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ABBOTT V. BROWN, 241 U. S. 606 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Abbott v. Brown, 241 U.S. 606 (1916)

Abbott v. Brown

No. 611

Argued April 13, 1916

Decided June 12, 1916

241 U.S. 606


A rule of the district court requiring motions for new trials to be made within four days after entry of the verdict is a mere regulation of practice, a breach of which is only an error of procedure, not affecting the jurisdiction of the court.

After reviewing the statutes relating to the terms of the district courts of Florida and the provisions of the Judicial Code and the Rules of Court relating thereto and to the granting of new trials, held that:

Such statutory provisions are designed to render the district chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 241 U. S. 607

courts readily accessible to applicants for justice in all branches of the jurisdiction, and, while they require those courts to be always open only as courts of admiralty and of equity, they permit special terms to be held at any time for the transaction of any kind of business.

General Rule No 1 of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida, providing for day-to-day adjournments during the absence of the presiding judge, should be liberally construed so as to keep the court open from the beginning of one statutory term to the beginning of the next, Harlan v. McGourin, 218 U. S. 442, and an adjournment made pursuant to that rule does not bring the term to an end, nor is an order for a new trial made after such an adjournment and before the beginning of the next term beyond the jurisdictional power of the judge.

One is not estopped from asserting that the judge making an order for a new trial had jurisdiction to make the same because, in another proceeding, he had moved to quash an indictment for subornation of perjury, in connection with such new trial, on the ground that the judge acted beyond his jurisdiction in granting the motion because not made within the time prescribed by a rule of court, the indictment being quashed on a different ground and one not taken by the defendant.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of the district court to grant new trials during or after the term, are stated in the opinion.

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