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from any source to determine the question of jurisdiction; and, even if the record recites facts showing jurisdiction, the court may nevertheless hear other evidence in contradiction or support of the record, showing whether the justice had in fact acquired jurisdiction.
The reason for this distinction is patent. A court of general jurisdiction is presided over by a judge learned in the law, is attended by numerous attorneys and officers, and is held in a public place and at stated times. Liberal provi. sion is made by the law for new trial, for review of judgment, and ample time given for appeal from erroneous decisions. There is slight danger, therefore, that any one may go without remedy for any wrong possibly done him before the court; and there is good reason for the rule that gives to the record of a court of such dignity the character of absolute verity.
To the record of a court of inferior and limited jurisdiction, as that of a justice of the peace or board of county commissioners, the same verity is given only after it is shown that such court had jurisdiction of the subject matter, and of the person of the defendant tried before it. If jurisdiction is denied, then no step can be taken until jurisdiction is proved. In case the recitals in the record show jurisdiction, and the correctness of such recitals is admitted, that is sufficient; otherwise, proof outside the record must be adduced to establish the jurisdiction.
In habeas corpus proceedings, where the freedom of the citizen is in question, no shadow of doubt must be left 116 as to the legality of the proceedings under which he is held in custody. This writ, 80 long the bulwark of personal liberty, will be most sacredly guarded by the courts.
And while the record of a court of competent jurisdiction will always be respected, yet, before such record is received, the court or the judge before whom it is brought will first be assured that the court from which the record comes is in truth a court of competent jurisdiction. If the court is of general jurisdiction the record is received without further question, both as to jurisdiction and as to all subsequent proceedings in the case. If, however, the court is of inferior or limited jurisdiction, and its jurisdiction over the subject matter of the controversy, or over the person of the defend. ant, is controverted, then such jurisdiction must be first proved; otherwise, the whole record will be rejected.
In the case before us the correctness of the record of tho justice of the peace was denied, and the appellant petitioner offered competent evidence to show that the affidavit set out in the record and purporting to be that on which a warrant issued for the defendant, and upon which he was tried, was in fact not filed with the justice until after the trial and imprisonment of the appellant. The court refused to admit the offered evidence. This was error.
The judgment is reversed, with instructions to receive the evidence offered to show that the justice of the peace had acquired no jurisdiction over the person of the appellant, and for further proceedings.
HABEAS CORPUS AS A WRIT OF REVIEW.-The writ of habeas corpus cannot have the force and effect of a writ of error or certiorari or appeal, nor is it designed as a substitute for eithor: Slate v. Kinmore, 54 Minn. 135; 40 Am. St. Rep. 305, and note. Mere errors or irregularities in court proceedings cannot be reviewed on habeas corpus for the discharge of a prisoner committed under process issued on final judgment of a court of competent juris. diction: In re Black, 52 Kan. 64; 39 Am. St. Kep. 331, and note. See, also, the case of In re Copenhaver, 118 Mo. 377; 40 Am. St. Rep. 382, and note.
JUSTICES OF THE Prace-IMPEACHMENT OF JURISDICTION. - Justicos’judg. ments are only prima facie evidence of jurisdiction, in opposition to which it may be shown by any satisfactory means of proof that the authority of the court did not extend over the matter in controversy, nor over the parties to the action: Townsly. Myrick Dry Goods Co. v. Fuller, 58 Ark. 181; 41 Am. St. Rep. 97, and note. Facts necessary to show that a court of limited jurisdiction has acted within its jurisdiction may be proved by other com. petent evidence in the absence of a statute requiring such facts to appear in the minutes or other records of its proceedings: In re Williams, 102 Cal 70; 41 Am. St. Rep. 163, and note.
JUSTICES OF THE Peace-JUDGMENTS OF.-COLLATERAL ATTACK ON: Soo Leonard v. Sparks, 117 Mo. 103; 38 Am. St. Rep. 646, and note.
Saultz V. Saultz.
(136 INDIANA, 323.) JUDOMENTS—RIGHT TO RECOVER DAMAGES FOR OBTAINING.–So long as a
judgment obtained by fraud stands, a party thereto cannot maintain an action to recover damages for so obtaining it, as a recovery in such
action would operate as an impeachment of the first judgment. JUDGMENTS—CONCLUSIVENESS.—A judgment, so long as it stands, importa
absolute verity as to every proposition of law and fact essential to its
existence against all parties to it. JUDGMENTS—ACTION TO IMPEACH. – A party to a judgment obtained by
fraud can avail himself of that fraud only in a direct proceeding to vacate and set aside the judgment, and not in an action to recover damages on the ground that such judgment was fraudulently obtained.
W. T. Brannaman, W. C. Lamb, W. P. Adkinson, and W. P. Hargrave, for the appellant.
W. K. Marshall and 0. H. Montgomery, for the appellees.
324 McCABE, J. The circuit court sustained a demurrer to the complaint, and the appellant declining to amend or plead further, appellee had judgment upon the demurrer.
The only question presented by the assignment of errors is the correctness of that ruling.
