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VOIGT v. DETROIT CITY

February 24, 1902

VOIGT
v.
DETROIT CITY



ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN

Fuller, Gray, Brewer, Brown, Shiras, Jr., White, Peckham, McKenna; Mr. Justice Harlan did not hear the argument and took no part in the decision.

Author: Mckenna

[ 184 U.S. Page 118]

 MR. JUSTICE McKENNA, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

The proceedings in this case were had under the provisions of an act of the State of Michigan entitled "An act to authorize cities and villages to take private property for the use and benefit of the public, and to repeal act No. 26, Public Acts of 1882." This act is reproduced in the Compiled Laws of Michigan of 1897 as sections 3392 to 3415.

The particular provisions attacked are contained in section 3406 (section 15 of the original act), and are as follows:

"When the verdict of the jury shall have been finally confirmed by the court, and the time in which to take an appeal is expired, or, if an appeal is taken, on the filing in the court below

[ 184 U.S. Page 119]

     of a certified copy of the order of the Supreme Court affirming the judgment of confirmation, it shall be the duty of the clerk of the court to transmit to the common council, board of trustees, or board of supervisors, a certified copy of the verdict of the jury, and of the judgment of confirmation, and of the judgment, if any, of affirmance, and thereupon the proper and necessary proceedings, in due course, shall be taken for the collection of the sum or sums awarded by the jury. If the common council, or board of trustees, or board of supervisors believe that a portion of the city, village or county in the vicinity of the proposed improvement will be benefited by such improvement, they may, by an entry in their minutes, determine that the whole or any just proportion of the compensation awarded by the jury shall be assessed upon the owners or occupants of real estate deemed to be thus benefited; and thereupon they shall, by resolution, fix and determine the district or portion of the city (or) village or county benefited, and specify the amount to be assessed upon the owners or occupants of the taxable real estate therein. The amount of the benefit thus ascertained shall be assessed upon the owners or occupants of such taxable real estate, in proportion, as nearly as may be, to the advantage which such lot, parcel or subdivision is deemed to acquire by the improvement. The assessment shall be made and the amount levied and collected in the same manner and by the same officers and proceeding, as near as may be, as is provided in the charter of the municipality for assessing, levying and collecting the expense of a public improvement when a street is graded. The assessment roll containing said assessments, when ratified and confirmed by the common council, board of trustees, or board of supervisors, shall be final and conclusive, and prima facie evidence of the regularity and legality of all proceedings prior thereto, and the assessment therein contained shall be and continue a lien on the premises on which the same is made until payment thereof. Whatever amount or portion of such awarded compensation shall not be raised in the manner herein provided shall be assessed, levied and collected upon the taxable real estate of the municipality, the same as other general taxes are assessed and collected in such city, village

[ 184 U.S. Page 120]

     or county. At any sale which takes place of the assessed premises, or any portion thereof, delinquent for non-payment of the amount assessed and levied thereon, the city (or) village or county may become a purchaser at the sale."

Plaintiff in error makes two objections to the law:

"First. That it does not afford to the property owner notice and opportunity of hearing upon the questions of what lands, if any, are specially benefited by the improvement, and therefore to be included in the assessment district, and what is the amount of the special benefit, and therefore the maximum amount to be paid by the district.

"Second. That it does not require the amount imposed upon the district to be limited to the ...


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