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U.S. Supreme Court

Ex Parte Morris and Johnson, 76 U.S. 9 Wall. 605 605 (1869)

Ex Parte Morris and Johnson

76 U.S. (9 Wall.) 605


1. It is the duty of a court below to obey and give effect to the mandate of this Court, as far as practicable. Where the mandate is for restitution of moneys recovered by persons under a decree of the court below, all persons within the reach of the territorial jurisdiction of that court should be required by the proper order to refund what they have received. If they fail to do so, they should be dealt with promptly by attachment for contempt. This in no wise interferes with common law remedies, except that the parties entitled to restitution cannot be paid twice.

2. If a party within the jurisdiction is in possession of any part of the fund ordered to be paid back, which was received by another who is out of the jurisdiction, the rights of the petitioners follow the money into his hands, and he is liable for it. Such party, within the jurisdiction, should, on an allegation of his possession, be required to disclose the facts touching that subject, and if he is in such possession, he should be required to restore the money so received.

3. Where a marshal who is bound under a mandate from this Court to make restitution returns that he has deposited the money in bank pursuant to directions from the United States, the circumstances of the deposit should be inquired into. If the money was deposited pursuant to instructions from the proper authority, he is exonerated, and in that event the proper certificate should be given by the court to the petitioners, and they be left to seek redress in the appropriate manner. The court has no authority to order the United States to refund.

This was a petition presented by Mr. P. Phillips in behalf of Morris and Johnson for a writ of mandamus against Richard Busteed, judge of the District Court of the United States for the Middle District of Alabama.

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