103 U.S. 471 (1881), Edwards v. U.s.

Citation:103 U.S. 471, 26 L.Ed. 314
Case Date:April 18, 1881
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 471

103 U.S. 471 (1881)

26 L.Ed. 314




United States Supreme Court.

April 18, 1881


ERROR to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Western District of Michigan.

The Facts are stated in the opinion of the court.


Mr. H. F. Severens for the plaintiff in error.

Mr. John W. Stone and Mr. M. J. Smiley, contra.

MR. JUSTICE BRADLEY delivered the opinion of the court.

William F. Thompson, on the fifth day of September, 1874, recovered a judgment in the court below against the township of St. Joseph, in the county of Berrien, Michigan, for the sum of $17,327.86 besides costs.

By the laws of Michigan an execution cannot be issued against a township upon a judgment, but it is to be 'levied and collected as other township charges;' and when collected to 'be paid by the township treasurer to the person to whom the same shall have been adjudged.' Comp. Laws of 1871, sect. 6630. The mode of raising money by taxation in townships is prescribed in sects. 992 and 997, which make it the duty of the township clerk, on or before the first day of October of each year, to make and deliver to the supervisor of the township a certified copy of all statements on file, or of record, in his office, of moneys proposed to be raised therein by taxation for all purposes; and it is made the duty of the supervisor, on or before the second Monday of said month, to deliver such statements to the clerk of the board of supervisors of the county, to be laid by him before the board at its annual meeting. At this meeting the board is required to direct the several amounts to be raised by any township, which appear by the certified statements to be authorized by law, to be spread upon the assessment roll of the proper township, together with its due

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proportion of the county and State taxes. The whole is then certified and delivered by the clerk of the board to the town supervisor whose duty it is to make the individual assessment to the various taxpayers of the township in proportion to the estimate and valuation of their property. The assessment roll is then delivered to the town treasurer for collection.

The judgment in the present case not being paid, and the township officers having refused to take any steps to levy the requisite tax for the purpose, the United States, on the relation of Thompson, on the 11th of October, 1876, filed a petition for a mandamus against Edward M. Edwards, supervisor of the township of St. Joseph, in which he set forth the judgment, and alleged that, on the 26th of September, 1876, he caused a certified transcript of the judgment to be served on the township clerk, with proper notice and demand; and on the 27th of September, 1876, he caused a similar transcript, notice, and demand to be served on Edwards, the supervisor. The petition further alleged that these officers refused to do anything in the premises, the clerk pretending to have resigned his office. An alternative mandamus was issued commanding Edwards, as supervisor of the township, forthwith to deliver to the clerk of the board of supervisors of the county a statement of the claim of relator under and by virtue of the judgment.

Edwards duly filed a return, stating that he was not supervisor, and had no authority to perform the acts required of him; that at the general election of April 3, 1876, he was duly elected supervisor, and qualified and entered upon his office, and continued in office until the 7th of June, 1876, when he resigned; that his resignation was in writing as follows:----

'To the township board of the township of St. Joseph, county of Berrien, State of Michigan: I hereby tender my resignation of the office of supervisor of this township. St. Joseph, June 7, 1876.


That this written resignation was delivered to and filed by the township clerk on the same day; that since then he, Edwards, had not been supervisor, nor had he acted as such, or had charge of the records of papers of the office. He further

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stated in his return that the township clerk had never delivered to him any certified copy of any statement of the moneys to be raised by taxation, either for the purpose of paying the claim of the relator, or for any other purpose.

To this return the relator demurred. The demurrer was sustained, and a peremptory mandamus awarded. Edwards sued out this writ of error.


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