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BROWN v. COUNTY OF BUENA VISTA.

October 1, 1877

BROWN
v.
COUNTY OF BUENA VISTA.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Iowa. The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mr. Justice Swayne delivered the opinion of the court.

Mr. George G. Wright for the appellant.

Mr. Galusha Parsons, contra.

This is an appeal in equity. The appellee filed the bill.

The decree of the court below was against the appellant.

In this court, the grounds relied upon to sustain the decree are,––

That the judgment sought to be enjoined was procured by the fraud and conspiracy of the appellants, Jamison the county clerk, and Moore the county treasurer;

That the judgment was founded in a large part upon warrants of the county, issued pursuant to a fraudulent conspiracy of the same parties, and in part upon warrants which were forged;

And that the payments upon the judgment were procured to be made by the fraudulent misrepresentations of Langdon and Brown, through their attorney.

On the 6th of September, 1865, Jamison acknowledged service of mesne process in the case in which the judgment was recovered. It is not denied that the acknowledgment rendered the service sufficient in point of law, and warranted the court in giving the judgment, if the fraud and conspiracy charged had no existence. The allegations of the bill casting the imputation are explicitly met and denied by the answers. This put the burden of establishing them upon the complainant. There is no proof whatever in the record upon the subject.

The judgment was rendered by default in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Iowa, on the 25th of October, 1865, in favor of Langdon, against the county, for $6,259.32. It was founded upon county warrants. Five of them were for the sum of $1,000 each. The residue were for smaller sums, amounting in the aggregate to less than $500. There is proof tending to show such warrants had been issued fraudulently to a very large amount, and there is some proof that the name of William S. Lee upon some of the smaller warrants included in the judgment is not in his handwriting. By whom it was written is not shown.

It appears, also, that warrant No. 86, for $1,000, embraced in the judgment, was subsequently abstracted from the clerk's office. When the testimony was taken, it was in the hands of a person in Vermont. As it was clearly thus put in circulation when overdue, the county can sustain no injury from it. A transcript of the judgment, pursuant to the law of Iowa, was filed in the clerk's office of the District Court for the county on the 29th of January, 1866. Moore and Jamison left the county in October, 1866. After their departure, the sheriff, with process, made search for the record of the proceedings of the supervisors, and for the county seal. Neither was found. When last heard from, Jamison was reported to have died in Texas. Moore was said to be living somewhere in the interior of New York. His testimony was not taken by either party.

That fraud was perpetrated as to the issuing of warrants by Jamison is very probable, and it may be that it extended to the warrants here in question.

But however this may be, there is no proof of any thing wrong on the part of Brown or Langdon. Brown was examined, cross-examined, and re-examined, as a witness. He testifies, that, having sent the transcript of the judgment to the county to be filed, and getting no answer, he went there to see that it was done. This brought him into contact with Jamison, and he thinks he saw a man of the name of Moore. He says he never saw them at any ...


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