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Opinion of the Court.

In the course of the trial, the plaintiffs proposed to show by Mr. M'Creery that, at the time he acted as merchant appraiser in the present case, he acted as such at the same time in other cases. This testimony being objected to by the defendant as irrelevant, it was excluded, and the plaintiffs excepted. The court, however, admitted in evidence the fact that some other appraisals were going on at the same time with the one in the present case, although it excluded, under the exception of the plaintiffs, testimony as to how many of them there were.

The plaintiffs also, for the purpose of raising the point that the merchant appraiser should have been selected by virtue of the classification of employés in the classified customs service, as certified to by the Secretary of the Treasury under section 882 of the Revised Statutes, being the classification provided for by section 6 of the act of January 16, 1883, c. 27, (22 Stat. 405,) offered such classification in evidence, but it was excluded by the court under the objection of the defendant, as incompetent, immaterial and irrelevant, and the plaintiffs excepted.

They also offered to show that the merchant appraiser was not appointed under the civil service rules under the said act of 1883, but the court excluded the evidence and the plaintiffs excepted.

They also offered in evidence sundry depositions of witnesses taken before the reappraisers in this case, in regard to market value; but they were excluded by the court on the objection of the defendant, and the plaintiffs excepted.

They also offered to show by a witness the true and actual market value and wholesale price of the goods in question, and of goods identical with them, in the principal markets of the country from which they were exported, at the time of their exportation, in March, 1886; but, on the objection of the defendant that the testimony was immaterial, incompetent and irrelevant, it was excluded, and the plaintiffs excepted.

The court directed a verdict for the plaintiffs for the $10 merchant appraiser's fees. The defendant asked for a direction for a verdict for him except as “o such $10. The plaintiffs requested the court to submit to the jury, for their finding,

Opinion of the Court.

the question whether or not there was any lawful appraisement or réappraisement in the case. The court refused so to do, but directed a verdict for the defendant except as to the $10, to which action of the court the plaintiffs excepted.

The plaintiffs then asked the court to direct a verdict for the plaintiffs for the sum claimed beyond the $10, on the ground that the statute under which the merchant appraiser was appointed was unconstitutional and void, under that provision of article 2, section 2, of the Constitution of the United States, which reads as follows: "The Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments,” claiming that the merchant appraiser was an inferior officer, within the meaning of that provision, and was not appointed in accordance therewith. The court denied the motion, and the plaintiffs excepted.

They then requested the court to submit all of the testimony to the jury, with proper instructions as to what constituted an appraisement or a reappraisement, which request was refused, and the plaintiffs excepted.

They also requested the court to submit all of the evidence to the jury touching the value upon which the duty was assessed, and the value declared on entry, on the ground that section 2930 of the Revised Statutes was unconstitutional; that the plaintiffs had the right to have submitted to the jury, under proper instructions, on the evidence, all questions touching the imposition of duty ; and that, by withholding the evidence from the jury, by virtue of an unconstitutional statute which declared the conclusions of the reappraisers to be final, the plaintiffs were deprived of their constitutional right to a trial by jury, in a case where, by the common law, it obtained, under article 7 of the Amendments of the Constitution. This request was denied and the plaintiffs excepted.

It is provided, by section 2902 of the Revised Statutes, that it shall be the duty of the appraisers of the United States “and erery person who shall act as such appraiser,” “ by all reasonable ways and means in his or their power, to ascertain, estimate, and appraise the true and actual market value and

Opinion of the Court.

wholesale price” of the merchandise under appraisal, “at the time of exportation, and in the principal markets of the country whence the same has been imported into the United States; ” and by section 2930 it is made the duty of the general appraiser and the merchant appraiser to examine and appraise the goods “ agreeably to the foregoing provisions."

