The Sylvia Handy v. United States/Opinion of the Court

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Opinion of the Court

United States Supreme Court

143 U.S. 513

The Sylvia Handy  v.  United States

We have already held in Ex parte Cooper, 12 Sup. Ct. Rep. 453, that the act of February 16, 1875, (chapter 77, § 1, 18 St. 315,) applies to appeals taken from decrees of the district court of the United States for the district of Alaska sitting in admiralty, and we are therefore limited upon this appeal to a determination of the questions of law arising upon the record, and to such rulings of the court, excepted to at the time, as may be presented by a bill of exceptions prepared as in actions at law. The libel and findings in this case, as in that, are sufficient to sustain the jurisdiction.

The certificate of the clerk is to the effect 'that the foregoing copies of pleadings, papers, and journal entries in the cause of The United States v. The Schooner Sylvia Handy and L. N. Handy & Co. have been by me compared with the originals thereof, as the same appear on file and of record in this court, and that the same are full and true transcripts of said original pleadings, papers, and journal entries now in my custody and control.' No mention is made in this certificate of a bill of exceptions, but we find in the record a paper so styled filed March 23, 1888, and presumably signed on that day. Two terms of the district court of Alaska are provided for in each year, one beginning on the first Monday of May, and the other on the first Monday of November. 23 St. 24, c. 53, § 3. The trial of this cause took place on the 22d of September, 1887, and the decree was entered on that day, and there is nothing in the record showing the authority of the court to allow a bill of exceptions at the succeeding term. Looking into the bill, however, the only exception that we find there taken is thus stated: 'The defendants there and then excepted to the ruling of the court and the law as declared by the court, viz.;' and then follow the findings of fact and conclusions of law made and filed by the court.

The bill of exceptions does not purport to contain all the evidence, and no request was made for a finding of fact as to the actual locality of the killing and the seizure in question.

Under these circumstances, the rulings in Ex parte Cooper are decisive of this case, and the decree will therefore be affirmed.

Mr. Justice FIELD dissented.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).