Ashe v. Streator, 53 N.C. 256, 8 Jones 256 (1860)

Dec. 1860 · Supreme Court of North Carolina
53 N.C. 256, 8 Jones 256


All Courts have the inherent power to revise and amend their records, and make them conform to the truth.

The power of the county courts to amend their records, is a discretionary power, subject to the rcvisal of the superior court on an appeal, but the Supreme Court has no power to examine into the correctness of the exercise of such discretion in the courts below.

Where, however, the superior court erroneously decided that a county court had no power to make an amendment, it was Add that this Court, on an, , appeal, would correct such error.

Appeal from a motion to amend, heard before French, J., at the last Fall Term of Anson Superior Court.

This was a motion in the County Court of Anson, for leave to amend the record of that court, made at April Term, 1859, in the case of Thomas S. Ashe and Johnson N. Hargrave v. Edward IT. Streator, Benjamin O. Hutchinson, Thomas W.. Kendall, Charles E. Smith and George A. Smith. It appeared by the records of the said county court, that the plaintiffs, at that térm obtained a judgment against all these defendants, from which they all appealed. In the Superior Court, at Fall Term, 1859, the judgment was affirmed, and an execution issued to March Term, 1860. The execution was stayed in the Superior Court, and has not yet been satisfied. At April Term, 1860, of Anson County Court, Thornas W. Kendall, Charles E. Smith and Geo. A. Smith, through their counsel, moved to amend the record of the April Term, 1859, of that Court, so as to show that only Edward II. Streator and Benjamin C. Hutchinson, appealed to the Superior Court. The County Court after bearing testimony and the argument of counsel on both sides, allowed the motion, and Samuel Smith, jun., and John Stacy, the sureties to the appeal from the County to the Superior Court, prayed and appeal to the Superior Court.

His Honor, in the Superior Court, disallowed the motion, on the ground, that the County Court had no power to make. *257the amendment, from which ruling, the defendants, Kendall, George A. Smith and Chares E. Smith, appealed to this Court,

MeCorlde and Strcmge, for the plaintiffs.

R. II. Battle, for the defendants.

Manly, J.

The question made in the case is,, as to. the power of the comity court to amend its records of a previous-term-.

Upon an appeal to the Superior Court from the Court below, the former, without revising the discretion of the County Court, held that that Oo-nrt did not have the po-wer, and consequently, reversed its judgment, and from this decision of the Superior Court, there was an appeal to- this Court, There is error in the-decision of the Superior. Court.

No facts are stated in the ease, that would deprive the County Court of the discretionary power, inherent in all courts, to revise its records, and make them conform to the truth. In tiie ease of Phillipse v. Higdon, Bush. Rep. 380, the power of amendment, residing in the courts of North Carolina, is fully and distinctly stated, and the case now before us-falls clearly within the limits of the power there defined-.

It is a mistake to- suppose that interests have vested under-the record as it stands,, that prevent an amendment. The persons, whose interests are affected, are parties to the record. They are hound to know the troth o-f the transactions as to which the record speaks — to act upon the truth, as it happened, arid upon the expectation that the record will be made to speak truly. No party has a right to. complain,, and no o.ther person has 'an interest that will he prejudiced.

So much for the- po-wer in the County Court. Whether they have exercised the power with discretion, it is not our province to say, nor have we the means of knowing.

Instead, therefore, of dismissing the application for the want of power, the Superior Court ought to have entertained jurisdiction of it, and considered it as a matter addressed to its sound legal discretion. The exercise of discretionary pow*258ers in the county courts, is subject to be revised in the superior. In this Court, we have no such revising power, and have taken cognizance of this case, only in consequence of the error in law, of the Court, in holding it had no poroer* This opinion should be certified to the Superior Court, that it may proceed to adjudge the matter before it by the appeal, according to its discretion, and the course of the Court.

Per Curiam,

Judgment reversed.