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SANTA FE COUNTY V. COLER, 215 U. S. 296 (1909)

U.S. Supreme Court

Santa Fe County v. Coler, 215 U.S. 296 (1909)

Santa Fe County v. Coler

No. 42, 43

Submitted November 29, 1909

Decided December 20, 1909

215 U.S. 296


Although a defense to the merits, if pleaded in the original action, might have prevented rendition of the judgment, it cannot be urged to prevent mandamus from issuing to enforce the judgment.

Under the laws of New Mexico, where there is no possible excuse for a board of county commissioners not to comply with a judgment, a peremptory writ of mandamus in the first instance is authorized.

Where the bill shows it is clearly the purpose of defendant officers not to perform a duty imposed upon them, demand is not necessary before suit for mandamus.

Page 215 U. S. 297

Where part of a county have been detached by statute which provides for the detached portion bearing their proportion of indebtedness, the counties to which those portions are attached are not necessary parties to a suit to recover obligation of the original county. After judgment, the original county which is primarily liable may enforce contribution through the proper officer for the proportionate share of the detached portions.

In this case, it was held that the facts justified the amount of the tax levy required by the writ of mandamus as modified by the Supreme Court of the Territory.

Practice of the courts in a territory is based upon local statutes and procedures, and this Court is not disposed to renew the decisions of the supreme court of the territory in such cases, and, following the Supreme Court of the Territory of New Mexico, this Court holds that the power of that court to affirm or reverse and remand includes the power to modify, and extends to proceeding in mandamus.

14 N.M. 134 affirmed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 215 U. S. 299

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