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WINDSOR V. MCVEIGH, 93 U. S. 274 (1876)

U.S. Supreme Court

Windsor v. McVeigh, 93 U.S. 274 (1876)

Windsor v. McVeigh

93 U.S. 274


1. A sentence of a court, pronounced against a party without hearing him or giving him an opportunity to be heard, is not a judicial determination of his rights and is not entitled to respect in any other tribunal.

2. The jurisdiction acquired by the seizure of property in a proceeding in rem for its condemnation for alleged forfeiture is not to pass upon the question of forfeiture absolutely, but to pass upon that question after opportunity has been afforded to its owner and parties interested to appear and be heard upon the charges for which the forfeiture is claimed. To that end, some notification of the proceedings, beyond that arising from the seizure, prescribing the time within which the appearance must be made is essential.

3. In proceedings before the district court in a confiscation case, monition and notice were issued and published, but the appearance of the owner, for which they called, when made, was stricken out, his right to appear being denied by the court. Held that the subsequent sentence of confiscation of his property was as inoperative upon his rights as though no monition or notice had ever been issued. The legal effect of striking out his appearance was to recall the monition and notice as to him.

4. The doctrine that where a court has once acquired jurisdiction it has a right to decide every question which arises in the cause, and its judgment, however erroneous, cannot be collaterally assailed, is only correct when the court proceeds, after acquiring jurisdiction of the cause, according to the established modes governing the class to which the case belongs, and does not transcend, in the extent or character of its judgment, the law which is applicable to it.

Ejectment for a tract of land situate in the City of Alexandria, Va. Finding and judgment for the plaintiff. The defendant sued out this writ of error. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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