Copenhaver v. Stewart

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtBlack
Citation118 Mo. 377,24 S.W. 161
Decision Date04 December 1893
PartiesCOPENHAVER et al. v. STEWART.
24 S.W. 161
118 Mo. 377
Supreme Court of Missouri.
December 4, 1893.


1. In habeas corpus proceedings by one imprisoned for contempt in disobeying a writ of mandamus, whether errors were committed in awarding the writ cannot be determined, as the writ of habeas corpus cannot be used as a writ of error.

2. The state courts cannot go behind judgments of federal courts where they had jurisdiction of the parties and the subject-matter.

3. State courts and the judges thereof have no jurisdiction or power to discharge on habeas corpus persons who are held in custody by the authority of the federal courts, or the commissioners thereof, or by officers of the United States acting under the laws thereof; and this is true even though the judgments and orders of the federal courts or the commissioners are illegal.

In banc. Petition by B. R. F. Copenhaver and others for a writ of habeas corpus. Denied.

Wallace W. Lawton, for petitioners. John H. Overall and John B. Henderson, for respondent.

[24 S.W. 162]


The three petitioners are the justices of the county court of St. Clair county. They file in this court their petition for a writ of habeas corpus, setting out fully and at length the facts and circumstances leading to their confinement, which are to the following effect: In 1870 the county of St. Clair issued $250,000 of bonds under the act of 16th January, 1860, incorporating the Tebo & Neosho Railroad Company, and the act of 21st March, 1868, to aid in the construction of the Clinton & Memphis branch. The Ninth National Bank of the city and state of New York recovered two judgments against the county on some of the bonds and coupons, in the circuit court of the United States. Such proceedings were had on these judgments that the circuit court of the United States for the western division of the western district of this state issued a peremptory writ of mandamus in each case, commanding the petitioners, as justices of the county court, "to levy at the time of making the next annual levy, and cause to be collected, upon all the real and personal property in said county subject to taxation, a tax for the payment of said judgment, * * * and to pay the same according to law, and that you have said special taxes extended in a column of the regular tax book in the same manner," etc. The writs were issued on the 25th April, and duly served on the 1st May, 1893. Such other proceedings were had that on the 10th May, 1893, the court entered the following judgment in each case: That the respondents, the petitioners here, "are guilty of contempt in disobeying as well as continuing to disobey the said peremptory writ of mandamus and the order and command therein, and for such contempt each of said respondents is here and now sentenced by this court to imprisonment in the county jail of the county of Jackson * * * until such time as they shall comply with such mandate and order of this court, or until otherwise discharged therefrom by the order of this court, or otherwise pursuant to law." Pursuant to these judgments, commitments were issued, by virtue of which the petitioners were and now are confined in the jail of Jackson county, and from which imprisonment they seek to be discharged by the writ of habeas corpus. We have not set out the various averments made in the petition for the purpose of showing that the bonds were issued without authority of law, and should have been held illegal and void, because the question as to the validity of the bonds is not an open one. The circuit court of the United States had undoubted jurisdiction of the parties to and the subject-matter of those suits, and the judgments are final and conclusive. We have no right or power to go behind the judgments, and for all the purposes of this application it must be assumed that the bonds were and are valid obligations of the county.

Counsel for the petitioners insist in an elaborate brief, and...

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5 cases
  • Thomas Fauntleroy v. Lum, No. 215
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 18 Mayo 1908
    ...validity of the cause of action. Pitts v. Fugate, 41 Mo. 405; State ex rel. Hudson v. Trammel, 106 Mo. 510, 17 S. W. 502; Re Copenhaver, 118 Mo. 377, 40 Am. St. Rep. 382, 24 S. W. 161. A judgment is conclusive as to all the media concludendi (United States v. California & O. Land Co. 192 U.......
  • Passett v. Chase
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 18 Marzo 1926
    ...state jurisdiction will be found In re Farrand, 8 Fed. Cas. p. 1070: In re Neagle (C. C.) 39 F. 833, 5 L. R. A. 78; In re Copenhaver, 24 S.W. 161, 118 Mo. 377, 46 Am. St. Rep. 382. Among the strong cases contending for state jurisdiction will be found State v. Dimick, 12 N.H. 194. 37 Am. De......
  • Employers' Liability Assur. Corp. v. Coronet Ins. Co., Gen. No. 52868
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 10 Febrero 1969
    ...of the cause of action, Pitts v. Fugate, 41 Mo. 405; State ex rel. Hudson, v. Trammel, 106 No. 510, 17 S.W. 502; In re Copenhaver, 118 Mo. 377, 24 S.W. 161. A judgment is conclusive as to all the Media concludendi, (United States v. California & O(regon) Land Co., 192 U.S. 355, 48 L.Ed. 476......
  • In re Coder, No. 17448.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 5 Diciembre 1931
    ...on habeas corpus cannot be allowed to take the place of an appeal or writ of error. [Buckley v. Hall, 215 Mo. 93; Copenhaver v. Stewart, 118 Mo. 377.] The correctness of the proceedings in the justice court is not reviewable on habeas corpus, except as to such matters going to the jurisdict......
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