Board of Commissioners v. Gorman/Opinion of the Court

United States Supreme Court

86 U.S. 661

Board of Commissioners  v.  Gorman

In order that a writ of error may operate as a supersedeas, it is necessary that a copy of the writ should be lodged for the adverse party in the clerk's office where the record remains, and that the bond approved by the judge allowing the writ should also be filed there. [1] Execution cannot issue upon the judgment until the expiration of ten days, exclusive of Sundays, from the entry thereof. If the writ of error and bond are filed before the expiration of the ten days, no execution can issue so long as the case in error remains undisposed of. After the expiration of the ten days an execution may issue. Notwithstanding this, under the provisions of the act of 1872, [2] upon the filing of the bond within sixty days from the time of the entry of the judgment a supersedeas may be obtained. Such a supersedeas, however, stays proceedings only from the filing of the bond. It prevents further proceeding under an execution which has been issued, but does not interfere with what has already been done.

In this case the record shows that the judgment was actually entered on the 20th day of January. The entry as made was read in court on the morning of the 21st and the record signed by the judges, but it was ordered to be made on the 20th. The ten days, exclusive of Sundays, prescribed by the act of Congress for delay of execution, expired on Saturday, the 31st of January. On Monday, the 2d of February, a majority of the judges of the court directed the clerk to issue a writ of restitution to carry the judgment into effect. On the same day the chief justice of the court allowed a writ of error and signed the necessary citation. A copy of the writ of error was filed in the clerk's office, and the writ and citation actually served upon the defendant in error before the clerk had completed the preparation of the writ of restitution. After he had completed its preparation he handed it to the attorney for the defendant in error, who had previously been served with the citation. No supersedeas bond was filed with the clerk on the 2d, and no notice was given that any had been approved. On the morning of the 3d of February the writ of restitution was served and Davis removed from his office. After this, and on the same day, a bond approved by the chief justice was left in the clerk's office by him. It nowhere appears from the record when this bond was approved. It bears date the 2d of February, but there is no certificate of the time when the approval was entered. It is certain, however, that it was not filed in the clerk's office until after service of the writ of restitution. The writ of error operated as a supersedeas only from such filing. That was too late to prevent the removal of Davis from his office in pursuance of the authority of the judgment; and we cannot now order him to be restored.

It is claimed, however, that as the record of the judgment was not signed by the judges of the court until the 21st, the ten days did not commence to run until that date, and we are referred to the case of Silsby v. Foote, [3] as establishing such a rule. In that case the decision was actually rendered on the 28th August, but the decree was special in its terms, and was not settled or signed by the judge until the 11th December. Before any entry could be made it was necessary that the judge should pass upon its form. It was, therefore, quite right to delay the appeal until the exact character of the decree could be known.

Here, however, the form of the judgment was settled upon the announcement of the decision, and it was entered accordingly.

But the writ of restitution was not served until after the expiration of ten days from the 21st, and it does not appear that it was actually delivered to the sheriff for service before that time. There is nothing to prevent the preparation by the clerk of an execution before the expiration of the ten days. It cannot be issued before, and it is not issued until it is placed beyond the control of the clerk himself. So long as it remains with him, or under his control, it is like any other paper in his office.

We think the motion must be DENIED, and in accordance with the request of the parties made at the argument,



  1. O'Dowd v. Russell, 14 Wallace, 405.
  2. 17 Stat. at Large, 198, § 11.
  3. 20 Howard, 290.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).