ERROR TO THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA.
MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.
This case is here to review an order sustaining a demurrer to an indictment found against defendant in error, herein called defendant.
Omitting the repetitions and accentuations which are usually found in indictments, the following are the facts stated in the indictment in this case: On the fourteenth of August, 1907, one Granville M. Boyer made a desert land entry for certain lands under the public land laws of the United States, and particularly under and by virtue of the act of Congress approved March 3, 1877, 19 Stat. 377, c. 107, or 2 U.S. Comp. Stat. 1548, the land being then open to entry, settlement and reclamation and he having the proper qualifications under the laws. The record was number 3903. On the twenty-sixth of August he assigned, by an instrument in writing, his entry and his interest in the land which was the subject thereof to one Beulah Rose Beekler, she being a citizen of the United
States. She filed the assignment with the Register and Receiver of the United States land office of the Los Angeles, California land district.
On the thirtieth of January, 1908, and while entry No. 3903 was pending before the Register and Receiver, Beulah Rose Beekler, "in pretended compliance" with the public land laws of the United States and the rules and regulations of the General Land Office of the Department of the Interior relating to desert land entries, applied at the office of one Daniel Elder, clerk of the Superior Court of Imperial county, within the southern division of the southern district of California, to make her first yearly proof of improvement, irrigation, reclamation and cultivation of the land, with the intention of thereafter obtaining a patent from the United States therefor. Elder was an officer authorized to receive such proof and to administer oaths to witnesses.
Defendant appeared and gave testimony in such proceeding and subscribed the same, swearing that the statements therein were true.
The specific details of his testimony are not necessary to the points of law which are involved. It is enough to say that it is set out in the indictment with particularity and showed that the improvements required by the desert land laws were made, and it is charged, that the testimony was wilfully and corruptly given, he knowing it to be false. And it was further charged that the testimony was filed with the Register and Receiver as part of the proceedings in relation to the entry.
The indictment was demurred to on the ground that it did not state facts sufficient to constitute an offense against the United States. The demurrer was sustained.
The question of law in the case is the materiality of defendant's affidavit, and that again depends upon whether the desert land laws authorized an assignment of the entry.
These propositions have been argued at great length. Besides oral argument a brief of 71 pages is presented by the United States, which is replied to by defendant's brief of 132 pages, and supported by a brief of amici curiae of 135 pages, and there are supplemental briefs besides.In our view, however, the case does not require so much expansion, and for its general discussion we may refer to the able opinion of the court ...