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Mr. SPEAKER: The Judiciary Committee, to whom was recommitted substitute for Senate Bill No.52, being an Act entitled an Act to authorize the guardian of Victoriano Guerrero to sell certain real estate at private sale, respectively report that since the recommitment of the said bill, they bave heard the parties concerned and find the following to be the facts in the case:
The petitioner is an infant, aged nineteen years, and was tenant in common of the lands in question,
with his mother and brothers, as heirs of his father, Francisco Guerrero, deceased, who died intestate.
The title of said Francisco Guerrero, deceased, was derived from an alleged grant of the lands in question purporting to have been made by Nicolas Gutierrez, Governor of California, on the thirtieth day of November, A. D. eighteen hundred and thirty-six.
Said title had been finally confirmed in the Courts of the United States, and a survey of the lands, made under said confirmation, had been made and finally approved, and a patent was about to be issued for said lands. The United States, at the instance of persons holding adversely to the title of said Francisco Guerrero, then filed a bill in equity in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of California, against all persons claiming under the said alleged grant to Francisco Guerrero, including the said petitioner, Victoriano Guerrero, averring that the said grant to Francisco Guerrero was a forgery, and that that fact had been ascertained since the said confirmation of the same, and asking for a new trial of the questions of fact in the United States District Court.
That suit is still pending in the United States Circuit Court for California. The mother and brothers of the petitioner, his co-tenants in the said lands, as heirs of bis deceased father, and co-defendants of tbat suit, bave all compromised their claims by selling to the adverse claimant, leaving the petitioner alone to defend that suit.
The parties claiming adversely to the interest and estate of the said Francisco Guerrero, deceased, and for whose protection the said suit was commenced by the United States, now offer about seventeen thousand dollars for the purchase, by compromise, of the interest of the petitioner.
The petitioner is in independent circumstances, being worth one hundred thousand dollars, exclusive of his interests in these lands; and the money value of his interest is not needed for any other purpose, and could not be better invested than in these same lands, provided his title to his alleged interest in the same were clear and undisputed.
The guardian, mother and adult brother of the petitioner unite in a petition to the Legislature for leave to sell the interest of the petitioner in said lands, on the ground that this case is one in which relief is imperatirely demanded, but in which the Probate Court has no power to grant adequate relief.
The only powers which the Probate Court bas in the premises are those expressed in sections twenty and twenty-one of an Act to provide for the appointment and prescribe the duties of guardians, passed April nineteenth, eighteen hundred and fifty, as amended; which are as follows:
“SEC. 20. When the income of the estate of any person under guardianship shall not be sufficient to maintain the ward and his family, or to educate the ward, when a minor, bis guardian may sell bis real or per. sonal estate for tbat purpose, upon obtaining an order therefor and proceeding therein as provided in this Act.
“ SEC. 21. When it shall appear to the satisfaction of the Court, upon the petition of the guardian, that it would be for the benefit of bis ward that bis real estate or some part thereof should be sold, in order that the proceeds thereof may be put out at interest, or invested in some productive stock, or in the improvement or security of any other real real estate of said ward, his guardian may sell the same for such purpose, upon obtaining an order therefor and proceeding therein as provided in this Act."
These provisions, authorizing sales of infants' estates under the order of the Probate Court, do not seem to meet the case in question. The petitioner does not need any of the income of the lands for his support or that of bis family, or for his education, for be bas other ample means for those purposes.
Nor could the same amount in value be better invested than in these same lands, provided bis title to them were pot disputed. Nor are the proceeds of these lands needed for the improvement or security of other real estate belonging to the petitioner. The apparent necessity for the proposed sale rests entirely upon the fact that the petitioner is left alone to resist a litigation aimed at his alleged title to said lands, conducted by the powerful band of the United States, and of which it is considered by all parties the issue will be very unfavorable to him. Under these circumstances, an offer is made to his guardian of an amount of money for the petitioner's interest in said lands which is supposed to represent its full value-all the circumstances considered-and the Probate Court has no jurisdiction to permit or confirm such a sale.
Under this state of facts, your Committee are reluctantly compelled to come to the conclusion that this is a case in which relief is required beyond that which the general laws of the State can afford, and they therefore feel constrained, within the limits of the principles beretofore announced by them, to report in favor of the passage of the bill, with amendments.
Mr. SPEAKER : The undersigned, your Committee on Ways and Means, beg leave to report that they have had under consideration Senate Bill No. 220—An Act supplemental to an Act entitled an Act to provide for changing the location of the California Institution for the Education of the Deaf, Dumb and Blind, approved March thirty-first, eighteen hundred and sixty-six, and herewith report the same back and recommend its passage.
By reference to the original Act of wbich this bill is supplemental, we find tbat A. W. Saxe, I. P. Rankin, J. L. Downing, J. A. Benton and Wm. Sherman were constituted a Board of Commissioners of the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Institution, and certain powers delegated to them, among which were those of the selection of a location and the erection of suitable buildings thereon for the accommodation of the deaf, dumb and blind of the State. They also had full power to sell the buildings owned by the State and used for the Institute, and use the money obtained therefrom, with a donation of fifty thousand dollars, to purchase the location and erect the buildings thereon, making an entire sum of eighty-five thousand dollars, the Commissioners having received the sum of thirty-five thousand dollars for the old buildings.
The Commissioners went forward under the law, obtained a fine location near the City of Oakland, and in the erection of a building went much beyond the law, and entered into contracts involving an expenditure by the State of one bundred and fifty thousand dollars, instead of the sum of eighty-five thousand dollars, as originally comtemplated and authorized. Tbis bill involves an appropriation of sixty-five thousand dollars, being the amount required by the Commissioners to complete the building. That the Commissioners, by the exercise of undue authority in this matter, deserve the censure of this House, your Committee do not doubt. No State agent should, in the execution of any public trust, transcend the powers delegated to him by the law.
Wbile your Committee deem the conduct of the Commissioners reprehensible, they believe that it was more from an excess of zeal tban from any wilful departure from the law. When completed, the building will be ample to supply the needs of the entire coast for a number of years to come, and the State will be in possession of a piece of property worth more tban it originally cost.