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John M. Binckley to F. J. Herron, 27 August 1867

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August 27, 1867. F. J. Herron, Esq. Marshal of the U. S. for Dist. of Louisiana, New Orleans, La. Sir: With your communication of the 19th inst. just received, came copies of the record in the case of George W. Griffin, et al. Vs. Mark Hoyt, J. H. McKee & others, in Chancery, in the Circuit Court of the United States, and a copy of an order dated on the 8th inst. purporting to have been issued by authority of Major-General Sheridan, commanding in the Fifth Reconstruction District, in which, among other things, it is set forth that in a certain matter, which is the subject thereof, the Circuit Court of the United States had decided that it had no jurisdiction, and that, in consideration of that fact, and of other circumstances, the Sheriff of the parish of St. Charles is commanded, upon certain terms and conditions, to put certain parties into possession of an estate named therein. You state, in substance, that the estate referred to is the same which is the subject of the litigation aforesaid, and that at the time when the said order was executed, it was lawfully in your custody, under authority of the Court, and that the order is mistaken in supposing that the jurisdiction of the Court had been completely disclaimed. I have to instruct you, in reply, that this office will not presume to inquire into the jurisdiction of a Court of the United States, and that case will not therefore be considered with respect to jurisdiction, in which the Court alone has the power to decide. But the laws of the United States for the enforcement of process of the Courts of the Union, it is the duty of the Law Department to put in motion, according to their several provisions. If, therefore, any civil process in your hands, by authority of the Court, has been obstructed, or if you have been dispossessed of property which was in your possession by authority of the Court, it is your duty to report the circumstances to the District Attorney, with the names of all parties whomsoever who are implicated, to the end that they may be prosecuted according to law, and without respect to persons. Respectfully, your obed't serv't, John M. Binckley, act'g. Atty. Gen'l.
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