Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Opinion of the Court.

268 U.S.

Fishing and Hunting Club v. United States, 260 U. S. 561.

The master next found that the land lying between the south bank as now existing and that bank as existing at the time of the Powell survey is accretion to the bank, and therefore part of the Powell tract. Exception is taken to this finding on grounds that are not made very clear. A short statement of what the evidence tends to show in this connection will make it plain that the exception must be overruled. During the 25-year period intervening between the Powell survey and the Durfee survey there was a large addition to the south bank, but in later years most of that addition was cut away. At present the bank extends a little farther northward than it did when the Powell survey was made. These changes all resulted from the natural and gradual processes of accretion and erosion, which are rather pronounced in Red River. Its currents and channels shift from one side of its wide bed to the other, gradually cut away one bank and build up the other, and later on reverse that action. Where, as here, a boundary bank is changed by these processes the boundary, whether private or public, follows the change. Oklahoma v. Texas, 260 U. S. 606, 636; Oklahoma v. Texas, 265 U. S. 493, 499.

The necessary result of the two findings we have méntioned is that there was no public land between the Powell tract and the river to which the Durfee survey and patent could give any right.

The next exception is to the master's conclusion that there was no sufficient evidence on which to invoke an estoppel against the assertion by Roberts and Britain of title to the strip in controversy or to the royalty interest arising therefrom.

The grounds on which an estoppel is invoked are that Specht, from whom Roberts acquired the Powell tract, had theretofore made and distributed a plat of that tract,

252

Opinion of the Court.

along with others, whereon it was represented as not extending to the river bank; that Roberts after getting the title made and distributed a plat with a like representation of the northern boundary; that Roberts pointed out to the Durfee Company and its predecessors as the northern boundary a line running south of the land in dispute; and that, acting upon those plats and Roberts' statement, the Durfee Company and its predecessors purchased the land in dispute from a claimant under the Durfee survey and paid a valuable consideration for it. The evidence bearing on the asserted estoppel is in several respects conflicting. It is fully and fairly reviewed by the master in his report and need not be restated here. The master concluded, and we agree with him, that as a whole the evidence shows that the Durfee Company and its predecessors purchased with full knowledge of the record title, including the surveyor's field notes before described; that the plats made by Specht and Roberts were too vague to have been relied upon as a representation of the nature or location of the northern boundary; that the conveyance from Specht to Roberts, which was part of the record title, described the Powell tract as extending to the meanders of the river; that the Durfee Company and its predecessors in purchasing did not in fact rely upon the Specht and Roberts plats or any statement of Roberts, but upon a report made by their attorneys based on the record title, including the field notes; and that the alleged statement by Roberts to them, if made, was made after they had purchased, gone into possession and paid the purchase price. In this situation the asserted estoppel must fail. Only where conduct or statements are calculated to mislead a party and are acted upon by him in good faith to his prejudice can he invoke them as a basis of such an estoppel. And if they relate to the title of real property “where the condition of the title is known to both parties, or both have the same means of

[blocks in formation]

ascertaining the truth, there can be no estoppel.” Brant v. Virginia Coal & Iron Co., 93 U. S. 326, 336–337; Crary v. Dye, 208 U. S. 515, 521; Westbrook v. Guderian, 3 Tex. Civ. App. 406; Hunter v. Malone, 49 Tex. Civ. App. 116, 121; Bender v. Brooks, 130 S. W. 653, 657; Barclay v. Dismuke, 202 S. W. 364, 365; Pomeroy's Eq., 4th ed., sec. 807. There was no laches on Roberts' part in asserting his claim after the company purchased. He soon went to the land with a surveyor to run out his lines and make his claim known, but was prevented from doing so by an armed guard. With reasonable promptness he brought a suit in a court of competent jurisdiction to enforce his rights. Proceedings in that suit were soon suspended by reason of this receivership, and he promptly asserted his claim here.

An order will be entered overruling the exceptions, confirming the master's report and directing payment of the royalty interest to Roberts and Britain. The costs will be adjusted in the order.

