Page images

The State ex rel. v. Co. Com'rs Sumter Co.-Syllabus.



1. The act of the Legislature, approved August 3, 1868, Chapter 1688, locating the county site of Sumter county at Leesburg, is a valid act. It is not inhibited by the 17th Section of Article IV of the Constitution, nor does the 18th Section of that Article prohibit the Legislature from determining whether a general law can be made applicable in the location of a county site. Such legislative determination is final, except in the cases specially enumerated in Section 17.

2. An order made in a suit in equity directing the removal of county offices and records to a place designated therein as the county site, is not a bar to a proceeding by mandamus to determine the legal location of such county site.

3. A return to an alternative writ of mandamus may be amended to supply material facts inadvertently omitted to he stated in the


4. The act, approved February 2, 1869, (Ch. 1700,) repealing the fourth. fifth, sixth and seventh sections of an act to provide for the publication of the laws and of official and legal advertisements, approved July 31, 1868, and reviving laws in force prior to the passage of the last named act, is constitutional.

5. At the time of ordering and holding an election in Sumter county in 1869 to choose a county site, there was no law in force requiring publication of notice of the election in a newspaper. Notice given by posting written notices of the time and purposes of the election in various public places in the county, so that the voters could have an opportunity to know thereof, is deemed sufficient public notice.

6. An order made at chambers, upon bill in equity, requiring the county officers to remove the records of the county from Sumterville to Leesburg, in Sumter county, mentioning Leesburg as the county site, no notice of application for such order or opportunity to be heard in the matter having been given to the parties affected, is not a final determination of rights, and does not adjudicate upon the proper location of the county site.

The State ex rel. v. Co. Com'rs Sumter Co.-Statement of Case.

7. The act of January 28, 1869, (Chap. 1695.) providing that the county site of a county may be located by a vote of a majority of legal voters voting upon the question, is a valid act, not in conflict with Section 16, Article XVI, of the Constitution. The latter provision applies to elections for choosing officers, and does not include "elections" held to ascertain the wishes of the people in locating county seats.

This is a proceeding by mandamus upon the relation of Thomas C. Lanier and others against the County Commissioners of Sumter county to compel them to replace and reEstablish the public records and public county offices of the county at the town of Leesburg as the county site of the county, from which they have been removed to Sumterville as the county site.

Lanier and others, the relators, allege that they are residents and citizens of the county of Sumter, in the State of Florida, and that said petitioners, John C. Love, L. B. Lee and F. C. Childs are residents of and own large and valuable lots of land immediately in the town of Leesburg in said Sumter county, and that all of said petitioners reside and are the owners of large and valuable tracts of land quite near and in the immediate vicinity of said town of Leesburg, upon which property in said county of Sumter said petitioners have heretofore paid, and are in future liable to pay large and valuable tax assessments for the general purposes of said county government, and that as such citizens, resident property owners and tax-payers of said Sumter county, they are deeply interested in the location of and in the authoritative establishment of the county site of said county; that the town of Leesburg has been for thirteen years past the legally established county site of said Sumter county, State of Florida, de jure et de facto during all that time, being generally, publicly and officially so recognized and acknowledged during all that time. being the place where have been held the various terms of

The State ex rel. v. Co. Com'rs Sumter Co.-Statement of Case.

the Circuit Courts holden in and for said Sumter county, and where all of the public offices with their appurtenant public records have been kept belonging to the public affairs of said county, and that said town of Leesburg is now the lawful county site of said Sumter county, Florida; that the Board of County Commissioners in recognition of the fact that the said town of Leesburg was the legally established and authoritatively recognized county site of said Sumter county ordered an election to be held in said courty of Sumter on the tenth day of October, A. D. 1881, for the purpose of having it decided by the voters of said county whether or not the said county site should be located at any other point in said county than at said town of Leesburg; that after said election had been held relators filed their bill in chancery in the Circuit Court of Sumter county against the said County Commissioners, in which was set forth and alleged at length divers and various informainties, irregularities and illegalities, not only in the orders providing for the holding of said election, but in the manner and form and conduct of said election itself, and said petitioners prayed amongst other things in their said bill in substance that said election might be decreed and adjudged to be null, illegal aad inoperative and void, and that the County Commissioners might be restrained and enjoined from removing the public records and public county offices from Leesburg as the county site, or from doing any other act in recognition of, or in pursuance of, or under color of authority derived from the result of said illegal election, and that said bill of complaint was exhibited and presented to the Judge presiding over said Circuit Court of Sumter county upon an application for the order of injunction therein prayed, and that the said Judge at Chambers rendered an order in said cause refusing to grant this injunction as prayed for in said bill of complaint of said petition

The State ex rel. v. Co. Com'rs Sumter Co.-Statement of Case.

ers herein as complainants therein. From the order thus refusing the injunction complainants entered their appeal to this the Supreme Court of the State of Florida, and that said cause was heard and determined by this the Supreme Court of Florida at the January Term, A. D. 1882, when a decision was rendered and pronounced therein by this honorable court whereby the said election in said Sumter county was finally held and adjudged in substance to be wholly illegal, inoperative and of no effect. That after said petitioners had entered and taken their appeal in said cause to this honorable court, and during the pendency of said appeal in said cause before this the Supreme Court of Florida, and before the rendition of said decision in said cause by this court, to-wit: on or about the 15th day of October, A. D. 1881, the said respondents herein, acting in their official capacity, ordered, had and procured all of the public records and all of the public county offices removed, and did have the same taken and removed from the said town. of Leesburg to the village or place called Sumterville, where the said Board of County Commissioners have kept the said public records and said public county offices ever since, and still have and keep the same, requiring and obliging all acts and proceedings necessary and proper to be done and instituted at the county site of any and all counties to be done and instituted at said village of Sumterville; that the said transfer and removal of public records, &c., was ordered and procured to be done by the said County Commissioners solely by reason of and under color of authority derived from the result of said illegal and void election held on the 10th day of October, A. D. 1881, and is a great public hardship and wrong to said petitioners and to all other citizens of said county.

There ws a return by respondents, and relators demurred thereto.

The State ex rel. v. Co. Com'rs Sumter Co.-Statement of Case.

Chapter 1668, "An act to locate the county site of Sumter county and for other purposes," approved August 3, 1868, provides that from and after its passage the county site "shall be permanently located at the town or village of Leesburg," and makes it the duty of the officers of the county, who are required by law to have their offices at the court-house, to remove all records and everything appertaining to their offices to said county site; and it requires that all courts required to be holden at the county site "shall be held at said town of Leesburg, the county site created by this act." The County Judge and County Commissioners, who are directed to lay out in town lots the tracts of land on which the county site is located by the first section of the act, to-wit: W 1⁄2 of NE 14, of Sec. 26, T. 19, R. S., 24 E, (and in the event they cannot procure it they are to select the next most eligible spot of ground near Leesburg,) are authorized to make arrangements for county offices, for holding courts and for erection of suitable public buildings, and to proceed to sell "the county property at Sumterville for the uses aforesaid."

Chapter 1695, Laws of Florida, approved January 28, 1869, provides that the registered voters of any county wishing to change the location of their county site shall present to the Board of County Commissioners a petition, signed by one-fourth of the registered voters, praying a change of location of such county site. The Commissioners, on receiving such petition, are to order an election at the several precincts for the location of such county site, giving at least thirty days' notice. Sections 3 and 4 direct how the election shall be conducted and returns made and canvassed, and declare that "the place receiving a majority of the number of registered votes shall be the county site of said county for ten years," and makes it the duty of the Commissioners to have certain public buildings erected and pro

« PreviousContinue »