleged that the defendant, on the twenty-ninth of June, 1862, with force and arms, seized the plaintiff and incarcerated him in a dungeon, and imprisoned him there for twenty-four days, separated from his home and fainily, and that he subjected him to great danger and many hardships, and seriously impaired his health and put him to great pain and distress, both of body and mind.
Service having been made the defendaut appeared and demurred to the declaration, and filed seven other pleas, as follows: (1.) That he was not guilty in manner and form as alleged. (2.) That the action was not brought within one year next after the right to bring the same accrued. (3.)
* 1 Stat. at Large, 85; 14 Il. 386.
Restatement of the case in the opinion.
That the action was not brought within two years next after the right to bring the same accrued. (4.) That more than two years had elapsed after the right to bring the action accrued, and before the present limitation act of the State was passed. (5.) That the plaintiff and defendant were citizens of the same State, and that the whole time prescribed as a limitation had elapsed before the present act modifying the pre-existing law was passed. (6.) That the supposed grievances were acts done by the defendant as provost marshal under the military orders of the State, in time of actual war, as more fully set forth in the plea. (7.) That the Presi. dent, on the seventh of September, 1865, granted the defendant a full pardon and amnesty for all offences by bim committed, arising from participation, direct or indirect, in the rebellion.
Subsequently the plaintiff filed a joinder to the demurrer, joined the issue tendered under the plea of not guilty, and filed a replication to the six special pleas as follows: (1.) That the action is not barred as alleged, and tendered an issue to the country. (2.) That the action is noi barred as alleged in the second special plea, and also tendered an issue to the country. (3.) That the action is not barred as alleged in the third special plea, and tendered an issue to the country. (4.) Plaintiff filed a demurrer to the fourth, fifth, and sixth special pleas, and the defendant demurred to the replication of the plaintiff to the defendant's first special plea.
All the issues of law were determined by the court in favor of the plaintiff, that is, the court overruled the demurrer to the declaration, sustained the demurrers of the plaintiff to the fourth, fifth, and sixth special pleas of the defendant, and also overruled the demurrer of the defendant to the plaintiff's replication to the defendant's first special plea, which left pothing for trial but the issues of fact, which were submitted to a jury, and the jury found all the issues of fact in favor of the plaintiff, and that the defendant was guilty as alleged in the declaration, and assessed damages for the plaintiff in the sum of eight hundred and thirtythree dollars. Judgment was rendered for the plaintiff, and
Opinion of the court.
the defendant excepted and removed the case into the Court of Appeals of the State, where the judgment was in all things affirmed. Whereupon the defendant sued out the present writ of error and removed the cause into this court for re-examination under the twenty-fifth section of the Judiciary Act.
Jurisdiction, it is claimed by the defendant, may be sustained in this case upon three grounds, which will be separately considered: (1.) Because the judge told the jury that, in computing the time of the statute of limitations, they ought to exclude from the computation all that period of time between the seventeenth of April, 1861, and the twentyseventh of February, 1866, as that ruling, as he contends, was equivalent to a ruling that the recent acts passed by the State upon that subject are valid laws, which he denies. (2.) Because the court sustained the demurrer of the plaintiff to the fifth special plea of the defendant, setting up belligerent rights as a defence to the action. (3.) Because the court excluded the pardon granted to him by the President when offered in evidence under the plea of not guilty.
1. Two acts of limitation have recently been passed by the State legislature. By the first, which was passed on the first day of March, 1865, it was enacted that, in computing the time within which any civil suit, proceeding, or appeal, shall be barred by any statute of limitations, the period from the seventeenth day of April, 1861, to the date of the passage of the act, shall be excluded from such computation.* By a subsequent act passed on the twenty-seventh of February, 1866, it is provided that, in computing the time within which any civil suit, or proceeding in trespass or case, shall be barred by any statute of limitations in certain counties, including the county in which this suit was brought, the period from the first day of March, 1865, to the date of the passage of the act shall be excluded from such computation.t
Two prayers for instruction upon that subject were also presented by the defendant which were refused by the court,
# Sess. Acts of West Virginia, 1865, p. 72.
† Ib. 1866, p. 92.
Opinion of the court.
but it is not necessary to reproduce them, as the question involved is as fully raised by the instruction given to the jury as by the refusal to give those instructions.
Exception was taken by the defendant to the refusal to instruct and to the instruction given, but the grounds of the exception are not stated, nor are the reasous for the ruling given by the court. Such an exception is not sufficient to show that any one of the questions mentioned in the twentyfifth section of the Judiciary Act was either raised or decided in the manner therein required to give this court jurisdiction under a writ of error to a State court. Unless both those things appear; that is, unless it appears that the question was raised and that it was decided in the way required, the jurisdiction does not attach, and it is clear that the exception is not sufficient to show that either occurred at the trial. Nothing further was done upon the subject in the court of original jurisdiction, but the cause was removed into the Court of Appeals of the State, where the judgment was affirmed. Appended to the judgment in that court is a certificate signed by the clerk and certified by the presiding justice of the court, that there was drawn in question the validity of the act of the State passed March, 1865, in relation to the statute of limitations, on the ground that it was repuguant to the Constitution of the United States, and that the decision of the highest court of law and equity in the State was in favor of its validity. Evidently that court had before it nothing but the exception taken and signed in the subordinate court, which is clearly insufficient to raise such a question or to show that it was decided in a way to give this court jurisdiction in such a case. Undoubtedly such a certificate is entitled to much weight, as showing that the question was decided by the court which gives it, and in the manner required to give jurisdiction, but it is not conclusive to show that the question was raised in the case, as the latter question may depend upon the construction of the pleadings, or, as in this case, upon the proper construction of the language
of the bill of exception3. Necessary implication, it is said, will suffice, which may
Opinion of the court.
be granted, but it can hardly be said in this case that it must necessarily be implied that the judge instructed the jury that the State statute was consistent with the Federal Con. stitution. What he did tell the jury was that a certain period of time should be excluded from the computation in determining the issues of fact presented by the pleadings, whether the action was barred by the one or two years' limitations. Three years before that this court had decided that the period during which the courts of the State where the defendant resided were closed, by reason of the insurrection and rebellion, should not be deemed and taken as a part of such a limitation.*
Congress allowed one year from the date of the act to the time allowed for suing out writs of error and taking appeals in districts where the sessions of the courts had been suspended or interrupted by insurrection or rebellion, and this court decided that the act of Congress was a remedial, and not a restraining one, and applied the rule laid down in the prior case, that in computing the five years allowed for the purpose, the period for which the courts were closed by insurrection or rebellion, must be excluded from the computation.f Provision was also made by Congress that the time during which any person was beyond the reach of legal process, by reason of resistance to the execution of the laws, or the interruption of the ordinary course of judici ' proceedings, shall not be deemed or taken as any part of the time limited by law for the commencement of any action, civil or criminal. Objection was taken to the validity of that provision, but this court unanimously held it to be constiutional. I
Prior to these decisions, founded upon acts of Congress, this court had decided, as before remarked, that the period during which the courts were closed by the insurreetion must be excluded from every such computation, and this
* Hanger o. Abbott, 6 Wallace. 534.