State ex rel. Western Land Association v. Smith

Decision Date28 February 1887
Citation32 N.W. 174,36 Minn. 456
PartiesState of Minnesota ex rel. Western Land Association v. James A. Smith
CourtMinnesota Supreme Court

Cross appeals by the relator and by the defendant, auditor of St Louis county, from an order of the district court for that county, Start, J., presiding, (acting for the judge of the 11th district,) directing the issue of a peremptory mandamus requiring the defendant to certify to the relator the amount due upon the redemption of each of the parcels of land described in the alternative writ, the interest of the state in which was assigned on or prior to April 24, 1879, and denying a peremptory writ, and discharging the alternative writ, in case of each parcel where the interest of the state was assigned after that date.

Order affirmed.

Ensign Cash & Williams, for relator.

W. W Billson and C. D'Autremont, Jr., for defendant.

OPINION

Vanderburgh, J.

All the lands in controversy were bid in for the state on the 24th day of April, 1876, at a tax-judgment sale, for the taxes of 1874. By the act of March 6, 1877, (Laws 1877, c. 6, § 25,) the time of redemption from tax sales was extended to three years. This did not operate to extend the time of redemption of land previously sold or assigned to tax purchasers. Merrill v. Dearing, 32 Minn. 479, (21 N.W. 721.) But the legislature might so bind the state and its assignees, because, as to the state, the grant of additional time to land-owners to redeem was with its own consent, and, as respects subsequent assignees of the interest acquired by the state, they, of course, took subject to the conditions imposed by the existing statute. The section so amended was clearly applicable and constitutional as to lands still held undisposed of by the state, upon which the time of redemption had not expired.

The time for the redemption of these lands did not expire, therefore, until April 24, 1879. The interest of the state in all of them was assigned and transferred to divers purchasers subsequent to the act of March 6, 1877; some of such transfers being made before, and others after, the expiration of the statutory time of redemption. The provisions of section 37 of the same act, requiring notice of the expiration of the time of redemption in certain cases, while they could not be constitutionally extended to purchasers who acquired interests prior to its passage, (State v. McDonald, 26 Minn. 145; 1 N.W. 832,) yet were clearly applicable to assignees of the state acquiring certificates of assignment subsequent to its passage, and before the expiration of the time of redemption. That section provides that "every person holding a tax certificate shall, at least 90 days before the expiration of the time of redemption, present such certificate to the county auditor," who is thereupon required to cause notice to be served as therein required. A subsequent assignee of the state, holding a certificate of assignment acquired before forfeiture to the state, is within the terms of this section, and would take subject to its provisions. Nelson v. Central Land Co., 35 Minn. 408, (29 N.W. 121.)

But, in respect to such lands as were purchased subsequent to forfeiture, a different policy is indicated by the statute, and a different procedure provided. As held by the learned judge who tried the case in the court below, the words "persons holding tax certificates," as used in section 37, were not intended to include the state, but purchasers and assignees as designated in sections 23 and 24 of the same act. The statute does not cast upon the state the burden of causing notice to be served. What the county officers are to do, and for whom they are to act, plainly appears. No provision is made for serving notice in behalf of the state, and no officer is charged with any such duty, or authorized to incur any expense for such service. On the contrary, it is expressly provided that the...

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