MATHEWS, Circuit Judge.
Prior to June 10, 1950, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, Seth J. A. Weldon, hereafter called Seth, was adjudged a bankrupt. On July 13, 1950, before a United States commissioner for the Southern District of California, a complaint was made upon oath by Wilbur L. Martindale, a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stating that "on or about June 10, 1950, at San Diego in the Southern District of California, [Seth] did knowingly and fraudulently conceal from the creditors of [his bankrupt estate] property belonging to said bankrupt estate" — a violation of 18 U.S.C.A. § 152.
The arrest was made at an apartment occupied by Seth and his wife, Dorothy Weldon, hereafter called Dorothy, as their home. At the time of making the arrest,
On October 17, 1950, Seth petitioned the District Court to direct that a part of the seized property ($28.51 and the index card) be returned to him, that the remainder of the seized property ($900, the cigarette case and the two bills of sale) be returned to Dorothy, and that all the seized property be suppressed as evidence. On November 15, 1950, Dorothy petitioned the District Court to direct that a part of the seized property ($900, the cigarette case and the bill of sale showing the sale of an automobile) be returned to her. The petitions
The petitions were captioned "United States of America, plaintiff, vs. Seth J. A. Weldon, defendant," as if they were merely incidental to a pending criminal action against Seth in the District Court. If Seth had been indicted or informed against, and if the resulting criminal action had been pending when the petitions were filed, Seth's petition would have been merely incidental to the criminal action,
Actually, as stated above, Seth was not indicted or informed against. Hence no criminal action was pending against him when the petitions were filed. Hence both petitions were independent proceedings.
On December 8, 1950, there was filed with the clerk of the District Court an unsigned typewritten paper, labeled "Minute order," which purported to deny the petitions. On December 18, 1950, Seth and Dorothy took this appeal by filing with the clerk of the District Court a notice of appeal which stated, in substance, that they appealed from an order of the District Court made on December 8, 1950, denying the petitions. There was no order, other than the so-called minute order, denying or purporting to deny the petitions. It is clear, therefore, that this appeal is from the so-called minute order.
As indicated above, the petitions were not merely incidental to a pending criminal action, but were independent proceedings. Hence, if an order of the District Court granting or denying the petitions had been entered, it would have been a final decision, within the meaning of 28 U.S.C.A. § 1291, and would have been appealable.
However, this appeal is not from such an order, but is from the so-called minute
"Shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."