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Opinion of the Court.
Mr. Assistant Attorney General Dodge for appellees.
MR. JUSTICE BROWN, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.
The only question presented by this appeal is whether the assimilated fee of ten dollars allowed by the court to the district attorney for his services in defending a large number of habeas corpus cases, brought to release from the custody of masters of vessels certain Chinese emigrants, whom the collector of the port had ordered detained, should be accounted for by him in the returns made by him to the government, of the fees and emoluments of his office. No showing was made of any special employment of the district attorney in these cases, either by the court or by the Attorney General, or any other officer; and apparently his appearance for the United States, and his defence of these proceedings, was construed as a proper part of his duties as district attorney, and was voluntary. The question is whether these services were so far a part of the official duties of the district attorney as to require him to make return to the government of the fees earned therefor as emoluments of his office, within the meaning of Rev. Stat. 833, which directs the district attorney to make a return on the first days of January and July of each year of all fees and emoluments of his office, and of all the necessary expenses. By sec. 834 "the preceding section shall not apply to fees and compensation allowed to district attorneys by section eight hundred and twenty-five," (a percentage upon moneys collected in suits under the revenue laws,) "and eight hundred and twenty-seven," (compensation certified by the court and approved by the Secretary of the Treasury in actions against officers of the revenue). "All other fees, charges and emoluments to which a district attorney or a marshal may be entitled, by reason of the discharge of the duties of his office, as now or hereafter prescribed by law, or in any case in which the United States will be bound by the judgment rendered therein, whether prescribed by statute or allowed by a court, or any judge thereof, shall be included in the
Opinion of the Court.
semi-annual return required of said officers by the preceding
In determining whether the fees in these cases were earned by reason of the discharge of the duties of his office, we are referred to section 771, in which it is enacted that "it shall be the duty of every district attorney to prosecute, in his district, all delinquents for crimes and offences cognizable under the authority of the United States, and all civil actions in which the United States are concerned, and, unless otherwise instructed by the Secretary of the Treasury, to appear in behalf of the defendants in all suits and proceedings pending in his district against collectors, or other officers of the revenue, for any act done by them or for the recovery of any money exacted by or paid to such officers, and by them paid into the Treasury."
It is argued by the petitioner in this connection that these fees were earned not in the prosecution, but in the defence of civil actions in which the United States were concerned, and as, at the time when this statute was originally enacted, the United States could not be sued in the Circuit or District Courts, it was never contemplated that the district attorney would be called upon to defend the United States, except, of course, in suits against officers of the revenue; and hence that the law only imposed on him the duty of prosecuting suits in which the United States were concerned as a party plaintiff. This precise question, however, was considered and passed upon by this court in Smith v. United States, 158 U. S. 346, in which we held that the fact that the government was interested as defendant in some of the cases in which fees were claimed was immaterial, and that the words "to prosecute all civil actions" were not to be interpreted in any technical sense, but should be construed as covering any case in which district attorneys are employed to prosecute the interests of the government, whether such interests be the subject of attack or defence. We only desire to add in this connection that it would require a strong case to show that services, for which the district attorney is entitled to charge the government a fee, are not also services for the earnings of which he
Counsel for Parties.
should make return to the government in his emolument account. In section 834 there are two express exceptions to this rule, and the implication from these is that no others should be permitted. We do not mean to say that there may not possibly be others, but we think it should appear by a clear inference that they were not intended to be included. The government can only be called upon to pay for services earned by the district attorney in his official capacity, and for the fees earned in the performance of these services he should account to the government in his fee and emolument returns, unless there be some express exception taking them out of the general rule.
The judgment of the court below is, therefore,
MR. JUSTICE FIELD took no part in the consideration of this
STEAMER COQUITLAM v. UNITED STATES.
CERTIFICATE FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.
No. 804. Submitted April 20, 1896.- Decided May 18, 1896.
