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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Abatoir Place, 106 U.S. 160 (1882)

United States v. Abatoir Place

Decided November 20, 1882

106 U.S. 160


Where an information against a distillery for an alleged violation of the revenue laws was filed, and the district court, after rendering judgment in favor of the claimant, denied the motion of the United States that a certificate of reasonable cause of seizure be entered of record, held that the action on the motion cannot be reviewed here or in the circuit court.

This was an information filed in the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York against a distillery, claiming that it was forfeited to the United States for violation of the revenue laws.

Frederick Frerichs appeared as the claimant and denied the forfeiture. Upon the trial, the district court, being of opinion that there was no evidence of any violation of the revenue laws, for which the seizure had been made, directed a verdict for him, and judgment was rendered thereon in his favor.

Thereupon the United States moved the court to enter of chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 106 U. S. 161

record a certificate that there was a reasonable cause of seizure. The motion was denied. The case was then carried, by writ of error, to the circuit court, which adjudged that there was no error in the record. To reverse this latter judgment this writ of error is prosecuted. The only question raised in this Court is whether the district court erred in refusing to enter the certificate of reasonable cause.

The following sections of the Revised Statutes of the United States are pertinent to the controversy in this case:

"SEC. 909. In suits or informations brought where any seizure is made pursuant to any act providing for or regulating the collection of duties on imports or tonnage, if the property is claimed by any person, the burden of proof shall lie upon such claimant, provided that probable cause is shown for such prosecution, to be judged of by the court."

"SEC. 970. When, in any prosecution commenced on account of the seizure of any vessel, goods, wares, or merchandise made by any collector or other officer under any act of Congress authorizing such seizure, judgment is rendered for the claimant, but it appears to the court that there was a reasonable cause of seizure, the court shall cause a proper certificate thereof to be entered, and the claimant shall not in such case be entitled to costs, nor shall the person who made the seizure nor the prosecutor be liable to suit or judgment on account of such suit or prosecution, provided that the vessel, goods, wares, or merchandise be, after judgment, forthwith returned to such claimant or his agent."

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