Hicks v. Krigbaum, Civil 1142

CourtSupreme Court of Arizona
Writing for the CourtLEWIS, J.
Citation13 Ariz. 237,108 P. 482
PartiesC. W. HICKS, as County Treasurer of Cochise County, and C. J. McCABE, J. J. BOWEN and J. SCHEERER, Members of the Board of Supervisors of Cochise County, Defendants and Appellants, v. J. G. KRIGBAUM, Plaintiff, and J. M. O'CONNELL, Intervener, Appellees
Docket NumberCivil 1142
Decision Date02 April 1910

108 P. 482

13 Ariz. 237

C. W. HICKS, as County Treasurer of Cochise County, and C. J. McCABE, J. J. BOWEN and J. SCHEERER, Members of the Board of Supervisors of Cochise County, Defendants and Appellants,
v.

J. G. KRIGBAUM, Plaintiff, and J. M. O'CONNELL, Intervener, Appellees

Civil No. 1142

Supreme Court of Arizona

April 2, 1910


APPEAL from a judgment of the District Court of the Second Judicial District, in and for Cochise County. Fletcher M. Doan, Judge. Reversed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

J. S. Williams and Attorney General, for Appellants.

Neale & Sutter and J. M. O'Connell, for Appellees.

OPINION [108 P. 483]

[13 Ariz. 238] LEWIS, J.

-- This is an appeal from a judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff and the intervener, joined as appellees, against the defendants and appellants, enjoining and restraining the defendant C. W. Hicks, as treasurer of Cochise county, from delivering certain bonds of school district No. 2 within said county, in the aggregate sum of $92,000, to the purchaser thereof, and enjoining and restraining the defendants C. J. McCabe, J. J. Bowen, and J. Scheerer, members of the board of supervisors of said county, from authorizing such delivery or proceeding further with the issuance, sale, or delivery of said bonds, and from the further [13 Ariz. 239] levy of any taxes for the payment of the interest or redemption of said bonds, or any part thereof, and further decreeing said bonds void. J. G. Krigbaum, one of the appellees and a taxpayer of school district No. 2, [108 P. 484] commenced this action in the court below by his complaint, praying for the relief subsequently granted. Thereafter J. M. O'Connell, also a taxpayer of the district, upon leave granted filed his complaint in intervention, praying for similar relief. To these complaints the defendants interposed general demurrers, which demurrers were by the trial court overruled, and, the defendants electing to stand thereon, judgment was duly entered in favor of the plaintiff and intervener and against the defendants. The appellants assign error in the overruling of the general demurrers to the complaint, and to the petition in intervention, and error in rendering judgment in favor of the complainant and intervener.

The most important question presented is the validity of paragraph 2182 of the Revised Statutes of 1901, under which the school bond election at which these bonds were authorized was held. It reads: "Sec. 2182 (sec. 53). The board of trustees of any school district, may, when in their judgment it is advisable, and must upon petition of a majority of the heads of families residing in the district, call an election and submit to the taxpayers of the district whether the bonds of such district shall be issued and sold for the purpose of raising money for purchasing or leasing school lots, and for building one or more school-houses, and supplying the same with furniture, necessary apparatus, and improving the grounds, and for liquidating any indebtedness already incurred for such purposes." Appellees contend that this statute is void for the reason that, by the use of the phrase "taxpayers of the district," it permits the submission of the question to persons not qualified to vote under the organic act (U.S. Rev. Stats. 1878, sec. 1860), irrespective of age, residence, or citizenship, and for the further reason that it is ambiguous and uncertain, in that it does not appear whether taxpayers include only residents of the district, or whether it includes nonresidents who are taxpayers of the district, or whether it includes residents of the district who pay taxes on property outside the district.

