A-11732, JANUARY 12, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 471

A-11732: Jan 12, 1926

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UNITED STATES - FEES - DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OFFENSES AGAINST THE CODE OF LAWS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA REQUIRED TO BE PROSECUTED IN THE NAME OF THE UNITED STATES ARE OFFENSES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AND. IS CONCERNED. SO ALSO ARE OFFENSES REQUIRED TO BE PROSECUTED IN THE NAME OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS ENTITLED TO THE LAWFUL FEES WHEN OFFICIATING IN SUCH CASES. IN WHICH THE OFFENSES CHARGED ARE SHOWN TO BE VIOLATIONS OF CERTAIN SECTIONS OF THE CODE OF LAWS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. ON THE GROUND THAT ALL VIOLATIONS OF SECTIONS OF THE DISTRICT CODE ARE OFFENSES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. NOWHERE IN THE CODE ARE THE DUTIES OF UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS APPOINTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DEFINED.

A-11732, JANUARY 12, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 471

COMMISSIONERS, UNITED STATES - FEES - DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OFFENSES AGAINST THE CODE OF LAWS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA REQUIRED TO BE PROSECUTED IN THE NAME OF THE UNITED STATES ARE OFFENSES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AND, SO FAR AS EXTRADITION TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UNDER SECTION 1014, REVISED STATUTES, IS CONCERNED, SO ALSO ARE OFFENSES REQUIRED TO BE PROSECUTED IN THE NAME OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND THE UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS ENTITLED TO THE LAWFUL FEES WHEN OFFICIATING IN SUCH CASES.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JANUARY 12, 1926:

NEEDHAM C. TURNAGE, UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, REQUESTED, OCTOBER 14, 1925, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 090550 J OF AUGUST 13, 1925, DISALLOWING CERTAIN ITEMS CHARGED IN HIS ACCOUNT FOR FEES EARNED DURING THE JUNE QUARTER, 1925.

THE ITEMS IN QUESTION REPRESENT FEES CHARGED IN CASES NOS. 544, 617, 708, 735, 750, AND 777, IN WHICH THE OFFENSES CHARGED ARE SHOWN TO BE VIOLATIONS OF CERTAIN SECTIONS OF THE CODE OF LAWS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THE COMMISSIONER HAVING FAILED TO CITE HIS AUTHORITY FOR ASSUMING JURISDICTION OF CASES INVOLVING VIOLATIONS OF THE CODE PROVISIONS.

IN HIS REQUEST FOR REVIEW THE COMMISSIONER CLAIMS JURISDICTION UNDER SECTION 1014, REVISED STATUTES, ON THE GROUND THAT ALL VIOLATIONS OF SECTIONS OF THE DISTRICT CODE ARE OFFENSES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES.

SECTION 65 OF THE DISTRICT CODE AUTHORIZES THE SUPREME COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO APPOINT UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS, BUT NOWHERE IN THE CODE ARE THE DUTIES OF UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS APPOINTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DEFINED. IT MUST BE PRESUMED, THEREFORE, THAT THEY HAVE THE SAME JURISDICTION AND AUTHORITY AS UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS GENERALLY.

SECTION 1014, REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDES:

FOR ANY CRIME OR OFFENSE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, THE OFFENDER MAY, * * * BY ANY COMMISSIONER OF A CIRCUIT COURT TO TAKE BAIL, * * * BE ARRESTED AND IMPRISONED, OR BAILED, AS THE CASE MAY BE, FOR TRIAL BEFORE SUCH COURT OF THE UNITED STATES AS BY LAW HAS COGNIZANCE OF THE OFFENSE. * * * AND WHERE ANY OFFENDER OR WITNESS IS COMMITTED IN ANY DISTRICT OTHER THAN THAT WHERE THE OFFENSE IS TO BE TRIED, IT SHALL BE THE DUTY OF THE JUDGE OF THE DISTRICT WHERE SUCH OFFENDER OR WITNESS IS IMPRISONED, SEASONABLY TO ISSUE, AND OF THE MARSHAL TO EXECUTE, A WARRANT FOR HIS REMOVAL TO THE DISTRICT WHERE THE TRIAL IS TO BE HAD.