While the general appraiser, Mr. Brower, who acted with the merchant appraiser in the present case, was under examination as a witness on the trial, he was asked whether he proceeded on the appraisement in accordance with the instructions of the Secretary of the Treasury of June 9, 1885, and prior thereto, in respect to the method of procedure. This question was objected to by the defendant as incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial, the court sustained the objection, and the plaintiffs excepted. The exclusion of this evidence is assigned for error. The question was too general, and was incompetent in that respect, because it called upon the witness to institute a comparison between the method pursued and the entire instructions of the Secretary of the Treasury, whereas the proper course was for the witness to give the particulars of the method pursued, leaving it to the court and the jury to make the comparison with the instructions which were in evidence. But, inasmuch as the court directed a verdict for the defendant, the plaintiffs properly raise the question as to whether what was done by the appraisers, as shown by the evidence, shows that the reappraisers proceeded " by all reasonable ways and means to ascertain the value of the goods. In other words, the instructions of the Treasury Department being in evidence, and it being presumed that they were followed, the question is raised, whether those instructions give the importer all the rights to which he is entitled, and whether they are, or are not, repugnant to the provision of the statute which requires the use of “ all reasonable ways and means," and whether the proper rights of the importers were accorded to them in this case. The views of the Circuit Court in regard to this case, as stated at the trial, are set forth in the report of it in 30 Fed. Rep. 360, and are contained also in the record. Mr. Robinson, the agent of the

VOL. CXXXVII—21

Opinion of the Court.

plaintiffs, employed to attend to their custom-house business, and who acted in the present case, gave his testimony as to what took place in regard to the reappraisement, so far as he was cognizant of it. The court commented on his testimony and that of other witnesses, and said: “I do not gather from the testimony, as given here, that the plaintiffs or their agent understood that they were in any way excluded from their goods, which were in the adjoining room. I understand him to say that when his appraisal was going on he was at perfect liberty to be in the room where the goods were, and point them out to the appraisers, but not to the witnesses. I understand him that there was a notice on the door that led into that room that nobody would be allowed in there when the witnesses were examining the goods. When this case was up and the merchant appraiser and the general appraiser were there, if he had wanted to, he could have gone into the room and pointed out any of the goods he had a mind to. He was asked to make his statement and understood that he had the right. He didn't question but that the samples they had were the right ones. He stayed there as long as he wanted to, to do anything about pointing out his goods. I think the importer was entitled to that — to be there when the appraisal was made; to point out his goods; to know they were his goods; to illustrate them and exhibit them in any manner he saw fit; and to present to the appraisers any views he had. I think he had that right; but I am not able to say from this evidence that there was anything tending to show that he was denied that right There is one other point upon which I am not clear; that is, when this board takes testimony, (and, whether they will take it at all or not, they are to decide themselves,) whether they are bound to let the importer know that they are taking it; or, if they do let the importer know they have taken it, whether they are bound to let him know what it is, so he may answer it. But my impression is that that is discretionary with the board; that they may make inquiry by what they deem to be proper ways and means; and that the importer must rely on their fairness and judgment as to what testimony they do take and the weight they give to it; that

Opinion of the Court.

the fact that the importer was not informed who the witnesses were, and what they testified to, and given an opportunity to cross-examine them, and an opportunity to meet it, does not constitute a valid objection against the reappraise ment."

The contention of the plaintiffs is that, under the instructions of the Treasury Department and the evidence, the question in issue as to the dutiable value of the merchandise could not be reasonably heard at all, on the reappraisement, because (1) the importer or his agent was practically excluded from the reappraisement; (2) was not afforded opportunity to support his oath on entry, or within proper limits to confront the opposing witnesses by testimony in his own behalf; (3) or to sift evidence secretly or openly heard in opposition to him ; (4) or to have the aid of counsel, if he desired; and particularly, that the rule of “reasonable ways and means” could not exist in a tribunal which proceeded to examine an issuable matter under a rule which excluded lawyers.

We are of opinion that, under the statute, the question of the dutiable value of the merchandise is not to be tried before the appraisers as if it were an issue in a suit in a judicial tribunal. Such is not the intention of the statute, and the practice has been to the contrary from the earliest history of the government. No government could collect its revenues or perform its necessary functions, if the system contended for by the plaintiffs were to prevail. The regulations prescribed in the instructions from the Treasury Department are reasonable and proper. By section 2949 of the Revised Statutes, the Secretary of the Treasury has power to establish “ rules and regulations, not inconsistent with the laws of the United States, to secure a just, faithful, and impartial appraisement of all merchandise imported into the United States;” and by section 2652 it is made “the duty of all officers of the customs to execute and carry into effect all instructions of the Secretary of the Treasury relative to the execution of the revenue laws; and in case any difficulty shall arise as to the true construction or meaning of any part of the revenue laws, the decision of the Secretary of the Treasury” is made conclusive and binding

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