FIELDS V. UNITED STATES, 205 U. S. 292 (1907)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Fields v. United States, 205 U.S. 292 (1907)

Fields v. United States

No. 395

Argued March 12, 13, 1907

Decided April 8, 1907

205 U.S. 292


While under § 6 of the Court of Appeals Act of 1891, 26 Stat. 828, a certiorari can only be issued when a writ of error cannot be, it will not be issued merely because the writ of error will not lie; but only where the case is one of gravity, where there is conflict between decisions of state and federal courts, or between those of federal courts of different circuits, or something affecting the relations of this nation to foreign nations, or of general interest to the public.

One who embezzles money from an estate forfeits his right to commissions, irrespective of whether he is or is not convicted of any crime in respect thereto, and his conviction does not involve the pecuniary amount of the commissions which he forfeits by reason of the embezzlement, nor does the fact that such commissions amount to over $5,000 give this Court jurisdiction under § 233 of the Code to review the judgment of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia affirming the conviction. The rule that a writ of error does not lie from this Court to the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia in a criminal case applies in such a case.

Writ of error to review 27 App.D.C. 433 dismissed.

Thomas M. Fields was indicted in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia at the January Term, 1905, for embezzlement. Of eight counts in the indictment, seven were disposed of by demurrer or by verdict in favor of the defendant. The trial, begun on May 8, and ending May 15, 1905, resulted in a verdict of guilty under the third count. Motions in arrest of judgment and for a new trial having been overruled, he was sentenced to imprisonment and labor in the penitentiary for five years. The Court of Appeals of the District modified the judgment of the supreme court by striking out the order for "labor," and, as so modified, affirmed it. 27 App.D.C. 433. The case was brought to this Court on writ of error. A motion to dismiss and a petition for certiorari were presented by the respective parties, the consideration of both of which was postponed to the hearing on the merits. The indictment was found under § 841 of the District Code, which is as follows:

Page 205 U. S. 293

"Any executor, administrator, guardian, trustee, receiver, collector, or other officer into whose possession money, securities, or other property of the property or estate of any other person may come by virtue of his office or employment, who shall fraudulently convert or appropriate the same to his own use, shall forfeit all right or claim to any commissions, costs, and charges thereon, and shall be deemed guilty of embezzlement of the entire amount or value of the money or other property so coming into his possession and converted or appropriated to his own use, and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding ten years, or both."

The statute under which the writ of error was sued out is section 233 of the District Code, which reads:

"SEC. 233. Any judgment or decree of the Court of Appeals may be reexamined and affirmed, reversed, or modified by the Supreme Court of the United States, upon writ of error or appeal, in all cases in which the matter in dispute, exclusive of costs, shall exceed the sum of five thousand dollars, in the same manner and under the same regulations as existed in cases of writs of error on judgments or appeals from decrees rendered in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia on February ninth, eighteen hundred and ninety-three, and also in cases, without regard to the sum or value of the matter in dispute, wherein is involved the validity of any patent or copyright, or in which is drawn in question the validity of a treaty or statute of, or an authority exercised under, the United States. "

Page 205 U. S. 295

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