140 U.S. 169 (1891), United States v. Van Duzee

Citation:140 U.S. 169, 11 S.Ct. 758, 35 L.Ed. 399
Case Date:May 11, 1891
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 169

140 U.S. 169 (1891)

11 S.Ct. 758, 35 L.Ed. 399




United States Supreme Court.

May 11, 1891

On appeal from the district court of the United States for the northern district of Iowa.

This was an action brought to recover for services as clerk of the circuit and district courts of the United States for the northern district of Iowa, the items of which were annexed to the petition. Judgment having been rendered in favor of petitioner for $516.16, (41 F. 571,) an appeal was taken by the United States to this court.


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[11 S.Ct. 759] Asst. Atty. Gen. Cotton and John C. Chaney, for the United states.

T. A. Hamilton, A. J. Van Duzee and C. C. Lancaster, for appellee.



This account consists of 99 separate items, which we proceed to consider in the order in which they appear in the demurrer filed in the court below, and in the opinion of the court.

1. The first series of items embraces the fees charged in 45 criminal cases for filing the papers certified up by the commissioners before whom the examinations were had. In the majority of the cases the number of papers filed by the clerk ranged from 4 to 6, in a few they were 8 in number, and in one 16. In the whole 45 cases there were filed 267 papers. By Rev. St. § 828, the clerk is allowed 10 cents 'for filing and entering every declaration, plea, or other paper.' By section 1014 the commissioners of the circuit court are required to return copies of the process as speedily as may be into the clerk's office of the court to which the defendant is bound over to appear, together with the recognizances of the witnesses for their appearance to testify in the case. In preparing the transcript of proceedings for transmission from a lower to a higher court it is usual and proper to attach the papers together, with a suitable indorsement indicating their character as a transcript, and to treat them as one paper, and if in such case the original be sent up the same course should be pursued. If such papers are sent up separately they are liable to be mixed with papers subsequently filed in the case. and produce confusion. Such transcript or papers are properly sent up as soon as the case is finished before the commissioner, and before action is taken

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by the grand jury. The accounting officers of the treasury in this case seemed to assume either that the clerk should select certain papers and file those only, or should fasten them together, and file the bundle as one paper. The clerk, however, is not responsible for the manner in which such papers are transmitted by the commissioner, nor is it his duty to select out the complaint, the recognizance, or any other particular paper, and say that that only should be filed. Because the statute allows the fee 'for filing and entering,' it does not necessarily follow that before he is entitled to the fee he must enter every paper that he files upon his court docket. He may make the entry upon any proper book kept for the purpose. His duty is discharged by filing them as they are received, and the exception to his charge therefor is accordingly overruled.

2. The charges for filing the oaths, bonds, and appointments of deputy-marshals, jury commissioners, bailiffs, district attorneys, and their assistants are properly made against the government, and should be allowed; and where, by order of the court or custom of the office, it is the practice to require such documents to be recorded or entered upon the journal, the clerk's fees for such services are also properly chargeable. But the expense of taking the oaths and executing the proper bonds are not so chargeable, since it is the duty of persons...

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