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No. 12.


ANNUAL REPORT of the Attorney General.


January 1st, 1850. To the Legislature of the State of Michigan:

The undersigned has the honor to submit to the legislature the following as his official report for the year which has just expired.

Since the date of my last report, the cases of the People vs. Richards and Pelton and the People vs. Gorman, referred to in that report, have both been decided by the Supreme Court and the proceedings of the courts below sustained.

In the first named case, after the decision of the Supreme Court, the Circuit Court for Hillsdale county proceeded to pass sentence upon the defendants.

The cause has again been removed to the Supreme Court on the ground of error in the sentence. It will probably be disposed of at the present term of that court.

Since my last report, informations in the nature of writs of quo warranto have been filed in four instances, to inquire by what right certain persons assume to claim and exercise certain offices in this State. The offices involved are those of Judges of Probate of the counties of Washtenaw and Genesee respectively; that of Sheriff of Cass county, and that of a township office in Hillsdale county. None of these cases have yet been disposed of.

In the case of the People vs. Hollywood, argued in the Supreme Court last winter, the judgment of the Circuit Court for Washtenaw county was reversed. This was a case in which the defendant was convicted of forgery.

The case of Henry B. Lathrop vs. the Agent of the State Prison, referred to in my last report, has been removed to the Supreme Court by writ of error, and will be argued at its present term in the city of Detroit.

The case of the People vs. Doc, where the defendant was convicted of murder before the County Court for St. Joseph county, and which was taken by the defendant to the Supreme Court by writ of error, was argued at the last October term of that Court, but judyment has not yet been pronounced.

A suit has been commenced by me against the Detroit and Pontiac Railroad Company, to test its liability to pay the specific state tax provided for by chapter twenty-one of the revised statutes of 1846. This Company insists that this law, if applied to them, would involve a change of their charter, and would therefore be unconstitutional. The case will be submitted to the Supreme Court, and I have no doubt will be decided at its present term.

It will be recollected that there were a large number of bonds and mortgages executed by various persons, in 1838, to Henry Howard, State Treasurer, to secure the payment of the principal and interest of the loan to the Ypsilanti and Tecumseh Railroad Company. Several years ago the Hon. Henry N. Walker, then Attorney General, caused a bill to be filed in the name of George Redfield, then State Treasurer, against Augustus Porter, for the foreclosure of one of those mortgages. To this bill the defendant interposed a demurrer, for want of sufficient parties, and for want of equity in the bill. Nothing further was done in the cause until at the last term of the old Court of Chancery, when I caused the matter to be brought on for argument before Judge Wing, sitting as Chancellor.

A very large amount of property is involved in these securities, and nearly half a dozen of the most eminent lawyers in the State have been retained by some of the various persons interested in resisting the enforcement of the Mortgages. Under these circunstances, I last winter suggested to Gov. Ransom the propriety of obtaining the aid of special counsel. With his approbation I retained the Hon. Daniel Goodwin, whose eminent standing and recognized acquirements as a lawyer will be the most ample guarranty to the people of the State that nothing will be wanting to the proper maintenance of their rights.


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