Claim of Roberts and Britain sustained. Claim of Durfee Mineral Company denied.

COCKRILL ET AL. 2. PEOPLE OF CALIFORNIA.

ERROR TO CALIFORNIA DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL THIRD

APPELLATE DISTRICT.

No. 182. Argued March 6, 1925.-Decided May 11, 1925.

By the California Alien Land Law, under which acquisition, use or

control of agricultural land is forbidden to aliens not eligible to citizenship under the laws of the United States and interests which such persons can not take are to escheat to the State when conveyed with intent to avoid that result, it is provided that a prima facie presumption that conveyance is made with that intent shall arise upon proof of the taking of the property in the name of a person not inhibited if the consideration is paid, or

258

Opinion of the Court.

agreed or understood to be paid, by an alien of the disqualified classes—In a prosecution for conspiracy to violate the statute, where the conveyance was taken by an American citizen and the consideration paid by an ineligible Japanese, but with intent, as it was claimed, that the interest should be held for his children, who were American citizens by birth, held; That the statutory presumption of intent is consistent with the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment and with the provision of the treaty with Japan guaranteeing to the subjects of the parties to it protection of persons and property and enjoyment in that respect of the rights and privileges granted

native citizens. Pp. 261, 262. 62 Cal. App. 22, affirmed.

ERROR to a judgment of the California District Court of Appeal affirming a sentence for conspiracy to violate the Alien Land Law of that State. The Supreme Court of California had refused a petition for review.

Mr. Algernon Crofton, with whom Mr. Charles A. Wetmore, Jr., was on the brief, for plaintiff in error.

Mr. F. L. Guerena for defendant in error. Messrs. U. S. Webb, Attorney General of California, Frank English, John H. Riordan and J. Charles Jones, Deputy Attorneys General, were on the brief.

MR. JUSTICE BUTLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

Plaintiffs in error were convicted in the superior court of Sonoma County, California, of conspiracy to effect a transfer of real property in violation of the Alien Land Law of that State. Judgment was affirmed by the district court of appeal. 62 Cal. App. 22. A petition to have the case heard and determined in the Supreme Court of California was denied. The case is here on writ of error. § 237, Judicial Code.

Under the Alien Land Law, Japanese subjects who are not eligible to citizenship under the laws of the United

Opinion of the Court.

268 U.S.

States are not permitted to acquire, use or control agricultural lands in California. Statutes of California, 1921, p. lxxxiii. Treaty of February 21, 1911, 37 Stat. 1504. Porterfield v. Webb, 263 U. S. 225; Webb v. O'Brien, 263 U. S. 313; Frick v. Webb, 263 U. S. 326; Terrace v. Thompson, 263 U. S. 197. Section 9 provides: “Every transfer of real property, or of an interest therein, though colorable in form, shall be void as to the state and the interest thereby conveyed or sought to be conveyed shall escheat to the state if the property interest involved is of such a character that an alien mentioned in section two hereof (one not eligible to citizenship under the laws of the United States] is inhibited from acquiring, possess-ing, enjoying or transferring it, and if the conveyance is made with intent to prevent, evade or avoid .escheat as provided for herein. A prima facie presumption that the conveyance is made with such intent shall arise upon proof of

the taking of the property in the name of a person other than the persons mentioned in section two hereof if the consideration is paid or agreed or understood to be paid by an alien mentioned in section two hereof;

Section 10 provides that, if two or more persons conspire to effect a transfer of real property or of any interest therein in violation of the provisions of the statute, they shall be punishable by fine or imprisonment or both.

Plaintiff in error Cockrill is an American, and Ikada is a Japanese subject not eligible to citizenship. They entered into an agreement to purchase certain agricultural lands and to take title in the name of Cockrill. Ikada furnished the money which was paid on account of the purchase price, and, upon the making of the contract, took possession of the property. Cockrill had no interest in the land; and the prosecution maintained that he made the contract with the seller and intended to take the deed and hold the land in trust for Ikada. But

« AnteriorContinuar »