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Murray’s Lessee v. Hoboken Land & Improvement Co.

United States Supreme Court
59 U.S. (18 How.) 272 (1856)


After conducting an audit, the United States Department of the Treasury found that Samuel Swartwout (plaintiff), the New York customs collector, had embezzled over $1,000,000 from the federal government (defendant). Instead of bringing a civil action against Swartwout, the United States issued a warrant in distress. The United States undertook a summary procedure to recapture the money without notice, an opportunity to be heard, or a trial. Congress had authorized this summary procedure specifically for the government to recover money that it was owed. Swartwout brought suit, arguing that the procedure did not afford him due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Curtis, J.)

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