The District Court of Alaska is to be regarded as the Supreme Court of that Territory, within the meaning of the 15th section of the act of March 3, 1891, c. 517, 26 Stat. 826, and of the order of this court assigning Alaska to the Ninth Circuit; and the decree of the District Court of Alaska is subject to review by the Circuit Court of Appeals of that circuit.
THE case is stated in the opinion.
Mr. Calderon Carlisle for appellant. Mr. James Hamilton Lewis, Mr. J. A. Stratton, Mr. L. C. Gilman, Mr. E. C. Hughes, Mr. H. G. Struve, Mr. J. B. Allen and Mr. Maurice McMicken were on briefs for claimants.
Mr. Solicitor General for appellees.
Opinion of the Court.
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the court.
This is a suit in admiralty brought by the United States in the District Court of Alaska for the forfeiture of the steamer Coquitlam, because of an alleged violation of the revenue laws of the United States.
A decree having been rendered for the United States on the 18th day of December, 1893, an appeal was prosecuted to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
By the sixth section of the act of March 3, 1891, c. 517, the Circuit Courts of Appeals are given jurisdiction to review by appeal or writ of error the "final decision in the District Court and the existing Circuit Courts in all cases" other than those provided for in the fifth section of the act, "unless otherwise provided by law." And by the 15th section of the same act it is declared: "That the Circuit Court of Appeal in cases in which the judgment of the Circuit Courts of Appeal are made final by this act shall have the same appellate jurisdiction, by writ of error or appeal, to review the judgments, orders and decrees of the Supreme Courts of the several Territories as by this act they may have to review the judgments, orders and decrees of the District Courts and Circuit Courts; and for that purpose the several Territories shall, by orders of the Supreme Court to be made from time to time, be assigned to particular circuits." 26 Stat. 826, 830. In execution of the duty imposed by that section, this court, by an order promulgated May 11, 1891, assigned the Territory of Alaska to the Ninth Judicial Circuit.
The jurisdiction of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to hear and determine this cause was disputed by the United States upon these grounds: 1. That the District Court of Alaska is not a District Court within the meaning of the sixth section of the above act of 1891, and was not a District Court belonging to that circuit. 2. That the District Court of Alaska is not a Supreme Court of a Territory within the meaning of that act and the above order or rule of this court.
The cause is now before us upon a certificate from the
Opinion of the Court.
Circuit Court of Appeals as to its jurisdiction to entertain an appeal from the decree of the District Court of Alaska.
By the act of July 27, 1868, c. 273, the laws of the United States relating to customs, commerce and navigation were extended to and over all the mainland, islands and waters of the Territory ceded to the United States by the treaty with Russia of March 30, 1867, so far as the same were applicable thereto. 15 Stat. 240. The provisions of that act were reproduced in sections 1954 to 1976 inclusive of the Revised Statutes under the title of "Provisions relating to the unorganized Territory of Alaska." Section 1957 provides: "Until otherwise provided by law, all violations of this chapter, and of the several laws hereby extended to the Territory of Alaska and the waters thereof, committed within the limits of the same, shall be prosecuted in any District Court of the United States in California or Oregon, or in the District Courts of Washington; and the collector and deputy collectors appointed for Alaska Territory, and any person authorized in writing by either of them, or by the Secretary of the Treasury, shall have power to arrest persons and seize vessels and merchandise liable to fines, penalties or forfeitures under this and the other laws extended over the Territory, and to keep and deliver the same to the marshal of some one of such courts; and such courts shall have original jurisdiction, and may take cognizance of all cases arising under this act and the several laws hereby extended over the Territory, and shall proceed therein in the same manner and with the like effect as if such cases had arisen within the district or Territory where the proceedings are brought."
By the first section of the act of May 17, 1884, c. 53, providing a civil government for Alaska, it was declared that the Territory ceded to the United States by the treaty with Russia should constitute a civil and judicial district, to be organized and administered as provided in that act. The same act established "a District Court for said district, with the civil and criminal jurisdiction of District Courts of the United States and the civil and criminal jurisdiction of District Courts of the United States exercising the jurisdiction of Circuit Courts, and