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People ex rel. Hegeman v. Corrigan

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division

December 11, 1908

PEOPLE ex rel. HEGEMAN
v.
CORRIGAN, City Magistrate, et al.

[113 N.Y.S. 505] Morgan J. O'Brien, for appellant.

Robert C. Taylor, for respondents.

Argued before PATTERSON, P. J., and INGRAHAM, McLAUGHLIN, CLARKE, and HOUGHTON, JJ.

INGRAHAM, J.

On the 20th day of February, 1908, the district attorney of the county of New York submitted to a city magistrate depositions charging the relator with the crime of perjury. Upon these depositions the magistrate issued a warrant for the arrest of the relator on that charge, and delivered the same to the defendant Beery, a police officer, who thereupon arrested the relator; whereupon the relator sued out a writ of habeas corpus requiring the defendant Beery to produce the person of the relator before a Special Term of the Supreme Court. At the same time there was issued a writ of certiorari commanding the city magistrate to return to the Supreme Court the date and cause of the imprisonment of the relator, and in the return to this writ of certiorari the magistrate returned the depositions upon which he had issued the warrant. In the hearing before the Supreme [113 N.Y.S. 506] Court the relator claimed that these depositions failed to show that any crime had been committed, and that the city magistrate was not, therefore, authorized to issue the warrant, and the officer had no authority to hold the relator under it. The Special Term overruled this contention, and remanded the prisoner to custody, and from the order entered thereon the relator appeals.

Section 148 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that when an information is laid before a magistrate of the commission of a crime he must examine the informant or prosecutor and any witnesses he may produce, take their depositions in writing, and cause them to be subscribed by the parties making them. Section 149 provides that the deposition must set forth the facts stated by the prosecutor and his witnesses tending to establish the commission of the crime and the guilt of the defendant. Section 150 provides that if the magistrate be satisfied therefrom that the crime complained of has been committed, and that there is reasonable ground to believe that the defendant has committed it, he may issue a warrant of arrest. To justify the magistrate in issuing the warrant, therefore, it must appear from the depositions of the prosecutor and his witnesses taken before him that a crime had been committed, and that there is reasonable ground to believe that the defendant has committed it. Section 2015 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that:

" A person imprisoned or restrained in his liberty, within the state, for any cause or upon any pretence, is entitled * * * to a writ of habeas corpus, or a writ of certiorari, as prescribed in this article, for the purpose of inquiring into the cause of the imprisonment or restraint, and, in a case prescribed by law, of delivering him therefrom."

Section 2031 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that:

" The court or judge before which or whom a prisoner is brought by virtue of a writ of habeas corpus, issued as prescribed in this article, must, immediately after the return of the writ, examine into the facts alleged in the return, and into the cause of the imprisonment or restraint of the prisoner; and must make a final order to discharge him therefrom, if no lawful cause for the imprisonment or restraint or for the continuance thereof is shown; whether the same was upon a commitment for an actual or supposed criminal matter or for some other cause."

If, therefore, it appeared that the depositions upon which the magistrate issued the warrant did not tend to establish the commission of a crime, it was the duty of the court before whom the person was brought to sustain the writ and discharge the prisoner; and, necessarily, the fundamental question presented on this appeal is whether, upon the depositions presented to the magistrate, there was proof that a crime had been committed.

The crime charged against the relator was that of perjury in the verification of a report made by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company to the Superintendent of Insurance in the state of New York in January, 1905. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company was originally incorporated on January 2, 1866, under the name of the National Travellers' Insurance Company, with a capital of $200,000. Its charter was amended by chapter 286, p. 539, of the Laws of 1867; chapter 49, p. 58, of the Laws of 1868, when the name of the corporation [113 N.Y.S. 507] was changed to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company; chapter 87, p. 102, of the Laws of 1874; chapter 437, p. 617, of the Laws of 1883; and chapter 492, page 1022, of the Laws of 1892. On the 28th of January, 1905, there was filed in the office of the insurance department of the state of New York the annual statement of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for the year ending December 31, 1904, in pursuance of the provisions of the insurance law of this state, and was made upon blanks furnished by the insurance department to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. It contains a statement of the capital stock of the company, its income and disbursements for the year, with a detailed statement of the assets of the company. The statement of the assets consists of what are called " Ledger Assets" and " Non-Ledger Assets." In the schedule of ledger assets there was inserted, in the blanks furnished by the insurance department: " 3. Loans secured by pledge of bonds, stocks or other collateral, per Schedule C" ; the company to insert in this blank the amount of such loans; and there is inserted opposite this item the figure " 0." In the non-ledger assets there is inserted an item: " 13. Interest due, $__- and accrued, $__- on Collateral Loans." After the dollar marks there is inserted the figure " 0," and carried out at the end also a figure " 0." There is here clearly indicated that the company carried no loans secured by a pledge of bonds, stocks, or other collateral, and that there was no interest due on collateral loans. Annexed to this report there was an affidavit of the president and secretary of the company, as follows:

" State of New York, County of New York--ss.: John R. Hegeman, President, and James S. Roberts, Secretary, of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, being duly sworn, each for himself deposes and says that they are the above described officers of said company, and that on the thirty-first day of December last all the above described assets were the absolute property of the said company, free and clear from any liens or claims thereon except as above stated; and that the foregoing statement, with the schedules and explanations herein contained, annexed or referred to, are a full and correct exhibit of all the assets, liabilities, income and disbursements and of the condition and affairs of the said company on the said thirty-first day of December last, and for the year ending on that day, as the same were in fact and as the same are shown by the books of the company, and that the foregoing declarations and answers are true, according to the best of their information, knowledge and belief, respectively."

This was signed by the relator and the secretary of the company and sworn to before a notary public.

The crime charged in the deposition taken before the magistrate was that the relator had committed the crime of perjury, under the following circumstances: That the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company was, subject to the provisions of the insurance law, required annually on the 1st day of January, or within two months thereafter, to file in the office of the Superintendent of Insurance a statement, verified by the oath of at least two of the principal officers of the said corporation, showing its condition on the 31st of December then next preceding; that such statement should be in such form and should contain such matters as the superintendent should prescribe; that on the 26th day of January, 1905, the relator personally appeared before a notary public, [113 N.Y.S. 508] produced before him a certain statement in writing purporting to be the annual statement of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company so required by law to be made, and which such statement purported to be a true statement of the condition of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company on the 31st of December, 1904; that the said statement contained the following item: " 3. Loans secured by pledge of bonds, stocks or other collateral, per Schedule C,--0" ; by which said item in said statement it was then and there made to appear, and the said item purported to indicate and set forth, and did in substance and effect then and there signify and declare, that on the 31st of December, 1904, there was owed to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company no money whatever because of any loans theretofore made by the said Metropolitan Life Insurance Company upon the pledge with it of any bonds, stocks, or other collateral--

" whereas, in truth and in fact, the statements contained in the said annual statement, and more particularly in the said schedule headed ‘ IV.--Ledger Assets,’ were not true, as the said John R. Hegeman then and there well knew, in that on the said 31st day of December, 1904, there was owing to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company the sum of $1,492,875 because of loans theretofore made by the said Metropolitan Life Insurance Company to various persons, firms and individuals, upon the pledge by said persons, firms and individuals with the said Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of certain bonds, stocks and ...


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