Airy v. People

Citation21 Colo. 144, 40 P. 362
Case DateApril 20, 1895
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado

40 P. 362

21 Colo. 144

AIRY
v.
PEOPLE.

Supreme Court of Colorado

April 20, 1895


Error to La Plata county court.

James P. Airy was convicted of failing to pay into the county treasury fees collected by him for official services, and brings error. Reversed.

Prior to the year 1891, in this state, the only compensation given to county and precinct officers, with the exception of county assessors, was the fees prescribed by the legislature, and collected by such officers in the discharge of their official duties. In response to a general demand of the people for the substitution of the salary for the fee system, and for a reduction of the fees to be collected by such officers, the Eighth general assembly passed two acts.--one relating to fees, the other to salaries. The salary act is the one in question here, but the nature of the objections urged against it is such that both must necessarily be considered in this opinion in order to make clear our position. The titles of these acts, being material to the discussion which will follow, are given here in full. That of the former is 'An act concerning fees, providing penalties for violation of this act, and to repeal all acts and parts of acts in conflict with the same.' Sess. Laws 1891, p. 200. That of the latter is 'An act to provide for the payment of salaries to certain officers, to provide for the disposition of certain fees, and to repeal all acts inconsistent therewith.' Id. p. 307. By the former act, all the counties of the state were divided into five classes, according to population as ascertained by the federal census of the year 1890. The fees prescribed under each class are different from the fees under any of the others, and a material reduction in the amount of charges was made from that which theretofore prevailed. By the latter act, salaries were provided for district attorneys, and for county and precinct officers named therein. Sections 4, 5, 6, and 19 to 25 thereof relate more particularly to the subject of fees than to that of salaries. Section 20 provides that the officers named therein, while receiving salaries, shall make to the chairman of the board of county commissioners a report in writing, under oath, on the first Monday of each month, of all the fees, commissions, and emoluments of their office, of every name and description whatsoever and of all necessary expenses of clerk hire and other expenses, for the month ending at the time of said report. Section 22 provides that the fees collected by the county officers shall be paid over to the county treasurer, and shall be kept by him in separate funds, and the salaries fixed by the act shall be paid out of said funds, and no others, upon warrant drawn upon the county treasurer to the credit of the officer entitled thereto. Section 24 provides a penalty for the failure of an officer to pay over to the county treasurer the fees so collected. The plaintiff in error in this case was elected county clerk and recorder of La Plata county in 1893, and entered upon the discharge of his duties as such in January, 1894. Up to the 7th day of May, 1894, he had collected as fees of his office $1,200. At no time did he make any report, as provided by section 20; nor did he pay over to the treasurer of the county any of the fees charged and collected by him, as provided for by section 22. For failure to comply with the two sections, the district attorney filed against the plaintiff in error an information containing two counts, the first of which charged him with the violation of section 20, in that he failed to make the report therein provided for; the second count charged him with the violation or section 22, in that he failed to pay over to the county treasurer the fees of his office theretofore collected by him. A demurrer to the indictment was overruled by the court, and upon trial the defendant was convicted under both counts, and sentenced under each to confinement in the county jail for 15 days. [40 P. 363]

[21 Colo. 147] Russell & Ritter, H. B. O'Reilly, and Joseph C. Helm, for plaintiff in error.

Eugene Engley and Byron L. Carr, Atty. Gens., and H. T. Sale, F. P. Secor, Galbreath & Searcy, and Arthur Cornforth, for the People.

CAMPBELL, J. (after stating the facts).

The defendant comes here from that sentence by writ of error, his assignments of error containing numerous specifications. He is represented here by different counsel; and, while they all argue that the salary act is unconstitutional, they do not altogether agree as to what provisions of the constitution are violated, nor are they in harmony as to the reasons therefor.

It is urged by one counsel that the act is in conflict with section 15 of article 14 of the constitution, (1) in that the principle of classification laid down therein was not observed; (2) because all provisions for fees and salaries must be included in one act, and this is not complied with in the act in question. By another counsel it is contended that the act violates the same principle of classification, and that, as it contains provisions for salaries and disposition of fees, it is in violation of section 21 of article 5 of the constitution, in that not only the body of the act, but the title, contains more than one general subject. All of defendant's counsel contend that on its passage through the senate the title of the bill and the bill itself were so amended as to change the original purpose of the bill as it was introduced in the house. The three sections of the constitution, therefore, to which our attention has been called, and the determination of which must decide this case, are: First, section 21 of article 5; second, [21 Colo. 148] section 15 of article 14; and, third, section 17 of article 5; and they will be considered in the order named.

