On August 22, 1888, the United States commenced this action in the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to recover of Joseph Lees and John S. Lees, the present plaintiffs in error, the sum of one
The first alleged error is that the District Court had no jurisdiction over the action. The third section of the act provides that, for every violation, the offender "shall forfeit and pay for every such offence the sum of one thousand dollars, which may be sued for and recovered by the United States, or by any person who shall first bring his action therefor, including any such alien or foreigner, who may be a party to any such contract or agreement, as debts of like amount are now recovered in the Circuit Courts of the United States." It is insisted that the last clause of this sentence vests the sole jurisdiction over such actions in the Circuit Court. But for those words there would be no question of the jurisdiction of the District Court.
From the earliest history of the government the jurisdiction over actions to recover penalties and forfeitures has been placed in the District Court. The ninth section of the Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789, 1 Stat. 73, 76, c. 20, provided as follows: "The District Court shall have exclusive original cognizance ... of all suits for penalties and forfeitures incurred under the laws of the United States." While in the Revised Statutes the word "exclusive" was omitted, the language was not otherwise substantially changed. It is true that in some cases jurisdiction over matters of penalty and forfeiture has been committed to the Circuit Court, but this was always done by special act, and does not otherwise affect the proposition that the general jurisdiction over actions for penalties and forfeitures has been and is vested in the District
A second alleged error is that the act, so far as it imposes this penalty, is unconstitutional. This question was elaborately considered by Mr. Justice Brown, then a Judge of the District Court, in United States v. Craig, 28 Fed. Rep. 795, and the conclusion reached that there was nothing in the act conflicting with the Constitution. In Church of the Holy Trinity v.
A third allegation of error is that the court compelled one of the defendants to become a witness for the government, and furnish evidence against himself. The bill of exceptions reads as follows:
"John S. Lees sworn.
"Mr. Fenton: John S. Lees, the witness called, is one of the defendants. This is a proceeding in the nature of a criminal proceeding. I object to his being examined on behalf of the plaintiff, because he is protected by statute.
"(Objection overruled. Exception for defendant.)"
This, though an action civil in form, is unquestionably criminal in its nature, and in such a case a defendant cannot be compelled to be a witness against himself. It is unnecessary to do more than to refer to the case of Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616. The question was fully and elaborately considered by Mr. Justice Bradley in the opinion delivered in that
Not questioning that such is the scope and effect of the decision in Boyd v. United States, counsel for the government insists that the objection is not properly preserved in the record, and, therefore, not open for our consideration. A single bill of exceptions was prepared to bring on to the record all the proceedings of the trial. It gives all the testimony, the various objections and rulings during its admission, the instructions asked, the charge of the court, and the exceptions thereto, and closes with these words:
"And thereupon the counsel for the said defendants did then and there except to the aforesaid charge and opinion of the said court, and inasmuch as the said charge and opinion, so excepted to, do not appear upon the record:
"The said counsel for the said defendants did then and there tender this bill of exceptions to the opinion of the said court, and requested the seal of the judge aforesaid should be put to the same, according to the form of the statute in such case made and provided. And thereupon the aforesaid judge, at the request of the said counsel for the defendants, did put his seal to this bill of exceptions, pursuant to the aforesaid statute in such case made and provided, this 14th day of May, 1889.
The objection is that it nowhere appears, by any direct certificate of the judge, by whom John S. Lees was called to testify, or on whose behalf, or that any objection was made and overruled, or any exception taken. Counsel says in his brief: "It is plainly evident that the bill of exceptions was designed, as it states, to introduce into this record only the charge and opinion of the court, and did not relate to any of the innumerable other matters, as to which it appears that the right to except was reserved at the time of their occurrence, and memoranda entries made at the time for future bills of exception,
There is some plausibility in this contention, inasmuch as the two sentences prior to the last, quoted above from the bill of exceptions, suggest, at least, that the purpose of counsel for defendants was simply to preserve exceptions to the charge, and that the authentication of the judge was requested for that alone. But whatever of force there is in this implication is overborne by the statement in the last sentence of what the judge did. By his signature and seal he authenticated the bill of exceptions, as prepared and presented to him. And all the facts and matters stated in that bill are by such authentication brought into the record for all purposes for which they may legitimately be used.
The bill is a single bill of exceptions, commencing with the opening of the trial and ending with the charge of the court, and as such it is authenticated. And that, by this bill errors other than those in the charge were sought to be preserved, is made clear by the fact that, in the assignments of error filed with the bill, there are separate allegations of error in respect to the rulings of the court in the admission of testimony. It is well settled that, instead of preparing separate bills for each separate matter, all the alleged errors of a trial may be incorporated into one bill of exceptions. Pomeroy's Lessee v. Bank of Indiana, 1 Wall. 592, 600, 601, in which it was said: "Many exceptions may be inserted in one bill of exceptions, and, of course, it is sufficient if the bill of exceptions is sealed at the close. Accordingly, the practice, in the first and second circuits, is to put every exception taken at the trial into one bill of exceptions, which makes the records less voluminous." See also Chateaugay Iron Co., Petitioner, 128 U.S. 544. It does not, however, follow that, because all rulings excepted to at the trial may be incorporated into one bill of exceptions, all the proceedings at the trial ought to be stated at length. On the contrary, we frequently find all the testimony set out in
The judgment is reversed, and the case remanded for a new trial.
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN did not hear the argument, nor take part in the decision of this case.