Bartlett v. Eau Claire Cnty.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
Writing for the CourtDODGE
Citation88 N.W. 61,112 Wis. 237
PartiesBARTLETT v. EAU CLAIRE COUNTY.
Decision Date29 November 1901

112 Wis. 237
88 N.W. 61

BARTLETT
v.
EAU CLAIRE COUNTY.

Supreme Court of Wisconsin.

Nov. 29, 1901.


Appeal from circuit court, Eau Claire county; James O'Neill, Judge.

Action by E. M. Bartlett against Eau Claire county. From a judgment in favor of defendant, plaintiff appeals. Modified.

Suit by plaintiff to recover his fees as municipal judge of the city of Eau Claire for services rendered in so-called “tramp cases” from November 1, 1895, to the date of his bill, February 27, 1896. Seven hundred and nineteen cases are charged, for which in the bill the sum of $1.90 is set against 715, and the others are charged at $2.15 and $2.65. No question seems to be raised that fees at the statutory rate would equal the amounts charged. The total of this bill--$1,367.60--was cut by the county board to $645.85. An additional sum of $52.20 was allowed by the

[88 N.W. 62]

court, the disallowance in both cases being upon the ground that at the annual session of the county board in November, 1895, and again at a special meeting in January, 1896, were passed resolutions limiting the fees of certain officers in tramp cases. The record of the regular meeting in November discloses a resolution limiting fees after November 30th in accordance with chapter 65a, Sanb. & B. Ann. St. Wis., as follows: “To the constable or sheriff for each arrest, $.50; to police conviction, $1.00.” The court finds that the resolution as passed provided: “To the constable or sheriff for each arrest, $.50; to the police judge for each conviction, $1.00.” It appears that in the county of Eau Claire are numerous justices of the peace having statutory jurisdiction, three police justices in certain cities and villages of the county, and one municipal judge of the city of Eau Claire, having jurisdiction to try such cases, and entitled by the statute to the same fees as justices. It is further found that in January a writing signed by 18 of the 27 members of the county board of Eau Claire county was presented to the county clerk, whereby he is “ordered to call a special meeting of the county board of supervisors at the court house in the city of Eau Claire January 23d, at 11 o'clock a. m., for the purpose of considering the report of the special committee on the tramp question, and for the transaction of such other business as may lawfully come before the meeting”; that when the county clerk first saw that paper the date of the meeting was left blank, and it bore certain of its present signatures, but how many is not ascertained; that when such paper was formally filed the date was inserted, and the 18 signatures appeared thereon. At that special meeting a committee, which had been appointed at the regular session to take the tramp question under consideration, and designate what kind of labor system should be adopted, and to report, made its report containing a discussion and expression of opinion as to the tramp evil, and accompanied by recommendation of adoption of certain resolutions; among others: “Resolved, by the county board of Eau Claire county, that from and after this date the fees or compensation of the sheriff, constables, police officers and magistrates for services performed under chapter 470, Laws of 1887, be, and they are hereby, fixed by this board as follows.” Schedule of fees includes, “To the municipal judge or magistrates for all services performed thereunder, 25 cts.” The record of proceedings discloses: “It was moved by Sup. Taggart, one of the members of said board, that the report of said committee and the communication of Mayor Day be adopted. A discussion was had by said board upon such report, and thereupon the report was adopted by said board.” The court held both of these resolutions effectual to limit the fees of the plaintiff to the amounts specified in the resolutions, to wit, one dollar in each case from December 1st to January 23d, and 25 cents in each case from January 24th onward. From judgment in accordance with such holding, plaintiff appeals.

T. F. Frawley, for appellant.

De Alton S. Thomas, for respondent.


DODGE, J. (after stating the facts).

1. The first question presented by several assignments of error is as to the efficacy of the resolution adopted by the county board at its regular meeting in November, 1895, under authority of subsec. 6a, c. 65a, Sanb. & B. Ann. St., prescribing fees in tramp cases: “To the constable or sheriff for each arrest, $.50; to police conviction, $1.00.” That such was the verbiage of the resolution adopted appears by the record of the proceedings of the supervisors of the county, preserved by the clerk in a book. The court permitted this record to be assailed by the testimony of one of the supervisors to the effect that a different resolution was offered and was adopted, and based a finding thereon. In that respect he was in error. The records of such bodies as county boards, required to be kept by law, cannot be contradicted or assailed collaterally by parol testimony. To permit that would subvert the entire purpose of the statute in requiring the making of the record. The legislature have deemed that the welfare of the community at large will be promoted by reliance upon a record which shall be made by a public officer under the sanction of his oath of office, and under the penalties for breach thereof, rather than upon proof of what transpires at county board meetings from the memory of those who were present and had knowledge thereof. Rev. St. 1898, § 709, subds. 1, 2; School Dist. v. Atherton, 12 Metc. 105; Mayhew v. Gay Head Dist., 13 Allen, 129, 134;Halleck v. Boylston, 117 Mass. 469;Eastland v. Fogo, 58 Wis. 274, 16 N. W. 632. This resolution doubtless should be given effect so far as the intention of the county board can be ascertained from its words, in the light of any known surrounding circumstances. On the other hand, a purpose to change the compensation of a particular officer prescribed by general statutes must be reasonably clear to warrant adoption of such construction. The meaning contended for by respondent and adopted by the trial court, namely, to limit compensation of municipal judges in all tramp cases to $1, certainly requires an extraordinary stretch of the words used. Neither is the municipal judge named, nor the justice of the peace, by whose fees the plaintiff's are measured in the statute. The words do not suggest any judicial officer or function. They are certainly as well adapted to suggest compensation to police or other executive officers for services on conviction subsequent to arrest. They provide only for cases of conviction, and the making of compensation

[88 N.W. 63]

to judicial officers dependent on whether they convict or acquit would be so highly improper as to exclude that construction unless unavoidable. Southworth v. U. S., 151 U. S. 179, 185, 14 Sup. Ct. 274, 38 L. Ed. 119. In short, we are...

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17 practice notes
  • Beyer v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • November 29, 1901
    ...in dwelling and warehouse.” It appeared that in an inventory made up by the assured some time before the fire there had been included [88 N.W. 61]certain heavy wagons, bob sleds, and harnesses, under the heading “Camp Equipage,” which items were inserted in the proofs of loss under the head......
  • State v. Stewart, 9187
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • October 14, 1904
    ...Co., 23 Fla. 419; Douglas v. Baker Co., 2 So. 776; Paola, etc., Railway Co. v. Commissioners, 16 Kan. 302; Bartlett v. Eau Claire Co., 112 Wis. 237; Bartlett v. Eau Claire Co., 88 N.W. 61; State ex rel. v. Thompson, 6 Circ. Dec., 106; 9 C. C. R., 161 (affirmed, 52 Ohio St. 665); State ex re......
  • Minn. Debenture Co. v. Scott,
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • January 29, 1909
    ...satisfied the requirements of the charter.’ Fairchild v. St. Paul, 46 Minn. 540, 49 N. W. 325; [119 N.W. 394]Bartlett v. Eau Claire Co., 112 Wis. 237, 88 N. W. 61;State v. Cronin, 75 Neb. 738, 106 N. W. 986. And see section 914, Rev. Laws, 1905. 4. The general notice for the 1906 forfeited ......
  • Maercker v. City of Milwaukee
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • December 10, 1912
    ...of regulation, the question arises whether it exceeded legislative bounds as regards classification. In Bartlett v. Eau Claire County, 112 Wis. 237, at page 247, 88 N. W. 61, at page 64, this court said: “Nevertheless, the very fact of delegation of Legislative power to regulate carries an ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Beyer v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • November 29, 1901
    ...in dwelling and warehouse.” It appeared that in an inventory made up by the assured some time before the fire there had been included [88 N.W. 61]certain heavy wagons, bob sleds, and harnesses, under the heading “Camp Equipage,” which items were inserted in the proofs of loss under the head......
  • State v. Stewart, 9187
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • October 14, 1904
    ...Co., 23 Fla. 419; Douglas v. Baker Co., 2 So. 776; Paola, etc., Railway Co. v. Commissioners, 16 Kan. 302; Bartlett v. Eau Claire Co., 112 Wis. 237; Bartlett v. Eau Claire Co., 88 N.W. 61; State ex rel. v. Thompson, 6 Circ. Dec., 106; 9 C. C. R., 161 (affirmed, 52 Ohio St. 665); State ex re......
  • Minn. Debenture Co. v. Scott,
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • January 29, 1909
    ...satisfied the requirements of the charter.’ Fairchild v. St. Paul, 46 Minn. 540, 49 N. W. 325; [119 N.W. 394]Bartlett v. Eau Claire Co., 112 Wis. 237, 88 N. W. 61;State v. Cronin, 75 Neb. 738, 106 N. W. 986. And see section 914, Rev. Laws, 1905. 4. The general notice for the 1906 forfeited ......
  • Maercker v. City of Milwaukee
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • December 10, 1912
    ...of regulation, the question arises whether it exceeded legislative bounds as regards classification. In Bartlett v. Eau Claire County, 112 Wis. 237, at page 247, 88 N. W. 61, at page 64, this court said: “Nevertheless, the very fact of delegation of Legislative power to regulate carries an ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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