Laramie National Bank v. Steinhoff

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtPOTTER, CHIEF JUSTICE.
Citation53 P. 299,7 Wyo. 464
Decision Date01 June 1898
PartiesLARAMIE NATIONAL BANK v. STEINHOFF

53 P. 299

7 Wyo. 464

LARAMIE NATIONAL BANK
v.

STEINHOFF

Supreme Court of Wyoming

June 1, 1898


Proceedings in contempt instituted in district court, June 5, 1897.

ERROR to the District Court for Albany County, HON. CHARLES W. BRAMEL, Judge.

Proceedings in contempt for the violation of an injunction. The case and material facts are stated in the opinion.

Reversed.

N. E. Corthell, for plaintiff in error.

Contempt proceedings are the usual and appropriate means of enforcing an injunction, temporary or perpetual. (2 High on Inj., 1449; Rev. Stat., Sec. 2929). The statute is not directory but mandatory. (Suth. on Stat. Const., 461, 462; State v. McClinton (Wash.), 48 P. 740.) That class of contempts brought mainly to preserve or protect the rights of litigants, are in the nature of civil executions for the benefit of the injured party. (King v. Barnes (N. Y.), 21 N.E. 182; Snow v. Snow (Utah.), 43 P. 620; State v. Willis (Minn.), 63 N.W. 169; State v. District Court (Minn.), 42 id., 598; State v. Nathans (S. C.), 27 S.E. 545; Leopold v. People (Ill.), 30 N.E. 348; Clark v. Burke (Ill.), 45 id., 235; Thompson v. R. R. Co. (N. J.), 21 A. 182.) A judgment in such a proceeding is reviewable on error. (R. S., Sec. 3126; Myers v. State, 46 O. St., 473; cases supra; Blodgett v. State (Neb.), 69 N.W. 751; State v. Stevenson (Ia.), 73 N.W. 360; Hundhausen v. Ins. Co., 5 Heisk., 702; Tyler v. Hammersley, 44 Conn. 393; Baldwin v. Miles, 58 Conn. 496; State v. Horner, 16 Mo. App., 191; Romeyn v. Caplis, 17 Mich. 449; Ry. Co. v. Ramsey, 45 N.Y. 637; Ludlow v. Knox, 4 Abb. App., 326; 7 Abb. Pr., 411; State v. Davis (N. D.), 51 N.W. 942; Wyatt v. Magee, 3 Ala. 94; Newport v. Light Co., 92 Ky. 445; Hessey v. Gund (Wis.), 74 N.W. 342; State v. Hansford (W. Va.), 28 S.E. 791; Dandridge's Case, 2 Va. Cases, 408; 28 S.E. 154; Hamlin v. R. Co. (Mass.), 49 N.E. 922; Gould v. Sessions, 67 F. 163; 14 C. C. A., 366.

In the determination of the question as to whether a contempt has been committed, it does not depend upon the intention of the offending party, but upon the act he has done. (Dodge v. State (Ind.), 39 N.E. 746; People v. Wilson, 64 Ill. 195; Hughes v. People, 5 Colo. 436; Wilcox S. P. Co. v. Schimmel, 59 Mich. 524; People v. Freer, 1 Caines, 485; Thompson v. R. R. Co. (N. J.), 21 A. 182; Cartwright's case, 114 Mass. 239; Wartman v. Wartman, Taney 362, 29 F. C., 306; Hawkins v. State (Ind.), 26 N.E. 44.) And even where the party has violated the order under the advice of counsel, that fact is no defense in contempt proceedings. (Lansing v. Easton, 7 Paige, Ch., 367; People v. Rice (N. Y.), 39 N.E. 88; Territory v. Clancy (N. M.), 37 P. 1108.) If one has any reason to believe the mandate too broad, he should take steps to have the same modified. In any event, it is his duty to implicitly obey. (People v. District Court, 19 Colo. 343.) In contempt proceedings one who has disobeyed the order is precluded from attacking or questioning its validity or correctness. (State v. Nathans (S. C.), 27 S.E. 52; Leopold v. People (Ill.), 30 N.E. 349; Clark v. Burke (Ill.), 45 N.E. 236; White v. Sup. Court (Cal.), 42 P. 482; Ray v. R. R. Co., 47 N. Y. S., 301; State v. Jamison (Minn.), 72 N.W. 451; State v. Dist. Court (Mont.), 40 P. 66; Hawkins v. State, 126 Ind. 294.)

