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LUHRS v. HANCOCK.

decided: May 13, 1901.

LUHRS
v.
HANCOCK.



APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF THE TERRITORY OF ARIZONA.

Author: Mckenna

[ 181 U.S. Page 568]

 MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.

This is an appeal from the judgment of the Supreme Court of Arizona, affirming the judgment of the district court of the third judicial district of the Territory, rendered in an action of ejectment originally brought against Hancock and his wife, and to which action Pemberton was afterwards made a party.

The facts as found by the Supreme Court are as follows:

"This was an action by the appellant to recover possession of five certain lots in the city of Phoenix, and for the value of the rents and profits thereof. The complaint is in the usual form in ejectment cases. The defendants William A. Hancock and Lilly B. Hancock, husband and wife, answered, pleading 'not guilty,' and setting up the statute of limitations in bar of the plaintiff's right to recover. Similar defences were imposed by the defendant Thomas W. Pemberton, who, by way of cross-complaint, also pleaded his ownership and possession of said premises, and asked for affirmative relief as against the adverse claims of the plaintiff. Upon the trial in the court below the plaintiff was adjudged to have no right, title or interest in said property, and the defendant Pemberton was adjudged to be the owner and entitled to the possession thereof. From this judgment of the district court the plaintiff prosecutes an appeal.

"The record shows the material facts in the case to be substantially as follows: On February 27, 1886, the legal title to the premises in controversy was vested in William A. Hancock, the common source from which both the plaintiff and the defendant Pemberton deraign title. The said premises were enclosed as one tract, with a dwelling house situated upon lots 14 and 15, and had been occupied by the defendants William A. Hancock and Lilly B. Hancock as a homestead ever since 1873. On the said 27th day of February, 1886, and while the said premises were so occupied and claimed as a homestead, the said William A. Hancock, for the consideration of love and affection,

[ 181 U.S. Page 569]

     deeded the same by a direct conveyance to his said wife, Lilly B. Hancock. The value of the said property so conveyed did not at that time exceed the sum of $4000. On March 5, 1892, certain creditors (Herrick & Luhrs) obtained a judgment in the district court of Maricopa County against the said William A. Hancock for the sum of $2524.02 upon an indebtedness contracted by him November 1, 1883. An execution was issued upon said judgment April 5, 1892, and the same was levied upon the premises here in controversy as the property of William A. Hancock. No proceeding was had to set aside the anterior conveyance to his wife, but the said real estate was formally sold under said execution to the plaintiff George H.N. Luhrs, to whom a sheriff's deed was made on February 4, 1893, conveying the title which is the basis of his ejectment suit. On March 21, 1892, the said Lilly B. Hancock and William A. Hancock had borrowed from one Robert Allstatter the sum of $2600, and on the same day, to secure the payment thereof, had executed to the said Allstatter a mortgage upon all of the aforesaid premises. This mortgage, presumably executed in good faith, was subsequently foreclosed, and the defendant Thomas W. Pemberton became the purchaser at the foreclosure sale. He received the sheriff's deed for the said premises on February 14, 1895, took possession thereof from the Hancocks, and has since paid the taxes and made valuable improvements upon the property. The plaintiff Luhrs was never in the possession of the premises."

The Supreme Court also certified that the exceptions on the trial to the rulings of the court were (1) to the admission of the deed dated February 27, 1886, from Hancock to his wife; (2) the rejection of evidence tending to prove that Hancock made an application for a homestead under the public land laws of the United States, and filed an application in the land office of Tucson, completed his homestead proofs and received a certificate from the receiver for the land applied for. A certified copy of the papers was offered in evidence, but ruled out. (3) The rejection of evidence of the insanity of Mrs. Hancock at the time she executed the mortgage to Robert Allstatter, the foundation of Pemberton's title. (4) The admission in evidence

[ 181 U.S. Page 570]

     of the note and mortgage over the objection of plaintiff claiming Mrs. Hancock insane and incompetent to make them.

We are confined to the assignment of errors based on these rulings. Harrison v. Perea, 168 U.S. 311; Halloway v. Dunham, 170 U.S. 615; Young v. Amy, 171 U.S. 179; 18 State, 27.

(1) The ground of objection to the deed is that it is void as a conveyance because void at common law, void under the statute restricting the conveyance of homesteads, and void because a fraud upon creditors, "and ...


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