Ah Sin v. George Wittman, No. 245

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMcKenna
Citation198 U.S. 500,49 L.Ed. 1142,25 S.Ct. 756
PartiesAH SIN, Plff. in Err. , v. GEORGE W. WITTMAN, as Chief of Police of the City and County of San Francisco, California
Docket NumberNo. 245
Decision Date29 May 1905

198 U.S. 500
25 S.Ct. 756
49 L.Ed. 1142
AH SIN, Plff. in Err.,

v.

GEORGE W. WITTMAN, as Chief of Police of the City and County of San Francisco, California.

No. 245.
Submitted April 28, 1905.
Decided May 29, 1905.

Page 501

Mr. George D. Collins for plaintiff in error.

Page 502

Messrs. L. F. Byington and I. Harris for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice McKenna delivered the opinion of the court:

Error to the judgment of the superior court of the city and county of San Francisco, State of California, discharging a writ of habeas corpus.

Page 503

Plaintiff in error filed a petition in said court, alleging that he was a subject of the Emperor of China, and was restrained of his liberty by defendant in error, who was the chief of police of the city and county of San Francisco, under a judgment of imprisonment rendered in the police court of said city for the violation of one of its ordinances. The ordinance is as follows: 'Prohibiting the Exposure of Gambling

Tables or Implements in a room Barred or Barricaded or Protected in Any Manner to Make It Difficult of Access or Ingress to Police Officers, When Three or More Persons Are Present; or the Visiting of a Room Barred and Barricaded or Protected in Any Manner to Make It Difficult of Access or Ingress to Police, in Which Gambling Tables or Implements Are Exhibited or Exposed, When Three or More Persons are Present.

cBe it ordained by the people of the city and county of San Francisco as foollows: and county of San Francisco as follows: within the limits of the city and county of San Francisco to exhibit or expose to view in any barred or barricaded house or room, or in any place built or protected in a manner to make it difficult of access or ingress to police officers, when three or more persons are present, any cards, dice, dominoes, fan-tan table or layout, or any part of such layout, or any gambling implements whatsoever.

'Sec. 2. It shall be unlawful for any person within the limits of the city and county of San Francisco to visit or resort to any such barred or barricaded house or room or other place built or protected in a manner to make it difficult of access or ingress to police officers, where any cards, dice, dominoes, fan-tan table or layout, or any part of such layout, or any gambling implements whatsoever are exhibited or exposed to view when three or more persons are present.

'Sec. 3. Every person who shall violate any of the provisions of this ordinance shall be deemed guilty of misdemeanor,

Page 504

and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not to exceed five hundred ($500.00) dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

'Sec. 4. this ordinance shall take effect and be in force on and after its passage.'

The complaint in the police court charges a violation of the ordinance by the plaintiff in error. The petition for writ of habeas corpus alleges that the ordinance violates § 1 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, in that it deprives plaintiff in error of the equal protection of the laws, because it is enforced solely and exclusively against persons of the Chinese race, and in that it 'unjustly and arbitrarily discriminates in favor of certain visitors, and also in favor of certain persons resorting to the house, room, or place referred to in said ordinance, as well as in favor of such persons and visitors as resort to or visit such house or room or place when not barred or barricaded or protected in a manner to make the same difficult of access or ingress to police officers.' These objection, it is alleged, were made by him in the police court, and overruled.

The petition also alleges that plaintiff in error, is, by the ordinance, deprived of his liberty without due process of law, in that he is prohibited thereby from visiting, innocently and for a lawful purpose, the house or room or place mentioned in said ordinance.

It is also alleged that the ordinance is in contravention of the treaty between the United States and China.