The substance of the complaint is as follows:
Maria Shultz complains of Charles Shultz, Henry Struckman, and Margaret Roeger, and says that on the day of March, 1859, she was married to the above defendant, Charles Shultz, and plaintiff and said defendant lived together as husband and wife until eight years before the filing of this complaint, the marital relations having continued the same until the sixth day of September, 1890, when they were divorced on plaintiff's application in the Marion superior court; that she bore children by said defendant, eight in number, only one of whom is living, namely, William. She helped her husband, during that time, to acquire two pieces of town property, real estate, described, in the city of Seymour, in said county, of the aggregate value of $6,500, the title to which was in her husband's name; that, prior to her grievances thereinafter specified, she joined her husband in a mortgage on the same to secure a debt of her husband, on one of the lots, for $450 to one Conrad Akeret; that afterward Christian Struckman, her father, purchased said mort. gage, and had the same assigned to him for the use and benefit of this plaintiff; that afterward, on the — day 325 of August, 1879, said Christian Struckman duly and legally executed his last will and testament, willing money and property to the value of $1,600, and delivered the same to appellant for safekeeping, in which he provided as fol. lows: He bequeathed to his son Frederick, $100; to his son Henry, $50; Louisa, daughter, $50; to his daughter Minnie Stumke, $5, and the residue of said $1,600, in undivided parts, to this plaintiff and her son William; it further provided that $450, the amount included in said mortgage on lot 8, as aforesaid, should be the property of the plaintiff, and taken out of her share as legatee under the terms of said will and by her held and controlled as a lien against said property; that said testator died on the twenty-second day of June,
AL, ST. REP., VOL XLIIL
1880, without revoking said will; that said property was at that time free from encumbrance, except the mortgage already mentioned, which was the only mortgage on said property she ever signed; that she was at that time the owner in fee simple of one-third of all said property; that, in the absence or neglect of her said husband, she was entitled to an additional $600, exemption from execution, out of the same, and as the wife of said Charles Shultz she had other marital rights, in all amounting to the full value of all the property aforesaid; that defendants had full and complete knowledge at the time of all the foregoing facts, yet defendants did then and there cruelly and wickedly form a conspiracy among themselves to defraud plaintiff out of all her property rights, to injure her person and feelings, to bumiliate her, and to carry out said conspiracy, etc., for gain for themselves. Soon after the death of testator the defendant Henry Struckman wrongfully procured possession of said will, mortgage, and one promissory note for $250, executed by the defendant Charles Shultz and belonging to the estate of the testator under the terms of said will, the 326 plaintiff having inadvertently placed said will in a wrong package of papers, said will and mortgage then and there being the property of the plaintiff, and she further avers that Henry, after gaining possession of said will, did, knowing its contents, secrete, hide, or destroy said will, and to the date of the filing of this complaint secreted the same from the plaintiff up to the time of the complaint, and did fraudulently and wrongfully, with intent and purpose of defrauding the plaintiff, falsely and wrongfully claim to be the owner of said property, and fraudulently, and with the knowledge and co-operation of his codefendants, falsely cause suit to be brought in his own name, as the owner of said property to foreclose said mortgage, and to obtain judgment on said note, in the Jackson circuit court, to foreclose said mortgage and obtain judgment on said note against the appellant and Charles Shultz, Minnie Stumke, Fred Struckman, and Louisa Summan, brothers and sisters of said Henry, except Charles Shultz; that at the May term of said court for 1981 said Henry obtained judgment against Charles Shultz and this plaintiff for $854.15 and foreclosure of said mortgage.
In furtherance of said conspiracy to injure and defrauda appellant said Henry, with knowledge of all the defendants, wrongfully and for the purpose of defrauding appellant, procured execution to issue on said judgment, and on June 18, 1881, said lot, mortgaged as aforesaid, was sold by the sheriff for $600, which was credited on the judgment against said Charles and appellant, and said sum fully satisfied any and all jugments against appellant at the time of said sale, leaving a balance on said judgment against said Charles Shultz, due and unpaid, in the sum of $254.15; that appellant was an ignorant, unlettered woman, unsuspecting and confiding, and trusted and confided in the horor, integrity, and 327 justice of her said husband and brother, and they caused her to so do, and they promised in all matters herein mentioned to act fairly and justly by her; that at the commencement of the suit a foresaid, the defendant Charles Shultz, her then husband, falsely and fraudulently represented to this plaintiff, for the purpose of deceiving her and furthering said conspiracy to defraud her, with the knowl. edge of the other defendants, that he had employed counsel to defend said suit against hiin, and to defend all appellant's rights in and to all her real estate and personal property, both legal and equitable, in connection with the suit aforesaid,
Relying upon said representations she abided the same in good faith; whereas, in truth and in fact, the said Charles employed counsel for the purpose of carrying out said conspiracy, he witheld all information from said counsel so employed by him, for the fraudulent purpose of injuring this plaintiff, and, for said purpose, wholly refused to protect any of plaintiff's rights in said suit, or cause them to be protected, wholly refusing to attend said trial and make default therein; and for the purpose of more fully carrying out said conspiracy to defraud and ruin her in property rights and health, with knowledge of the other defendants, represented to appellant, for the better protection of her rights, it would be prudent, wise, and just for her to join him, the said defendant, in a conveyance of lot number 184 to A.J. D. Thurston, who would then and there convey the entire title to said property to this plaintiff'; that he and counsel for the defense represented to her, with knowledge as aforesaid, that it would be an equitable and just settlement of the property rights between appellant and her then husband, and when so conveyed should be and remain hers in fee simple, and should be a settlement of her rights, legal and equitable, in and to the property
328 aforesaid, then in her husband's name, and