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U.S. Supreme Court

Custiss v. Georgetown & Alexandria Turnpike Company, 10 U.S. 6 Cranch 233 233 (1810)

Custiss v. Georgetown and Alexandria Turnpike Company

10 U.S. (6 Cranch) 233


Decided: an appeal lies to the Supreme Court from an order of the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia quashing an inquisition in the nature of a writ ad quod damnum.

The Circuit Court for the District of Columbia has no jurisdiction, upon motion to quash an inquisition taken under the act "to authorize the making of a turnpike road from Mason's causey to Alexandria."

Error to the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia sitting at Alexandria, which had quashed an inquisition taken by the marshal condemning land of Mr. Custiss for a turnpike road.

The inquisition was taken under the 7th section of the Act of Congress of 3 March, 1809, "to authorize the making of a turnpike road from Mason's causey to Alexandria," vol. 9, p. 276, which provides that it shall be lawful for the president and directors of the turnpike company to agree with the owners of any ground to be occupied by the road and the necessary toll houses and gates, for the right thereof, and, in case of disagreement,

"on application to one of the judges of the circuit court, he shall issue a warrant directed to the marshal of the district to summon a jury of 24 inhabitants of the District of Columbia, of property and reputation, not related to the parties nor in any manner interested, to meet on the land to be valued, at a day to be expressed in the warrant, not less than ten nor more than twenty thereafter, and the marshal, upon receiving the said warrant, shall forthwith summon

Page 10 U. S. 234

the said jury, and when met, provided there be not less than twelve, shall administer an oath or affirmation to every juryman that shall appear, that he shall faithfully, justly, and impartially value the lands and all damages the owner thereof shall sustain by opening the road through such land, according to the best of his skill and judgment, and that the inquisition thereupon taken shall be signed by the marshal and the jurymen present, and returned by the marshal to the clerk of the county, to be by him recorded; and upon every such valuation the jury is hereby directed to describe and ascertain the bounds of the land by them valued, and their valuation shall be conclusive upon all persons, and shall be paid by the president and directors to the owner of the land or his or her legal representatives, and on payment thereof the said land shall be taken and occupied for a public road, and for the necessary tollhouses and gates forever."

On the application of the president and directors of the company, a warrant was granted and an inquisition taken and returned to the clerk. Before it was recorded, the president and directors obtained from the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, sitting at Alexandria, a rule upon Mr. Custiss to show cause why the inquisition should not be quashed. Mr. Custiss appeared and objected to the jurisdiction of the court, but the court overruled the objection and, upon hearing, quashed the inquest.

Page 10 U. S. 235

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