171 U.S. 179 (1898), 242, Young v. Amy

Docket Nº:No. 242
Citation:171 U.S. 179, 18 S.Ct. 802, 43 L.Ed. 127
Party Name:Young v. Amy
Case Date:May 31, 1898
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 179

171 U.S. 179 (1898)

18 S.Ct. 802, 43 L.Ed. 127




No. 242

United States Supreme Court

May 31, 1898

        Submitted April 27, 1898




        On error or appeal to the supreme court of a territory, this Court is without power to reexamine the facts, and is confined to determining whether the court below erred in the conclusions of law deduced by it from the facts by it found, and to reviewing errors committed as to the admission or rejection of testimony when the action of the court in this respect has been duly excepted to, and the right to attack the same preserved on the record.

        There is no error in the conclusions of law in this case: all the assignments of error, and the argument based thereon, rest on the assumption that the findings of fact certified by the court below are not conclusive, and that this court has the power, in order to pass upon the questions raised, to examine the weight of the evidence, and to disregard the facts as found.

        The case is stated in the opinion.

        WHITE, J., lead opinion

        MR. JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

        By section 17 of the act of Congress providing for the admission of Utah into the Union, 28

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Stat. 107, c. 138, power was conferred upon the convention called for the purpose of framing a constitution for the contemplated state to provide for a transfer of causes which might be pending in the territorial courts at the time of the admission of Utah into the Union to the courts of the state which were to be established. The statute, moreover, provided that

from all judgments and decrees of the supreme court of the territory mentioned in this act, in any case arising within the limits of the proposed state prior to admission, the parties to such judgment shall have the same right to prosecute appeals and writs of error to the Supreme Court of the United States as they shall have had by law prior to the admission of said state into the Union.

        This cause comes here for review in virtue of the foregoing provisions of law. It originated in the Probate Court of Summit County, Utah Territory, and involved a dispute over the distribution of the estate of Oscar A. Amy, who died intestate in the County of Summit, in Utah Territory, on the 26th day of May, 1891. There were three classes of claimants to the estate: first, Adelia Young, Cedina C. Young, and Delecto Maston, who were maternal aunts of the decedent; they being the appellants on this record; second, Royal D. Amy, Francis R. Jackson, and others, half-blood brothers and sisters of the deceased; third. Jennie Amy, who is the appellee, claiming to be the wife of the deceased. Each of these different classes of claimants asserted that they were solely entitled to take distribution of the estate, to the entire exclusion of the others. In the probate court, a decree was rendered in favor of the first-mentioned persons, the maternal aunts. From this decree an appeal was taken to the District Court of the Third Judicial District of the Territory of Utah, where, after a trial de novo, the decree of the probate court was affirmed. From this decree a further appeal was prosecuted to the supreme court of the territory, and that court reversed the decree of the district court and rejected the claims of those firstly and secondly mentioned -- that is, the maternal aunts and the brothers and sisters of the half blood, the court deciding that the wife of the deceased, Jennie Amy, was solely entitled to the entire

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estate. The decree of the supreme court of the territory was entered on December 21, 1895. 12 Utah, 278. On the same day, the maternal aunts, who were embraced in the first class, applied for and were allowed an appeal to this Court, and on December 21, 1895, a bond for costs was filed in the supreme court of the territory and was approved by the Chief Justice thereof. The citation on appeal, however, was not issued until about six months thereafter -- September 21, 1896. As in the meanwhile the State of Utah had been admitted into the Union, this...

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