MIEDREICH V. LAUENSTEIN, 232 U. S. 236 (1914)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Miedreich v. Lauenstein, 232 U.S. 236 (1914)

Miedreich v. Lauenstein

No. 20

Argued October 31, 1913

Decided February 2, 1914

232 U.S. 236


Although the record is meager of attempts to raise it, if the state court holds that a federal question is made before it, according to its practice, and proceeds to determine it, this Court regards the question as duly made.

It is only in exceptional cases, where what purports to be a finding of fact is not strictly such, but is so involved with and dependent upon questions of law that this Court departs from the rule, that it accepts

Page 232 U. S. 237

as binding the findings of fact made by the highest court of the state from which the case come.

This Court has always recognized the difficulty of satisfactorily defining the term "due process of law" in general terms applicable to all cases and the desirability of judicial determination in each case as the question arises. Davidson v. New Orleans, 96 U. S. 97.

Law, in its regular course of administration through courts of justice, is due process, and, when secured by the law of the state, the constitutional requirement is satisfied. Leeper v. Texas, 139 U. S. 462.

In the absence of fraud or collusion, where the original party did all that the law required in the issue and attempt to serve process, but the sheriff made a false return to the effect that service had been made, the state court, in the absence of direct attack upon the return, in acting thereon as though it were true and holding that the sole remedy was an action against the sheriff for a false return, did not deny the party due process of law within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

One damaged by reason of a false return of the sheriff as to service of process, and who is given a remedy against the sheriff, is not denied due process of law by the enforcement of the judgment based on such false return because the amount of the sheriff's bond is less than the amount of his loss.

172 Ind. 140 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the validity under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of a judgment based on a false return of service made by a sheriff, are stated in the opinion.

Page 232 U. S. 241

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