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UNITED STATES V. BRIGGS, 46 U. S. 208 (1847)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Briggs, 46 U.S. 5 How. 208 208 (1847)

United States v. Briggs

46 U.S. (5 How.) 208


When a case is brought up to this Court on a certificate of division in opinion, the point upon which the difference occurs must be distinctly stated.

Where there was a demurrer upon three grounds to an indictment, it is not enough to certify that the court was divided in opinion whether or not the demurrer should be sustained.

The circumstances of the case are thus stated by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, as introductory to the opinion of the Court.

Page 46 U. S. 209

The defendant was indicted under the Act of Congress of March 2, 1831, ch. 66, 4 Stat. 472, for unlawfully cutting timber upon certain lands of the United States, called the Wyandotte Reserve. He demurred to the indictment upon the following grounds:

First. Because the offense stated and set forth in the indictment is not an offense under the statute of the United States, punishable criminally by indictment.

Second. Because, under the statutes of the United States, trespass on the public lands of the United States is, in no case, an offense punishable criminally by indictment; but is either a mere trespass, punishable by action of trespass at common law, or by action of debt in the statute.

Third. For that the said indictment is in other respects informal, insufficient, and defective.

The United States joined in demurrer; and the record states, that the demurrer coming on to be heard, and having been argued by counsel on either side, the opinions of the court were opposed as to the point whether said demurrer should be sustained, and thereupon it was ordered that the cause be certified to this Court on the indictment, demurrer, and joinder thereto.

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