United States Statutes at Large/Volume 3/13th Congress/3rd Session/Chapter 94
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall be lawful for Act of April 27, 1816, ch. 110.
Collectors, &c. to search for goods to prevent fraud or unlawful importation.
Act of March 3, 1817, ch. 109.any collector, naval officer, surveyor, or inspector of the customs, as well in an adjoining district as that to which he belongs, to enter on board, search, and examine any ship, vessel, boat, or raft, and if he shall find on board the same any goods, wares, or merchandise, which he shall have probable cause to believe are subject to duty, the payment of which is intended to be evaded, or have been imported into the United States in any manner contrary to law, it shall be his duty to seize and secure the same for trial.
And to stop and examine any vehicle or person on foot, &c., where they suspect unlawful trade, and make seizure.Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for any collector, naval officer, surveyor, or inspector of the customs, as well in any adjoining district as that to which he belongs, to stop, search, and examine any carriage or vehicle, of any kind whatsoever, ant to stop any person travelling on foot, or beast of burden, on which he shall suspect there are goods, wares, or merchandise, which are subject to duty, or which shall have been introduced into the United States in any manner contrary to law; and if such officer shall find any goods, wares, or merchandise, on any such carriage, vehicle, person travelling on foot, or beast of burden, which he shall have probably cause to believe are subject to duty, or have been unlawfully introduced into the United States, he shall seize and secure the same for trial. And if any of the said officers of the customs shall suspect that any goods, wares, or merchandise, which are subject ot duty, or shall have been introduced into the United States contrary to law,Officers authorized to search dwelling houses in the day time, where goods are supposed to be concealed. are concealed in any particular dwelling house, store, or other building, he shall, upon proper application, on oath, to any judge or justice of the peace, be entitled to a warrant, directed to such officer, who is hereby authorized to serve the same, to enter such house, store, or other building, in the day time only, and there to search and examine whether there are any goods, wares, or merchandise, which are subject to duty or have been unlawfully imported; and if, on such search or examination, any such goods, wares, or merchandise, shall be found, which there shall be probable cause for the officer making such search or examination, to believe are subject to duty, or have been unlawfully introduced into the United States, he shall seize and secure the same for trial; Provided always,Proviso. That the necessity of a search warrant, arising under this act, shall in no case be considered as applicable to any carriage, wagon, cart, sleigh, vessel, boat, or other vehicle, of whatever form or construction, employed as a medium of transportation, or to packages on any animal or animals, or carried by man on foot.
Collectors may employ such number of inspectors as they may deem necessary.
Their duties.Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That every collector of the customs shall have authority, with the approbation of the principal officer of the Treasury Department, to employ within his district such number of proper persons, as inspectors of the customs, as he shall judge necessary, who are hereby declared to be officers of the customs; and the said inspectors, before they enter on the duties of their offices, shall take and subscribe, before the collectors appointing them, or before some magistrate within their respective districts, authorized by law to administer oaths, the following oath or affirmation,Oaths or affirmation. to wit: “I, having been appointed an inspector of the customs, within and for the district of, do solemnly, sincerely, and truly swear, (or affirm, as the case may be,) that I will diligently and faithfully execute the duties of the said office of inspector, and will use my best endeavours to prevent and detect frauds and violations against the laws of the United States: I further swear, (or affirm) that I will support the constitution of the United States.”
Collectors authorized to command any person to aid and assist in searching, &c.
Penalty for refusing.
In cases of resistance, the posse of the district may be demanded.Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That any collector, naval officer, surveyor, or inspector, when proceeding to make any search or seizure, authorized by this act, shall be, and he is hereby empowered to command any person who shall be within ten miles of the place where such search or seizure shall be made, to aid and assist such officer in the discharge of his duty therein; and if any person, being so commanded, shall neglect or refuse to aid and assist such officer in making such search or seizure, the person so neglecting or refusing, shall forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding two hundred dollars, and not less than fifty dollars. And such officer may also demand, in cases of resistance, the assistance of the marshal of the district, or any of his deputies, who shall call upon the posse of the district, if necessary in his or their judgment, to render effectual the execution of this act; and all citizens or inhabitants of the district, above the age of eighteen years, and able to travel, who refuse or neglect, upon proper notice from the marshal, or any of his deputies, to join such posse, shall be considered guilty of a misdemeanor, and be liable to be fined in any sum not exceeding three hundred dollars, and be imprisoned for any term not exceeding three months.
Forfeitures and penalties how to be sued for, and prosecuted.Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the forfeitures and penalties mentioned in this act, shall be sued for, prosecuted, and recovered, or inflicted, by action of debt, or by information or indictment, in any court competent to take cognisance thereof and try the same; and that all forfeitures and penalties, so recovered by virtue of this act, shall, after deducting all proper costs and charges, be disposed of as follows: one moiety shall be for the use of the United States, and be paid into the treasury thereof by the collector recovering the same; the other moiety shall be divided between, and paid in equal proportions to the collector and naval officer of the district and surveyor of the port, wherein the same shall have been incurred, or to such of the said officers as there may be in the said district: and in districts where only one of the aforesaid offices shall have been established, the said moiety shall be given to such officer: Provided,Proviso. That where the seizure shall have been made by any inspector or inspectors out of the presence of the collector, naval officer, or surveyor, such inspector or inspectors shall be entitled, in addition to such other compensation as may be allowed them, to twenty-five per centum on the moiety herein given to the collector, naval officer and surveyor, as aforesaid, or to either of them: And provided also,Proviso. That in all cases where such forfeitures and penalties shall be recovered, in pursuance of information given to such collector, naval officer or surveyor, by any private informer, the one half of such moiety shall be given to such informer, and the remainder thereof shall be disposed of between the collector, naval officer, and surveyor, in manner aforesaid, and the same allowance of twenty-five per cent. to inspectors, when the seizure is made by them as aforesaid: And provided likewise,Proviso. That whenever the value of the property seized, condemned, and sold under this act, shall be less than two hundred and fifty dollars, that part of the forfeiture which accrues to the United States, or so much thereof as may be necessary, shall be applied to the payment of the costs of prosecution: And it is further provided,Proviso. That if any officer or other person, entitled to a part or share of any of the penalties or forfeitures incurred in virtue of this act, shall be necessary as a witness on the trial for such penalty or forfeiture, such officer or other person may be witness upon the said trial, but in such case he shall not receive or be entitled to any part or share of the said penalty or forfeiture: and the part or share to which he otherwise would have been entitled, shall revert to the United States.