Upon filing the petition a writ of habeas corpus was issued,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
98 practice notes
  • Bratberg v. Advance-Rumely Thresher Co., No. 5872.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • October 23, 1931
    ...v. Illinois, 184 U. S. 425, 22 S. Ct. 425, 46 L. Ed. 623;Otis v. Parker, 187 U. S. 606, 23 S. Ct. 168, 47 L. Ed. 323;Ah Sin v. Wittman, 198 U. S. 500, 504, 25 S. Ct. 756, 49 L. Ed. 1142, 1144;New York ex rel. Silz v. Hesterberg, 211 U. S. 31, 29 S. Ct. 10, 53 L. Ed. 75;Murphy v. California,......
  • U.S. v. Scott, No. 3:95cv1216 (AHN).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • April 2, 1997
    ...religious or political viewpoint] were not prosecuted." Armstrong, ___ U.S. at ____, 116 S.Ct. at 1487 (citing Ah Sin v. Wittman, 198 U.S. 500, 25 S.Ct. 756, 49 L.Ed. 1142 (1905)) (emphasis 60. Even if a defendant was chosen for prosecution because he or she was a leader of an organiza......
  • People v. Acme Markets, Inc., B-K
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • July 10, 1975
    ...582, 588--589, 81 S.Ct. 1135, 6 L.Ed.2d 551; cf. Edelman v. California, 344 U.S. 357, 359, 73 S.Ct. 293, 97 L.Ed. 387; Ah Sin v. Wittman, 198 U.S. 500, 506--507, 25 S.Ct. 756, 49 L.Ed. 1142; Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 6 S.Ct. 1064, 30 L.Ed. Of course, it is State action that is prosc......
  • Moss v. Hornig, Civ. No. 9261.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • May 9, 1962
    ...of `clear and intentional discrimination,' Gundling v. Chicago, 177 U.S. 183, 186 20 S.Ct. 633, 44 L.Ed. 725; see Ah Sin v. Wittman, 198 U. S. 500, 507-8 25 S.Ct. 756, 49 L.Ed. 1142; Bailey v. Alabama, 219 U.S. 219, 231 31 S.Ct. 145, 55 L.Ed. The discrimination must be directed towards the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
98 cases
  • Bratberg v. Advance-Rumely Thresher Co., No. 5872.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • October 23, 1931
    ...v. Illinois, 184 U. S. 425, 22 S. Ct. 425, 46 L. Ed. 623;Otis v. Parker, 187 U. S. 606, 23 S. Ct. 168, 47 L. Ed. 323;Ah Sin v. Wittman, 198 U. S. 500, 504, 25 S. Ct. 756, 49 L. Ed. 1142, 1144;New York ex rel. Silz v. Hesterberg, 211 U. S. 31, 29 S. Ct. 10, 53 L. Ed. 75;Murphy v. California,......
  • U.S. v. Scott, No. 3:95cv1216 (AHN).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • April 2, 1997
    ...religious or political viewpoint] were not prosecuted." Armstrong, ___ U.S. at ____, 116 S.Ct. at 1487 (citing Ah Sin v. Wittman, 198 U.S. 500, 25 S.Ct. 756, 49 L.Ed. 1142 (1905)) (emphasis 60. Even if a defendant was chosen for prosecution because he or she was a leader of an organiza......
  • People v. Acme Markets, Inc., B-K
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • July 10, 1975
    ...582, 588--589, 81 S.Ct. 1135, 6 L.Ed.2d 551; cf. Edelman v. California, 344 U.S. 357, 359, 73 S.Ct. 293, 97 L.Ed. 387; Ah Sin v. Wittman, 198 U.S. 500, 506--507, 25 S.Ct. 756, 49 L.Ed. 1142; Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 6 S.Ct. 1064, 30 L.Ed. Of course, it is State action that is prosc......
  • Moss v. Hornig, Civ. No. 9261.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • May 9, 1962
    ...of `clear and intentional discrimination,' Gundling v. Chicago, 177 U.S. 183, 186 20 S.Ct. 633, 44 L.Ed. 725; see Ah Sin v. Wittman, 198 U. S. 500, 507-8 25 S.Ct. 756, 49 L.Ed. 1142; Bailey v. Alabama, 219 U.S. 219, 231 31 S.Ct. 145, 55 L.Ed. The discrimination must be directed towards the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT