Commonwealth v. French

Decision Date03 December 1908
Citation130 Ky. 744
PartiesCommonwealth v. French
CourtKentucky Court of Appeals

Appeal from Clark Circuit Court.

JAMES M. BENTON, Circuit Judge.

The Commonwealth appeals from a judgment dismissing its claim interposed on defendants motion to vacate a judgment against him. — Reversed.

JAS BREATHITT, Attorney General, and Tom B. McGREGOR, Assistant Attorney General, for Commonwealth.

J. J. C. BACH and J. M. STEVENS for apellee.


A judgment was rendered against appellee in the Clark circuit court for $5,000 for contempt. An appeal was prosecuted from that judgment, and upon consideration here the judgment was affirmed with damages. Thereafter the Governor issued a pardon to appellee whereby he remitted all of said judgment except commissions, fees, and costs. Appellee filed this pardon with the clerk of the Clark circuit court, and paid to the trustee of the jury fund for Clark county the full amount of commission due the Commonwealth's attorney for that disrict the county attorney and the circuit court clerk for said county, and the trustee of the jury fund for that court, and in addition paid all of the costs of the suit, but he paid no part of the $500 damages. Four days thereafter, on motion of the Commonwealth, a judgment was rendered against appellee for the $500 damages. Later, appellee appeared in court and moved that this judgment be set aside, and, over the objection of the Commonwealth's attorney, he was permitted to file an answer, in which he set up the facts above enumerated, claiming that he was, by reason of the pardon, absolved from all liability on account of the damages assessed on the affirmance of the judgment on appeal. A demurrer to this answer was overruled, and, the commonwealth declining to plead further, the court dismissed its claim, and the case is here on appeal from that ruling.

The judgment for the fine has been settled in full, and the only question now before us is the right of the Governor to remit the claim of the Commonwealth for damages. It is the contention of appellee that by reason of the pardon all of said claim for damages has been satisfied and discharged, while for the Commonwealth it is insisted that it is a part of the fine, and that only the State's part was satisfied by the pardon, and that the commissions going to the court officers are still unsatisfied and could not be remitted by the governor. The authority of the Governor to remit fines and grant pardons is found in section 77 of the Constitution, which is as follows: "He shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures, commute sentences grant reprieves and pardons, except in case of impeachment, and he shall file with each application therefor a statement of the reasons for his decision thereon, which application shall always be open to inspection. In cases of treason he shall have power to grant reprieves until the end of the next General Assembly, in which the power of pardoning shall be vested; but he shall have no power to remit the fees of the clerk, sheriff or Commonwealth's attorney in penal or criminal cases." The fees of Commonwealth's attorney are fixed by section 124, Ky. Stats., 1903, at "fifty per centum of all judgments for fines and forfeitures rendered in favor of the Commonwealth, in the several courts of his district, and this shall be in lieu of all taxed fees and perquisites; but he shall not be paid or receive any part of said per centum from the treasury except upon such proportion of the fines and forfeitures as have been collected and paid into the State treasury, and not until so collected and paid, unless that portion belonging to the Commonwealth shall be remitted by the Governor." The fees of the clerk are fixed at 10 per cent of all fines and forfeitures recovered in their respective courts, and paid into the State treasury, but not until so paid in. Section 133 of the Kentucky Statutes of 1903, fixes the compensation of the county attorney in all cases in the circuit court in which the Commonwealth is interested, and in which he assists in the prosecution, at 25 per cent of the judgments for fines and forfeitures rendered in favor of the Commonwealth. Section 2286, Ky. Stats, 1903, makes it the duty of the trustee of the jury fund to collect all fines and forfeitures in favor of the Commonwealth, and section 2290, Ky. Stats., 1903, fixes his compensation at 3 per cent of the amount so collected. All of these fees attach immediately upon the rendering of the judgment, and the several officers...

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17 cases
  • Holliman v. Cole
    • United States
    • Oklahoma Supreme Court
    • June 26, 1934
    ...convicted of a crime or misdemeanor. Murphy v. State of Oregon (Ore.) 250 P. 834, 49 A. L. R. 384; 25 C. J. 1148; Commonwealth v. French, 130 Ky. 744, 114 S.W. 255; United States v. Mitchell, 163 F. 1014. ¶13 The word "fine" does not always mean a pecuniary punishment for an offense inflict......
  • Holliman v. Cole
    • United States
    • Oklahoma Supreme Court
    • June 26, 1934
    ... ... misdemeanor. In re Murphy, 119 Or. 658, 250 P. 834, ... 49 A. L. R. 384; 25 C.J. 1148; Commonwealth v ... French, 130 Ky. 744, 114 S.W. 255, 17 Ann. Cas. 601; ... United States v. Mitchell (C. C.) 163 F. 1014 ...          The ... ...
  • Weber v. Com.
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals
    • June 7, 1946
    ...196 S.W.2d 465 303 Ky. 56 WEBER v. COMMONWEALTH. Court of Appeals of KentuckyJune 7, 1946 ...          Rehearing ... Denied Oct. 4, 1946 ...          Appeal ... from Circuit ... 166, 56 S.W.2d 958, ... were so regarded. But a fine of $5,000 for contempt of court ... was sustained in Commonwealth v. French, 130 Ky ... 744, 114 S.W. 255, 17 Ann.Cas. 601, and a judgment of ... confinement in the county jail for two years and a fine of ... $3,000 for a ... ...
  • People ex rel. Mayfield v. City of Springfield
    • United States
    • Illinois Supreme Court
    • May 22, 1959
    ...tribunal upon a person convicted of a crime or misdemeanor. United States v. Safeway Stores, 10 Cir., 140 F.2d 834; Commonwealth v. French, 130 Ky. 744, 114 S.W. 255; Murphy v. State, 119 Or. 658, 250 P. 834, 49 A.L.R. 384; Holliman v. Cole, 168 Okl. 473, 34 P.2d 597; In re Chester School D......
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