Prosecution or suits, against officers, for their acts under this act, or colour of it, may be removed to circuit court in certain cases.
Removal of prosecutions from state courts to the circuit court of the United States.Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That if any suit or prosecution be commenced in any state court, against any collector, naval officer, surveyor, inspector, or any other officer, civil or military, or any other person aiding or assisting agreeable to the provisions of this act, or under colour thereof, for any thing done, or omitted to be done as an officer of the customs, or for any thing done by virtue of this act or under the colour thereof, and the defendant shall, at the time of entering his appearance in such court, file a petition for the removal of the cause for trial at the next circuit court of the United States, to be holden in the district where the suit is pending, and offer good and sufficient surety for his entering in such court, on the first day of its session, copies of said process against him, and also for his there appearing at the court and entering special bail in the cause, if special bail was originally required therein, it shall then be the duty of the state court to accept the surety, and proceed no farther in the cause, and the bail that shall have been originally taken shall be discharged: and such copies being entered as aforesaid in such court of the United States, the cause shall there proceed in the same manner as if it had been brought there by original process, whatever may be the amount of the sum in dispute or damages claimed, or whatever the citizenship of the parties, any former law to the contrary notwithstanding; and any attachment of the goods or estate of the defendant by the original process shall hold the goods or estate so attached to answer the final judgment in the same manner as by the laws of such state they would have been holden to answer final judgment, had it been rendered by the court in which the suit was commenced. And it shall be lawful in any action or prosecution which may be now pending, or hereafter commenced, before any state court whatever, for any thing done, or omitted to be done, by the defendant, as an inspector or other officer of the customs, after final judgment for either party, to remove and transfer, by appeal, such decision, during the session or term of said court at which the same shall have taken place, from such court to the next circuit court of the United States, to be held in the district in which such appeal shall be taken in manner aforesaid; and it shall be the duty of the person taking such appeal, to produce and enter in the said circuit court attested copies of the process, proceedings and judgment, in such cause; and it shall also be competent for either party, within six months of the rendition of a judgment in any such cause, by writ of error, or other process, to remove the same to the circuit court of the United States, of that district in which such judgment shall have been rendered, and the said circuit court shall thereupon proceed to try and determine the facts and the law in such action, in the same manner as if the same had been there originally commenced, the judgment shall have been rendered, the judgment in such case notwithstanding. And any bail which may have been taken, or property attached, shall be holden on the final judgment of the said circuit court in such action, in the same manner as if no such removal and transfer had been made as aforesaid. And the state court from which any such action may be removed and transferred as aforesaid, upon the party’s giving good and sufficient security for the prosecution thereof, shall allow the same to be removed and transferred, and proceed no farther in the case: Provided however,Proviso. That if the party aforesaid shall fail duly to enter the removal and transfer as aforesaid in the circuit court, agreeable to this act, the state court, by which judgment shall have been rendered, and from which the transfer and removal shall have been made as aforesaid, shall be authorized, on motion for that purpose, to issue execution, and to carry into effect any such judgment, the same as if no such removal and transfer had been made: Provided nevertheless,Proviso.
Proviso. That this act shall not be construed to apply to any prosecution for an offence involving corporal punishment: And provided also, That no such appeal shall be allowed in any criminal action or prosecution, where final judgment shall have been rendered in favour of the defendant or respondent, by the state court; and in any action or prosecution against any person as aforesaid, it shall be lawful for such person to plead the general issue, and give this act and any special matter in evidence. And if in any suit the plaintiff is nonsuit, or judgment pass against him, the defendant shall recover double costs.
Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That in any suit or prosecution against any person, for any act or thing done as an officer of the customs, or any person aiding or assisting such officer therein, and judgment shall
Officers not to be liable costs, upon judgments against them, in certain cases.
Proviso.be given against the defendant, or respondent, if it shall appear to the court, before which such suit or prosecution shall be tried, that there was probable cause for doing such act or thing, such court shall order a proper certificate or entry to be made thereof, and in such case the defendant or respondent shall not be liable for costs, nor shall he be liable to execution, or to any action for damages, or to any other mode of prosecution, for the act done by him as aforesaid: Provided, That such property or articles as may be held in custody by the defendant, if any, be, after judgment, forthwith returned to the claimant or claimants, his, her, or their agent or agents.
Duration of this act.
Proviso.Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That this act shall continue in force for one year, and no longer: Provided, That all fines, penalties, and forfeitures, which shall have been incurred before the expiration of the act, shall be recovered and distributed, and may be mitigated or remitted, in the same manner as if it had not expired.
Approved, March 3, 1815.