166 Mass. 370 (1896), Commonwealth v. Smith

Citation:166 Mass. 370, 44 N.E. 503
Opinion Judge:HOLMES, J.
Attorney:P.J. Casey and E.F. Collins, for plaintiff. M.J. Sughrue, Asst. Dist. Atty., for the Commonwealth.
Case Date:June 15, 1896
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Page 370

166 Mass. 370 (1896)

44 N.E. 503




Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk.

June 15, 1896

[44 N.E. 503] The evidence was submitted to the jury on the following agreed statement of facts: A search-warrant was granted November 15, 1895, by virtue of section 9, c. 419, Acts 1895, to search the premises of No. 19 Province street. By virtue of this warrant, police officers searched said premises on that day, and in a room on the second floor of said building they found a blackboard, on which were written, in six different columns, the names of race horses entered in six different races, 120 blank tickets for the making of memoranda of bets, and a compartment for the sale of such memoranda, in which compartment the aforesaid blank tickets were found. Defendant was present when the aforesaid implements were found, and all the implements were in plain view of any person in the room. The defendant was searched at the station house. There was found on his person a ticket containing a memorandum of a bet on a horse race.


Page 374

P.J. Casey and E.F. Collins, for plaintiff.

M.J. Sughrue, Asst. Dist. Atty., for the Commonwealth.



The offense of being present where gaming implements are found, created by St.1895, c. 419, § 9, is created by the words "every person found *** so present,[44 N.E. 504] shall be punished." "So" refers back to the words "all persons present, *** if any *** materials of any form of gaming are found in said place." "Said place," by reference, means a place which has been complained of under oath as a common gaming house. But the words last quoted are used in that part of the section which authorizes an arrest on the complaint. When we come to the words constituting the offense, and first above quoted, it is plain that we must not take the word "so" literally, with the result of making it criminal to be in the same place with gaming implements, if the place merely has been complained of as a common gaming house. The place must be used unlawfully as a common gaming house in fact. The word "so" is an abbreviation, and not so accurate an abbreviation as might be wished in a criminal statute, since it seems to have misled the pleader; but we are of opinion that the meaning is clear. Therefore it is material to allege that the place was "unlawfully used as and for a common gaming house."

The allegation in the complaint before us is: "And so the said Denton *** doth say that the said room, in manner and

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form aforesaid, was unlawfully used as and for a common gaming house," etc. It is argued for the defendant that the words "and so" import that the allegation following is a legal consequence of facts previously alleged, and that, although there may be no objection to the form of expression as argumentative, if the earlier allegations justify it ( Com. v. Desmarteau, 16 Gray, 1, 16), if they do not justify it, the complaint must be quashed ( Com. v. Whitney, 5 Gray, 85, 86). The previous allegations here, after those which...

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