20 A.2d 737 (Conn. 1941), State v. Zazzaro

Citation:20 A.2d 737, 128 Conn. 160
Opinion Judge:ELLS, Judge.
Party Name:STATE v. ZAZZARO.
Attorney:William S. Hyde, of Manchester, and Edwin M. Ryan, of Hartford (Nicholas E. St. John, of Hartford, on the brief), for defendant. Hugh M. Alcorn, State's Atty., Hugh Meade Alcorn, Jr., and John P. Hodgson, Asst. State's Attys., all of Hartford, for the State.
Judge Panel:In this opinion the other Judges concurred. Argued before MALTBIE, C.J., and AVERY, BROWN, JENNINGS, and ELLS, JJ.
Case Date:June 26, 1941
Court:Supreme Court of Connecticut

Page 737

20 A.2d 737 (Conn. 1941)

128 Conn. 160

STATE

v.

ZAZZARO.

Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.

June 26, 1941

Page 738

Case reserved from Superior Court, Hartford County; INGLIS, Judge.

Proceeding by the State against Anthony P. Zazzaro, wherein an information charging defendant with violation of the Liquor Control Act was brought to the Superior Court in Hartford County, where defendant filed a demurrer to the information and the case was reserved by the court for advice of the Supreme Court of Errors.

Superior Court advised to overrule demurrer to all counts.

Page 739

[128 Conn. 161] William S. Hyde, of Manchester, and Edwin M. Ryan, of Hartford (Nicholas E. St. John, of Hartford, on the brief), for defendant.

Hugh M. Alcorn, State's Atty., Hugh Meade Alcorn, Jr., and John P. Hodgson, Asst. State's Attys., all of Hartford, for the State.

Argued before MALTBIE, C.J., and AVERY, BROWN, JENNINGS, and ELLS, JJ.

ELLS, Judge.

The defendant is charged in thirteen counts with violations of § 968e of the

Page 740

Cumulative Supplement, 1939, quoted in full in the footnote1, the [128 Conn. 162] alleged offenses being that he, a stockholder in a brewing company, extended credit for a period of more than thirty days, through various banks in Hartford, to designated holders of retail liquor permits issued by the liquor control commission. The charges are set forth in the information substantially in the language of the statute. There is involved a construction of § 968e, and the applicability of § 1083c of the Cumulative Supplement, 1935, also quoted in full in the footnote2. The defendant's claims, as raised by his demurrer, fall into several categories and the questions reserved by stipulation are directed at the issues thus raised. In substance it is claimed that § 968e is so vague and uncertain that it is unenforceable; that the legilsture did not intend to define a crime but to state a regulation; that the section contains an exclusive penalty, the revocation or suspension of the permit, and that therefore the general penalty section, 1083c, is inapplicable; and that § 968e is unconstitutional.

The second and third claims are sufficiently related to warrant discussion as a single issue. A reading of § 968e shows that it is plainly aimed at an evil long recognized in the history of liquor control legislation, the ‘ tied house.’ This is the subject of legislative prohibition in many states. Rigid restriction in this respect was recommended by the special liquor study [128 Conn. 163] commission in its model bill, reported to the Connecticut General Assembly in 1933, Connecticut House Journal, 1933, pp. 1124, 1139, and adopted in substance by the General Assembly, General Statutes, Cum.Supp.1933, § 703b; Cum.Supp.1935, § 1047c; Cum.Supp.1939, § 968e. These sections are perhaps, strictly speaking, regulatory, but there is not any reason why the legislature could not make the violation of these regulations criminal acts. The Liquor Control Act itself is regulatory, but contains many criminal penalties of undoubted validity.

In its application to this case, § 968e prohibits the permittee from receiving credit in excess of thirty days, and one in the position of the defendant from extending credit, directly or indirectly, to a permittee. The demurrer admits that the defendant has done the forbidden act, and the only remaining question upon this aspect of the case is whether his dereliction is punishable as a crime. As § 968e now stands, accepting a credit requires the revocation of a permit held by the permittee, but that of course does not apply to the lender. Unless the penalty of § 1083c applies, there is no penalty to be inflicted upon him; and he is the only one we are concerned with in this case. The provision concerning a mandatory revocation of the license, contained in § 968e, was inserted in 1939, and previously was not in the Liquor Control Act. Before the provision was inserted, a violation of the existing enactment would have been ground for the revocation of a permit in the discretion of the commission. General Statutes, Cum.Supp.1935, § 1026c; Cum.Supp.1935, § 1052c as amended by Cum.Supp.1939, § 971e; Cum.Supp.1935, § 1053c as amended by Cum.Supp.1939, § 972e; and the purpose of the insertion was plainly to make revocation mandatory in case of a violation of the statute, instead of leaving [128 Conn. 164] it as a discretionary matter. The defendant's claim that

Page 741

the commission's duty to revoke permits relieves him of criminal responsibility must necessarily be based upon the erroneous assumption that the legislature saw fit to forbid a serious evil and at the same time made the prohibition useless by rendering it unenforceable. It is obvious that § 968e was designed to place definite restrictions upon nonpermittees as well as permittees and the defendant cannot be allowed to place himself beyond the reach of the law upon the wholly untenable theory that only permittees are subject to penalties thereunder.