The substance of section 21 is that no bill shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title. Section 15 is as follows: 'For the purpose of providing for and regulating the compensation of county and precinct officers the general assembly shall by law classify the several counties of the state according to population, and shall grade and fix the compensation of the officers within the respective classes according to the population thereof. Such law shall establish scales of fees to be charged and collected by such of the county and precinct officers as may be designated therein for services to be performed by them respectively; and where salaries are provided, the same shall be payable only out of the fees actually collected in all cases where fees are prescribed. All fees, perquisites and emoluments above the amount of such salaries shall be paid into the county treasury.' Section 17 is that no bill shall be so altered or amended on its passage through either house as to change its original purpose.

Let us consider the first objection in the light both of reason and authority. We concede that, when the legislature elected to treat of fees and salaries in two separate acts, it would be more consistent with its purpose, more logical in method, and more scientific in arrangement to observe this distinction throughout in both acts, and in these particulars to maintain the order into which the general subject thus naturally divides itself. But, desirable as it is to preserve an orderly arrangement and a scientific method in our statute law, yet if, in the enactment of laws, no provision of the constitution is violated by the legislature in selecting methods which flagrantly violate the sense of mathematical accuracy and scientific classification, this court must relegate to the legislature...

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29 practice notes
  • Noble v. Bragaw
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 16 Abril 1906
    ...of the reference thereto made in section 39 of the act of 1905 are not available as to him and as against plaintiff. (Airy v. People, 21 Colo. 144, 40 P. 362; McKinney v. State, 3 Wyo. 719, 30 P. 293, 295, 16 L. R. A. 710; Newman v. People, 23 Colo. 300, 47 P. 278; Cooley's Constitutional L......
  • BLACK HAWK CONSOL. MINES CO. v. GALLEGOS, No. 5044
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court of New Mexico
    • 23 Abril 1948
    ...purpose of the bill in no manner changed.' Also see People v. United Mine Workers of America, 70 Colo. 269, 201 P. 54; Airy v. People, 21 Colo. 144, 40 P. 362; Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Colorado Loan & Trust, 20 Colo. 1, 36 P. 793. We conclude that there was no such alterat......
  • Stubbs v. People
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 1 Julio 1907
    ...they cannot raise the constitutional question involved, and cite as authorities for that proposition the cases of Airy v. People, 21 Colo. 144, 40 P. 362, and Newman v. People, 23 Colo. 300, 47 P. 278, and other cases. As to the proposition that no person can attack the constitutionality of......
  • Blomquist v. Board of Com'rs of Bannock County
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 29 Noviembre 1913
    ...affected, or that the statute prescribing such duties may be unconstitutional." (People v. Ames, 24 Colo. 422, 51 P. 426; Airy v. People, 21 Colo. 144, 40 P. 362; Newman v. People, 23 Colo. 300, 47 P. 278.) Statutes of this character, conferring upon officers and boards a general supervisio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
29 cases
  • Noble v. Bragaw
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 16 Abril 1906
    ...of the reference thereto made in section 39 of the act of 1905 are not available as to him and as against plaintiff. (Airy v. People, 21 Colo. 144, 40 P. 362; McKinney v. State, 3 Wyo. 719, 30 P. 293, 295, 16 L. R. A. 710; Newman v. People, 23 Colo. 300, 47 P. 278; Cooley's Constitutional L......
  • BLACK HAWK CONSOL. MINES CO. v. GALLEGOS, No. 5044
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court of New Mexico
    • 23 Abril 1948
    ...purpose of the bill in no manner changed.' Also see People v. United Mine Workers of America, 70 Colo. 269, 201 P. 54; Airy v. People, 21 Colo. 144, 40 P. 362; Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Colorado Loan & Trust, 20 Colo. 1, 36 P. 793. We conclude that there was no such alterat......
  • Stubbs v. People
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 1 Julio 1907
    ...they cannot raise the constitutional question involved, and cite as authorities for that proposition the cases of Airy v. People, 21 Colo. 144, 40 P. 362, and Newman v. People, 23 Colo. 300, 47 P. 278, and other cases. As to the proposition that no person can attack the constitutionality of......
  • Blomquist v. Board of Com'rs of Bannock County
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 29 Noviembre 1913
    ...affected, or that the statute prescribing such duties may be unconstitutional." (People v. Ames, 24 Colo. 422, 51 P. 426; Airy v. People, 21 Colo. 144, 40 P. 362; Newman v. People, 23 Colo. 300, 47 P. 278.) Statutes of this character, conferring upon officers and boards a general supervisio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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