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Legal Topics: The Credit River Case

Martin V. Mahoney was a justice of the peace in Scott County, Minnesota in the 1960s. The 1967/1968 Minnesota Legislative Manual states:

"Justices of the peace are elected for two-year terms in townships and in cities and villages which do not have municipal courts. Justices of the peace have jurisdiction over actions arising within a county when the amount involved does not exceed $100 for civil cases, and when the punishment or fine does not exceed $100 or three months' imprisonment in criminal cases."

The Minnesota State Court System in 1968

Because the decisions of the justice of the peace courts carry no mandatory authority (that is, there are no lower courts that would have to follow them), they are not published.

Jerome Daly was an attorney in Minnesota and also the defendant in an unlawful detainer action in the justice of the peace court in Credit River Township (Scott County) where Martin V. Mahoney was the justice of the peace. In this case, First National Bank of Montgomery vs. Jerome Daly, the bank was seeking possession of property that it had already foreclosed the mortgage on. The jury decided against the bank. The landowner's defense had been that the bank had not lent him any actual money, but had simply created credit on its books, and therefore, since nothing of value had been advanced by the bank, it was not entitled to the property that had been given as security for the loan. Although Daly did not ultimately prevail, this case has been celebrated by many of those groups and individuals that practice "law on the edge" as we call it in our Pathfinder to Law on the Edge: Sovereign Citizens, Common Law Courts, Patriot Groups, Tax Protesters, et al..

The file for this case has been scanned and the documents are available here.

Related litigation did produce published decisions from the Minnesota Supreme Court. In Re Jerome Daly, 284 Minn.567, 171 N.W.2d 818 (1969), is excerpted below:

On July 11, 1969, Mr. Justice C. Donald Peterson, acting for the Minnesota Supreme Court, directed Martin V. Mahoney, justice of the peace of Credit River Township, Scott County, Minnesota, and Jerome Daly, counsel for plaintiff in an action brought by one Leo Zurn against one Roger D. Derrick and the Northwestern National Bank of Minneapolis, to show cause why they should not be permanently restrained from further proceedings in the justice court. In addition, Justice Peterson ordered a stay of all further proceedings before the justice of the peace pending final determination of the questions raised by Northwestern National Bank's petition for writ of prohibition.

Although the stay order of Justice Peterson was served on the justice of the peace and Mr. Daly on July 11, 1969, they intentionally and deliberately disregarded it in this way: On July 14, 1969, the justice of the peace, upon motion of Mr. Daly, entered findings of fact, conclusions of law, and an order for judgment in favor of Zurn. In response to our order of August 12, 1969, directing the justice of the peace and Mr. Daly to show cause why they should not be held in constructive contempt of the Supreme Court of Minnesota for this conduct, Mr. Daly appeared personally in his own behalf before this court on August 21. He advised the court that he had been authorized to represent the justice of the peace in the proceedings. After noting that he was making a special appearance, Mr. Daly, an attorney at law admitted to practice in this state, acknowledged that both he and the justice of the peace intentionally violated the order of Justice Peterson because in their opinion neither this court nor Justice Peterson had jurisdiction to issue it.

Although the death of the justice of the peace on August 22, 1969, has rendered the proceedings as against him moot, it is our judgment that the conduct of Jerome Daly was contumacious. It is the order of this court that he be temporarily suspended from the practice of law in the courts of this state effective October 1, 1969.

Jerome Daly was subsequently disbarred. See In re Jerome Daly, 291 Minn. 488, 189 N.W.2d 176 (1971). In that decision, the court noted that:

respondent's persistent and continuing attacks on our national monetary system can hardly be regarded as zealous advocacy or a good-faith effort to test the validity of repeated decisions of courts of record. For, as found by the referee, up to the time of his findings and recommendations respondent had avoided payment of any Federal income tax for 1965 and subsequent years on the asserted ground that he has not received gold and silver coin and, therefore, had no earnings that were taxable. Also, he has taken personal advantage of the system he attacks by borrowing money from a bank to purchase lakeside property, only to subsequently defeat the bank's repossession after mortgage foreclosure by taking the position that the bank's extension of credit was unlawful, obligating him neither to pay the debt nor to surrender possession following expiration of the time to redeem. As detailed in the referee's finding, we regard the tactics employed by respondent in the unlawful detainer proceedings before the justice of the peace as not only unprofessional but reprehensible.

The misconduct found by the referee, and demonstrated by respondent's oral declarations before this court in violation of the Canons of Professional Ethics, reflects professional irresponsibility to such a degree as to render respondent totally unfit to continue to discharge the duties of an attorney.

All proceedings in the justice court in the underlying matter were declared a nullity in Zurn v. Northwestern National Bank, 284 Minn. 573, 170 N.W.2d 600 (1969). The same happened in another case brought by Jerome Daly, Daly v. Savage State Bank, 285 Minn. 503, 171 N.W.2d 218 (1969).

These cases were recently cited in Sneed v. Chase Home Fin. LLC, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46536, 2007 WL 1851674 (S.D. Cal. June 26, 2007). The court noted the frivolous nature of the plaintiff's argument relying on these cases and went on to say:

Furthermore, the Minnesota cases cited by Plaintiff are not only unreported, but they have been vacated by the Minnesota Supreme Court in reported decisions. See In re Daly, 284 Minn. 567, 171 N.W.2d 818; Zurn v. Northwestern Nat. Bank of Minneapolis, 170 N.W.2d 600, 284 Minn. 573 (Minn. 1969); Daly v. Savage State Bank, 171 N.W.2d 218, 218, 285 Minn. 503, 503 (Minn. 1969). Plaintiff is hereby admonished she must not cite any decision under which Justice Martin Mahoney purported to question the validity of federal currency or the Constitutionality of the Federal Reserve Act, nor may she cite any opinion or decision as authoritative which no longer has authoritative status.

Martin Vincent Mahoney was born in Minnesota on February 22, 1915 and died August 22, 1969 in Scott County Minnesota. Jerome Daly was born July 11, 1926 in Minnesota and died March 23, 1996 in Martinez, California.


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Minnesota State Law Library: Legal Topics: The Credit River Case

Last updated on February 28, 2013.
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