The test of the jurisdiction of the court is whether or not it had power to enter upon the inquiry, not whether its conclusion in the course of it was right or wrong. (Board v. Platt, 79 F. 567; Elliott v. Piersoll, 1 Pet., 340.)

C. E. Carpenter, for plaintiff in error.

At common law, contempt proceedings can not be passed upon by an appellate court, either by appeal or writ of error. (4 Ency. Pl. and Pr., 809; Ex parte Kearney, 7 Wheat., 38; McMicken v. Parin, 20 How., 133; New Orleans v. Steamship Co., 20 Wall., 387; Hays v. Fischer, 102 U.S. 121; Tyler v. Hamersley, 44 Conn. 392; Easton v. State, 39 Ala. 551; State v. Wood, 42 Am. Dec., 161; State v. Thermond, 37 Tex. 340; Phillips v. Welch, 12 Nev. 158.) The only exception is where the lower court is entirely without jurisdiction. Such rule is in force in Wyoming by the statutory adoption of the common law. (R. S., Sec. 498.) To be guilty of contempt there must be present the criminal elements of willfulness and the specific intent as in all criminal cases. (4 Ency. Pl. and Pr., 766, 767; 20 Wall., 387; Teller v. People, 7 Colo. 451; Wyatt v. People, 28 Pa. 961.)

The contempt alleged in the case at bar is a criminal contempt. (People v. Owens, 28 P. 871 (Utah); In re Whitmore, 35 id., 524; Elliott v. Whitmore, 37 id., 461; State v. Leftwitch, 42 N.W. 598; State v. Willis, 63 N.W. 169; Phillips v. Welch, 11 Nev. 187; State v. Davis, 51 N.W. 942.) Therefore the judgment is conclusive. Where a defendant in a contempt proceeding is found not guilty, there is no right of appeal in the complaining party. (Rasch v. Shepard, 63 N.W. 969; Montgomery v. Booming Co., 62 id., 561; Schab v. Coots, 44 Mich. 463; Brown v. Brown, 29 S.W. 318; Craig v. McCallogh, 20 W.Va. 148.) As the alleged contempt is criminal in nature, the code of civil procedure does not apply. (11 Nev. 187; 12 id., 158; Rap. on Contempt, 148 and 141; 98 Am. Dec., 49; 18 Nev. 74; 67 Am. Dec., 376; 26 id., 276; 12 id., 177; and cases cited, supra.)

POTTER, CHIEF JUSTICE. CORN and KNIGHT, JJ., concur.

OPINION

[7 Wyo. 469] POTTER, CHIEF JUSTICE.

The plaintiff in error originally brought an action against the defendant in error, claiming in the petition to be in actual possession of a certain tract of land, and that the defendant in error asserted an estate therein, and had trespassed upon the land, and threatened to continue the trespasses, that he was unable to respond in damages, and prayed that the plaintiff might be adjudged the owner in fee simple of the premises free from all claims of an estate or interest therein of the defendant, and that the latter be enjoined from interfering with the possession of plaintiff, or from maintaining or continuing said trespass. The trespass was alleged to consist in going upon a portion of the premises and erecting a dwelling house thereon, and residing therein. A final judgment was rendered in that cause by the district court of Albany County, in favor of plaintiff, by the terms of which it was ordered, among other things, "That said P. A. Steinhoff, and all persons acting in aid of him, be perpetually enjoined and restrained from trespassing upon the said lands, and from interfering with or in any manner disturbing the plaintiffs or their assigns in the full and free enjoyment of said lands and the possession thereof." The record shows that Steinhoff thereupon vacated the premises, and remained away from them for about seven years. His alleged interest in the premises was founded upon a homestead entry under the laws of the United States, it being his claim that they were unappropriated public lands and subject [53 P. 300] to such an entry. The plaintiff derived its title through an entry of a prior grantor under the desert-land act; and it seems there had been a cancellation or an attempted cancellation [7 Wyo. 470] thereof after the final proof and issuance of a final certificate. The whole matter was tried in the original action, which resulted in a judgment as aforesaid.

Seven years after the rendition of the judgment, Steinhoff made a final proof upon his homestead entry, showing that his continued residence upon the land had been prevented by the injunction, and a final receipt was issued to him by the proper land officer.

He again went upon the land, being advised and believing, as he testified, that he had a right to do so, and his last mentioned entrance upon the premises was in execution of an intention to live there.

The plaintiff thereupon filed a motion in the said district court to have the defendant attached for contempt in violating the final judgment of injunction, which motion was supported by the affidavit of one Mads Wolbol, who had become the grantee of the plaintiff, and was in undisturbed possession until the defendant committed the act of disobedience to the injunctional order complained of.

