The Mechanics Bank of Alexandria v. Withers

Decision Date09 February 1821
Citation5 L.Ed. 217,6 Wheat. 106,19 U.S. 106
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

THIS cause was argued by Mr. Lee and Mr. Swann, for the plaintiff in error, and by Mr. Taylor, for the defendant in error.

Mr. Chief Justice MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a writ of error to a judgment rendered by the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, sitting in Alexandria, in an action of debt; and the case depends on the laws of Virginia, as they stood when jurisdiction over the District was first exercised by Congress.

By the law of Virginia, the proceedings, until an issue is made up in a cause, are taken in the clerk's office at monthly rules, and judgments by default become final on the last day of the succeeding term, till which day the defendant in any such action has a legal right to set the judgment aside, and to plead to issue. The Circuit Court held its regular session in April, 1818, and continued to sit regularly till the 16th day of May, when it adjourned to the fourth Monday of the following June. The clerk, considering the day on which the Court adjourned as the last day of the term, and the judgments at the rules as having, on that day, become final, issued an execution on one of these judgments, which had been obtained by the plaintiffs against Cave Withers and his common bail. When the Court met in June, the defendant appeared, and, on motion, was allowed to set aside the office judgment, give special bail, and plead to issue. The execution was, consequently, quashed. In the course of the term judgment was confessed by the defendant, for the sum claimed in the declaration, and a writ of error was then sued out, the object of which was to reverse the last judgment, and set aside all proceedings subsequent to the 16th of May, on the idea, that the judgment rendered at the rules became final on that day.

The sole question in the cause is, whether the adjournment from the 16th of May to the fourth Monday in June, was a continuation of the April term, or constituted a distinct term?

There being nothing in any act of Congress which prevents the Courts of the District from exercising a power common to all Courts, that of adjourning to a distant day; the adjournment on the 16th of May to the fourth Monday in June, would be a continuance of the same term, unless a special act of Congress, expressly enabling the Courts of the District to hold adjourned sessions, may be supposed to vary the law of the...

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22 cases
  • Light v. Self
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • March 24, 1919
    ... ... W. Seay ... et al.; also, the petition of the Security Bank & Trust Company et al.; and the petition of J. A ... Newberry et al., ... State, ... 2 Ark. 229 (citing Mechanics' Bank v ... Withers, 19 U.S. 106, 6 Wheat. 106, 5 L.Ed. 217) ... ...
  • Light v. Self
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • July 14, 1919
    ...will be considered as the proceedings of the term so adjourned." Dunn v. State, 2 Ark. 229, 35 Am. Dec. 54 (citing Mechanics' Bank v. Withers, 6 Wheat. 106, 5 L. Ed. 217). See, also, 7 R. C. L. 990, § 18, "Courts"; In re Dossett, supra; Harris v. Gest, 4 Ohio St. 470; In re McDonald, 4 Wyo.......
  • Stirling v. Wagner
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • December 15, 1892
    ...distant day, when not restrained by the constitution or statute law; and there is no such restraint upon the common pleas courts in Ohio. 6 Wheat. 106. When this power exercised, the sitting after the adjournment is a prolongation of the regular term and in contemplation of law, there is bu......
  • Borrego v. Cunningham
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • December 21, 1896
    ...term. Jurisdiction did not depend on the stroke of the clock. Election Cases, 65 Pa. St. 34; Briceland v. Com., 74 Pa. St. 463; Bank v. Withers, 6 Wheat. 106; Maish v. Arizona, 164 U. S. 599, 17 Sup. Ct. This trial was commenced on April 23, 1895, which was, as the record declared, the thir......
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