United States v. Stone (39 U.S. 524)
ON a certificate of division from the Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York.
An action of debt was instituted in the District Court for the Southern District of New York, by the United States against the defendant, as master of the steamboat New York, to recover the penalty of three hundred dollars imposed by the ninth section of the act of Congress, of the 7th of July, 1838, entitled, 'An act for the better security of the lives of passengers on board vessels propelled in whole or in part by steam.'
The cause was tried in the District Court, in June, 1839.
On the trial of the cause in the District Court, exceptions were taken by the counsel for the defendant to the decision of the Court, on questions of evidence which arose in the trial. Evidence was offered by the defendant, which was overruled by the Court; to which decisions, the counsel for the defendant also excepted.
The district judge charged the jury in favour of the plaintiffs, on a case agreed upon; but for the more full consideration of the questions in the cause, he recommended, with the consent of the counsel on both sides, that the jury should find a verdict for the plaintiffs, subject to the opinion of the Court, upon a case to be made; with leave to either party to turn the same into a bill of exceptions or special verdict. Upon which the jury found such verdict, accordingly.
No judgment was entered on the verdict; but by consent of the counsel in the cause, it was transferred to the Circuit Court, without any other proceedings in the District Court.
The record stated that on the argument of the cause, the Circuit Court were divided in opinion on questions presented on the argument of the counsel for the plaintiffs and the defendant; and at the request of the counsel for the parties, they were ordered to be certified to the Supreme Court for their decision. This division of opinion was in fact made pro forma, and for the purpose of obtaining the opinion of the Supreme Court on the points certified.
For the United States, Mr. Gilpin, Attorney General; for Samuel B. Stone, Mr. Sullivan, who submitted a printed argument.
The case was not argued, it having been remanded to the Circuit Court.
Mr. Chief Justice TANEY delivered the opinion of the Court