THE OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER OF A CIRCUIT COURT WAS ABOLISHED, THE OFFICE OF UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER CREATED IN PLACE THEREOF, AND THE POWERS AND DUTIES THERETOFORE VESTED IN CIRCUIT COURT COMMISSIONERS WERE VESTED IN UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS BY THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1896, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1901, 31 STAT., 956.

SEC. 932 OF THE DISTRICT CODE PROVIDES:

PROSECUTIONS FOR VIOLATIONS OF ALL POLICE OR MUNICIPAL ORDINANCES OR REGULATIONS AND FOR VIOLATIONS OF ALL PENAL STATUTES IN THE NATURE OF POLICE OR MUNICIPAL REGULATIONS, WHERE THE MAXIMUM PUNISHMENT IS A FINE ONLY, OR IMPRISONMENT NOT EXCEEDING ONE YEAR, SHALL BE CONDUCTED IN THE NAME OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND BY THE CITY SOLICITOR (SIC) OR HIS ASSISTANTS. ALL OTHER CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS SHALL BE CONDUCTED IN THE NAME OF THE UNITED STATES AND BY THE ATTORNEY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OR HIS ASSISTANTS.

THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO ROOM FOR DOUBT THAT OFFENSES WHICH ARE REQUIRED BY SECTION 932 OF THE DISTRICT CODE TO BE PROSECUTED IN THE NAME OF THE UNITED STATES ARE OFFENSES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. THE OFFENSES CHARGED IN CASES 617, 708, 735, 750, 777 ARE VIOLATIONS OF SECTIONS 851-B, 826, AND 811 OF THE DISTRICT CODE, IN ALL OF WHICH CASES THE PUNISHMENT MAY BE IMPRISONMENT EXCEEDING ONE YEAR AND ARE, THEREFORE,REQUIRED TO BE PROSECUTED IN THE NAME OF THE UNITED STATES AND ARE OFFENSES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 1014, REVISED STATUTES, SUPRA, WHICH MAY BE REGARDED AS DEFINING THE JURISDICTION OF UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS.

THE CRIME CHARGED IN CASE NO. 544 IS A VIOLATION OF SECTION 833-A OF THE CODE IN WHICH THE PUNISHMENT MAY NOT EXCEED A FINE OF $100, OR IMPRISONMENT FOR NOT EXCEEDING 90 DAYS. UNDER SECTION 932 OF THE CODE, SUPRA, THIS OFFENSE WOULD APPEAR TO BE REQUIRED TO BE PROSECUTED IN THE NAME OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WHICH RAISES SOME DOUBT WHETHER SUCH AN OFFENSE MAY BE CONSIDERED AN OFFENSE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. THE COMMISSIONER STATES THAT THE OFFENDER IN THIS CASE HAD FLED THE DISTRICT AND THAT IT WAS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO ISSUE A WARRANT TO EFFECT EXTRADITION, THE POLICE COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA NOT BEING A COURT OF RECORD. IT IS NOW WELL ESTABLISHED BY COURT DECISIONS THAT, AT LEAST SO FAR AS EXTRADITION TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UNDER SECTION 1014, REVISED STATUTES, IS CONCERNED, ANY VIOLATION OF A SECTION OF THE DISTRICT CODE IS AN OFFENSE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. BENSON V. HENKEL, 198 U.S. 1; UNITED STATES V. CAMPBELL, 179 FED.REP. 762; UNITED STATES V. MCCARTHY, 250 FED.REP. 800, AFFIRMED 256 FED.REP. 651.

IT NOW APPEARING THAT THE COMMISSIONER WAS ACTING WITHIN HIS LAWFUL JURISDICTION IN ISSUING PROCESS IN THE CASES IN QUESTION, HE IS ENTITLED TO THE PRESCRIBED FEES THEREFOR.