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UNITED STATES v. JOHNSON.

decided: February 27, 1899.

UNITED STATES
v.
JOHNSON.



CERTIFICATE FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT.

Author: Harlan

[ 173 U.S. Page 364]

 MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the court.

In the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of New York a judgment was rendered against the Government and in favor of the defendant in error Johnson for the sum of $6513.95. Of that amount $6500 represented the value of legal services rendered for the United States by Johnson, while he held the office of District Attorney for that district in proceedings in that court for the condemnation of certain lands for public purposes.

The case having been carried by writ of error to the Circuit Court of Appeals, certain questions of law arose as to which instructions are desired from this court -- the controlling question being whether Johnson was entitled, for the services rendered, to any compensation beyond the salary and emoluments attached to his office.

The sections of the Revised Statutes (Title XIII, c. 16) upon the construction of which the answers to the questions propounded more or less depend are the following:

"SEC. 355. No public money shall be expended upon any site or land purchased by the United States for the purpose of erecting thereon any armory, arsenal, fort, fortification, navy-yard, customhouse, lighthouse or other public building, of any kind whatever, until the written opinion of the Attorney General shall be had in favor of the validity of the title, nor until the consent of the legislature of the State in which the land or site may be, to such purchase, has been given. The District Attorneys of the United States, upon the application

[ 173 U.S. Page 365]

     of the Attorney General, shall furnish any assistance or information in their power in relation to the titles of the public property lying within their respective districts. And the Secretaries of the Departments, upon the application of the Attorney General, shall procure any additional evidence of title which may be deemed necessary, and which may not be in possession of the officers of the Government, and the expense of procuring it shall be paid out of the appropriations made for the contingencies of the Departments respectively."

"SEC. 767. There shall be appointed in each District, except in the Middle District of Alabama, and the Northern District of Georgia, and the Western District of South Carolina, a person learned in the law, to act as Attorney for the United States in such District. . . ."

"SEC. 770. The District Attorney for the Southern District of New York is entitled to receive quarterly for all his services a salary at the rate of six thousand dollars a year. For extra services the District Attorney for the District of California is entitled to receive a salary at the rate of five hundred dollars a year, and the District Attorneys for all other districts at the rate of two hundred dollars a year.

"SEC. 771. It shall be the duty of every District Attorney to prosecute in his district all delinquents for crimes and offences cognizable under the authority of the United States, and all civil actions in which the United States are concerned, and, unless otherwise instructed by the Secretary of the Treasury, to appear in behalf of the defendants in all suits or proceedings pending in his district against collectors, or other officers of the revenue, for any act done by them or for the recovery of any money exacted by or paid to such officers and by them paid into the Treasury."

"SEC. 823. The following and no other compensation shall be taxed and allowed to attorneys, solicitors and proctors in the courts of the United States, to District Attorneys, clerks of the Circuit and District Courts, marshals, commissioners, witnesses, jurors and printers in the several States and Territories, except in cases otherwise expressly provided by law. But nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit attorneys, solicitors

[ 173 U.S. Page 366]

     and proctors from charging to and receiving from their clients, other than the Government, such reasonable compensation for their services, in addition to the taxable costs, as may be in accordance with general usage in their respective States, or may be agreed upon between the parties.

"SEC. 824. . . . For examination by a District Attorney, before a Judge or commissioner, of persons charged with crime, five dollars a day for the time necessarily employed. For each day of his necessary attendance in a court of the United States on the business of the United States, when the court is held at the place of his abode, five dollars; and for his attendance when the court is held elsewhere, five dollars for each day of the term. . . .

"SEC. 825. There shall be taxed and paid to every District Attorney two per centum upon all moneys collected or realized in any suit or proceeding arising under the revenue laws, and conducted by him, in which the United States is a party, which shall be in lieu of all costs and fees in such proceeding."

"SEC. 827. When a District Attorney appears by direction of the Secretary or Solicitor of the Treasury, on behalf of any officer of the revenue in any suit against such officer, for any act done by him, or for the recovery of any money received by him and paid into the Treasury in the performance of his official duty, he shall receive such compensation as may be certified to be proper by the court in which the suit is brought, and approved by the Secretary of the Treasury."

"SEC. 833. Every District Attorney, clerk of a District Court, clerk of a Circuit Court, and marshal, shall, on the first days of January and July, in each year, or within thirty days thereafter, make to the Attorney General, in such form as he may prescribe, a written return for the half year ending on said days, respectively, of all the fees and emoluments of his office, of every name and character, and of all the necessary expenses of his office, including necessary clerk hire, together with the vouchers for the payment of the same for such last half year. He shall state separately in such returns the fees and emoluments received or payable under the bankrupt act; and every marshal shall state separately therein the fees and emoluments

[ 173 U.S. Page 367]

     received or payable for services rendered by himself personally, those received or payable for services rendered by each of his deputies, naming him, and the proportion of such fees and emoluments which, by the terms of his service, each deputy is to receive. Said returns shall be verified by the oath of the officer making them.

"SEC. 834. The preceding section shall not apply to the fees and compensation allowed to District Attorneys by sections eight hundred and twenty-five and eight hundred and twenty-seven. All other fees, charges and emoluments to which a District Attorney or a marshal may be entitled by reason of the discharge of the duties of his office, as now or hereafter prescribed by law, or in any case in which the United States will be bound by the judgment rendered therein, whether prescribed by statute or allowed by a court, or any judge thereof, shall be included in the semi-annual return required of said officers by the preceding section.

"SEC. 835. No District Attorney shall be allowed by the Attorney General to retain of the fees and emoluments of his office which he is required to include in his semi-annual return, for his personal compensation, over and above the necessary expenses of his office, including necessary clerk hire, to be audited and allowed by the proper accounting officers of the Treasury Department, a sum exceeding six thousand dollars a year, or exceeding that rate for any time less than a year."

"SEC. 844. Every District Attorney, clerk and marshal shall, at the time of making his half-yearly return to the Attorney General, pay into the Treasury, or deposit to the credit of the Treasurer, as he may be directed by the Attorney General, any surplus of the fees and emoluments of his office, which said return shows to exist over and above the compensation and allowances authorized by law to be retained by him."

"SEC. 1764. No allowance or compensation shall be made to any officer or clerk, by reason of the discharge of duties which belong to any other officer or clerk in the same or any other Department; and no allowance or compensation shall be made for any extra services whatever, which any ...


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