We conclude that § 968e and § 1083c, read together, provide for a criminal penalty for the violation in question. The defendant relies upon Central Trust Co. v. Mann's Restaurants, 166 Misc. 381, 2 N.Y.S.2d 447, 449. The language of the New York statute varies from ours, and we cannot consider the case as weighty authority against the view we take.

Based upon he accepted legal proposition that where a criminal statute is too indefinite in its terms to enable one to determine what it requires, it violates the due process clause ( International Harvester Co. v. Kentucky, 234 U.S. 216, 34 S.Ct. 853, 58 L.Ed. 1284; Id., 234 U.S. 579, 34 S.Ct....

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64 practice notes
  • 199 A.2d 351 (Conn.Cir.A.D. 1963), 14-26065, State v. Morais
    • United States
    • Connecticut Circuit Court of Connecticut
    • December 10, 1963
    ...of their context and in frustration of the obvious legislative intent. State v. Faro, 118 Conn. 267, 274, 171 A. 660; State v. Zazzaro, 128 Conn. 160, 165, 20 A.2d 737. We cannot hold that the meaning of 'dancing' as here used is so indefinite or ambiguous as to render the act unconstitutio......
  • 254 A.2d 503 (Conn.Cir.A.D. 1968), CR 1-22456, State v. Fields
    • United States
    • Connecticut Circuit Court of Connecticut
    • July 12, 1968
    ...there is no room for statutory construction. State ex rel. Cooley v. Kegley, 143 Conn. 679, 683, 124 A.2d 898; State v. Zazzaro, 128 Conn. 160, 165, 20 A.2d 737. Thus, § 53-174 has been held not unconstitutional on its face. Barber v. Kinsella, 277 F.Supp. 72; Watch Tower Bible & Tract ......
  • 370 A.2d 1310 (Conn. 1976), State v. Rao
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • September 14, 1976
    ...and the courts will not interfere unless a classification presented by statute is clearly irrational and unreasonable. State v. Zazzaro, 128 Conn. 160, 166, 20 A.2d 737. There had previously been tried in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut the case of United St......
  • 155 A.2d 754 (Conn. 1959), Town of Hartland v. Jensen's, Inc.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • November 3, 1959
    ...is arbitrary and unreasonable. Second National Bank of New Haven v. Loftus, 121 Conn. 454, 460, 185 A. 423; State v. Zazzaro, 128 Conn. 160, 166, 20 A.2d 737; State v. Hurliman, 143 Conn. 502, 506, 123 A.2d 767. Whether a particular trailer was in fact designed for a temporary abode as dist......
  • Free signup to view additional results
59 cases
  • 199 A.2d 351 (Conn.Cir.A.D. 1963), 14-26065, State v. Morais
    • United States
    • Connecticut Circuit Court of Connecticut
    • December 10, 1963
    ...of their context and in frustration of the obvious legislative intent. State v. Faro, 118 Conn. 267, 274, 171 A. 660; State v. Zazzaro, 128 Conn. 160, 165, 20 A.2d 737. We cannot hold that the meaning of 'dancing' as here used is so indefinite or ambiguous as to render the act unconstitutio......
  • 254 A.2d 503 (Conn.Cir.A.D. 1968), CR 1-22456, State v. Fields
    • United States
    • Connecticut Circuit Court of Connecticut
    • July 12, 1968
    ...there is no room for statutory construction. State ex rel. Cooley v. Kegley, 143 Conn. 679, 683, 124 A.2d 898; State v. Zazzaro, 128 Conn. 160, 165, 20 A.2d 737. Thus, § 53-174 has been held not unconstitutional on its face. Barber v. Kinsella, 277 F.Supp. 72; Watch Tower Bible & Tract ......
  • 370 A.2d 1310 (Conn. 1976), State v. Rao
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • September 14, 1976
    ...and the courts will not interfere unless a classification presented by statute is clearly irrational and unreasonable. State v. Zazzaro, 128 Conn. 160, 166, 20 A.2d 737. There had previously been tried in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut the case of United St......
  • 155 A.2d 754 (Conn. 1959), Town of Hartland v. Jensen's, Inc.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • November 3, 1959
    ...is arbitrary and unreasonable. Second National Bank of New Haven v. Loftus, 121 Conn. 454, 460, 185 A. 423; State v. Zazzaro, 128 Conn. 160, 166, 20 A.2d 737; State v. Hurliman, 143 Conn. 502, 506, 123 A.2d 767. Whether a particular trailer was in fact designed for a temporary abode as dist......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Coming to terms with strict and liberal construction.
    • United States
    • Albany Law Review Vol. 64 Nbr. 1, September 2000
    • September 22, 2000
    ...agencies are strictly construed as conferring only those powers granted expressly or by necessary implication."); State v. Zazzaro, 20 A. 2d 737, 742 (Conn. 1941) ("The statute, being penal, must be rather strictly construed and its meaning cannot be extended by presumption or int......