148 N.W. 20 (S.D. 1914), 3566, Ex parte Hoffert

Docket Nº:3566.
Citation:148 N.W. 20, 34 S.D. 271
Opinion Judge:POLLEY, J.
Party Name:Ex parte HOFFERT.
Attorney:Null & Royhl, of Huron, for appellant. Royal C. Johnson, Atty. Gen., and C. C. Caldwell, State's Atty., of Howard, for respondent.
Case Date:July 13, 1914
Court:Supreme Court of South Dakota
 
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Page 20

148 N.W. 20 (S.D. 1914)

34 S.D. 271

Ex parte HOFFERT.

No. 3566.

Supreme Court of South Dakota

July 13, 1914

Appeal from Circuit Court, Miner County; Alva E. Taylor, Judge.

Petition by William Hoffert for his discharge on a writ of habeas corpus. From a judgment denying relief and remanding petitioner to custody, he appeals. Affirmed.

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Null & Royhl, of Huron, for appellant.

Royal C. Johnson, Atty. Gen., and C. C. Caldwell, State's Atty., of Howard, for respondent.

POLLEY, J.

The question presented for consideration by this record is the constistitutionality of chapter 276, Laws 1913, known as the Automobile Law. As applied to the facts in this case, said chapter imposes an annual registration fee of $6 on all motor vehicles used upon the public highways of the state. This fee is to be paid to the county treasurer, who is required to forward 12 1/2 per cent. thereof to the Secretary of State, while the remaining 87 1/2 per cent. shall be placed in the "county motor vehicle road fund" and shall be expended only for the repair and maintenance of the public highways beyond the limits of cities and towns.

It is conceded by appellant that the state has the right, in the exercise of its police power, to license motor vehicles used upon the public highways, and that it may charge a license fee sufficient in amount to cover the cost of registering and numbering said vehicles for the purpose of identification, but that it has no right to collect a greater amount than is necessary for such purpose. Under the statute in question, 12 1/2 per cent. of the amount collected (which is forwarded to the Secretary of State) is applied to this purpose, and is conceded to be a reasonable amount. This amount, then, appellant concedes to be a license fee proper, and no complaint is made by him, so far as this part of the amount collected is concerned.

In regard to the remaining 87 1/2 per cent. of the fee, amounting to $5.25 for each motor vehicle in use upon the public highways, a different question is presented. It is contended by appellant that, so far as this amount is concerned, the act is a pure revenue measure, and to that extent the Legislature has attempted to exceed its constitutional limitation; that motor vehicles are assessed and taxed according to their value, the same as other personal property, and that the collection of the above sum...

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