Defendant's answer in the contempt proceedings alleged his ownership of the land under the final receipt above referred to, and that all claims and pretenses of the plaintiff and its grantees had been adjudicated by the land officers of the United States, and the only entry from which plaintiff claimed title had been cancelled and the defendant permitted to enter the lands, and that since his original entry in 1890 he had been entitled to the exclusive possession and title except as against the United States; that the judgment rendered by the court was and is void for the reason that the court had no authority to interfere with the right of the United States to dispose of said lands.

The reply admitted the issuance of the final receipt to defendant, but alleged that it...

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16 practice notes
  • Connors v. Connors, No. 87-287
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • February 7, 1989
    ...at 1430. See also Horn, 647 P.2d at 1373; Tucker v. State ex rel. Snow, 35 Wyo. 430, 251 P. 460 (1926); Laramie National Bank v. Steinhoff, 7 Wyo. 464, 53 P. 299 (1898); McCrone v. United States, 307 U.S. 61, 64, 59 S.Ct. 685, 686, 83 L.Ed. 1108 (1939); and City of Wilmington v. General Tea......
  • Wolbol v. Steinhoff, 897
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • November 1, 1917
    ...title since the commencement of this suit. The subject matter has been before this court in the prior cases of Laramie Bank v. Steinhoff, 7 Wyo. 464, and Laramie Bank v. Steinhoff, 11 Wyo. 290, 311, 312. For thirty years Dean and his grantees have been defending their right to this land, th......
  • State ex rel. Poston v. District Court of Eighth Judicial District, Fremont County, 1248
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • July 1, 1924
    ...the enforcement of injunction orders 6178 C. S., upon the point of a plain, adequate and speedy remedy by appeal we cite Bank v. Steinhoff, 7 Wyo. 464 and Mau v. Stoner, 12 Wyo. 478 also Porter v. State, 16 Wyo. 131; Ex Parte Bergman, 3 Wyo. 396; in probate matters the jurisdiction of the D......
  • Gillespie v. Board of Com'rs of Albany County, 1806
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 13, 1934
    ...is not applicable in the present case. A final order was entered, Section 89-2201, R. S. 1931; Bank v. Co., 5 Wyo. 50; Bank v. Steinhoff, 7 Wyo. 464; Anderson v. Matthews, 8 Wyo. 307; Anderson v. Englehart, 18 Wyo. 196; Thomas v. Bivin, 32 Wyo. 478; Mitter v. Black Diamond Coal Co., 27 Wyo.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Connors v. Connors, No. 87-287
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • February 7, 1989
    ...at 1430. See also Horn, 647 P.2d at 1373; Tucker v. State ex rel. Snow, 35 Wyo. 430, 251 P. 460 (1926); Laramie National Bank v. Steinhoff, 7 Wyo. 464, 53 P. 299 (1898); McCrone v. United States, 307 U.S. 61, 64, 59 S.Ct. 685, 686, 83 L.Ed. 1108 (1939); and City of Wilmington v. General Tea......
  • Wolbol v. Steinhoff, 897
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • November 1, 1917
    ...title since the commencement of this suit. The subject matter has been before this court in the prior cases of Laramie Bank v. Steinhoff, 7 Wyo. 464, and Laramie Bank v. Steinhoff, 11 Wyo. 290, 311, 312. For thirty years Dean and his grantees have been defending their right to this land, th......
  • State ex rel. Poston v. District Court of Eighth Judicial District, Fremont County, 1248
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • July 1, 1924
    ...the enforcement of injunction orders 6178 C. S., upon the point of a plain, adequate and speedy remedy by appeal we cite Bank v. Steinhoff, 7 Wyo. 464 and Mau v. Stoner, 12 Wyo. 478 also Porter v. State, 16 Wyo. 131; Ex Parte Bergman, 3 Wyo. 396; in probate matters the jurisdiction of the D......
  • Gillespie v. Board of Com'rs of Albany County, 1806
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 13, 1934
    ...is not applicable in the present case. A final order was entered, Section 89-2201, R. S. 1931; Bank v. Co., 5 Wyo. 50; Bank v. Steinhoff, 7 Wyo. 464; Anderson v. Matthews, 8 Wyo. 307; Anderson v. Englehart, 18 Wyo. 196; Thomas v. Bivin, 32 Wyo. 478; Mitter v. Black Diamond Coal Co., 27 Wyo.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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