If a meaning involving the conflict, as well as the absurdities and ambiguities thus suggested, must be adopted, then [13 Ariz. 240] the law is void. We should, however, hesitate before accepting such an interpretation, and endeavor to discover an alternative consistent with the organic act and in itself reasonable. "It must not be lost sight of that the attitude of courts is not one of hostility to acts whose constitutionality is attacked. On the contrary, all the presumptions are in their favor, and courts are not to be astute in finding or sustaining objections." In re Sugar Notch Borough, 192 Pa. 353, 43 A. 985. "Where any particular construction which is given to an act leads to gross injustice or absurdity, it may generally be said that there is fault in the construction, and that such an end was never intended or suspected by the framers of the act." Peckham, J. (dissenting), in People v. Board etc. of Onondaga County, 129 N.Y. 395, 445, 29 N.E. 327, 14 L.R.A. 624. "Nothing is better settled than that statutes should receive sensible construction, such as will effectuate the legislative intention, and, if possible, so as to avoid an unjust or an absurd conclusion." Lau Ow Bew v. United States, 144 U.S. 47, 12 S.Ct. 517, 36 L.Ed. 340, and cases there cited. "Where any particular construction would lead to an absurd consequence, it will be presumed that some exception or qualification was intended by the legislature to avoid such conclusion." Commonwealth v. Kimball, 24 Pick. (Mass.) 366, 370; 1 Blackstone's Commentaries, 91. "All laws should receive a sensible construction. General terms should be so limited in their application as not to lead to injustice, oppression, or an absurd consequence. It will always, therefore, be presumed that the legislature intended exceptions to its language which would avoid results of this character. The reason of the law, in such cases, should prevail over the letter." United States v. Kirby, 74 U.S. 482, 19 L.Ed. 278. "Such construction ought to be put upon a statute as may best answer the intention which the makers had in view. . . . The intention . . . is sometimes to be collected from the cause or necessity of making a statute; at other times, from other circumstances. Whenever this can be discovered, it ought to be followed with reason and discretion in the construction of the statute, although such construction seems...

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32 practice notes
  • Weisgerber v. Nez Perce County
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • April 16, 1921
    ...55, 173 P. 717; Backus v. City of Virginia, 123 Minn. 48, 142 N.W. 1042; People v. Avery, 102 Mich. 572, 61 N.W. 4; Hicks v. Krigbaum, 13 Ariz. 237, 108 P. 482; State v. Lentz, 50 Mont. 322, 146 P. 932; Fike v. State of Ohio, 4 Ohio C. C. N. S., 81; State v. Carroll, 17 R.I. 591, 24 A. 106;......
  • Meixell v. Borough Council of Borough of Hellertown, Northampton County, Pa.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 14, 1952
    ...714; Murdoch v. Strange, 99 Md. 89, 57 A. 628; People ex rel. Beasley v. Sausalito, 106 Cal. 500, 39 P. 397; Hicks v. Krigbaum, 13 Ariz. 237, 108 P. 482; State ex rel. Hocknell v. Roper, 47 Neb. 417, 66 N.W. 539; Launtz v. People, 113 Ill. 137; Attorney General v. Shepard, 62 N.H. 383; Rush......
  • Meixell v. Hellertown Borough Council, 7842
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 14, 1952
    ...130 P. 479; Murdoch v. Strange, 99 Md. 89, 57 A. 628; People ex rel. Beasley v. Sausalito, 106 Cal. 500, 39 P. 937; Hicks v. Krigbaum, 13 Ariz. 237, 108 P. 482; State ex rel. Hocknell v. Roper, 47 Neb. 417, 66 N.W. 539; Launtz v. People, 113 Ill. 137; Attorney-General v. Shepard, 62 N.H. 38......
  • Howard v. Luke, Civil 1518
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • April 18, 1917
    ...be noted that this action was brought directly against the school district. We are not unmindful of the fact that in Hicks v. Krigbaum, 13 Ariz. 237, 108 P. 482, the court took jurisdiction of a case and decided it involving the validity of a school bond election in school district No. 2 of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • Weisgerber v. Nez Perce County
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • April 16, 1921
    ...55, 173 P. 717; Backus v. City of Virginia, 123 Minn. 48, 142 N.W. 1042; People v. Avery, 102 Mich. 572, 61 N.W. 4; Hicks v. Krigbaum, 13 Ariz. 237, 108 P. 482; State v. Lentz, 50 Mont. 322, 146 P. 932; Fike v. State of Ohio, 4 Ohio C. C. N. S., 81; State v. Carroll, 17 R.I. 591, 24 A. 106;......
  • Meixell v. Borough Council of Borough of Hellertown, Northampton County, Pa.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 14, 1952
    ...714; Murdoch v. Strange, 99 Md. 89, 57 A. 628; People ex rel. Beasley v. Sausalito, 106 Cal. 500, 39 P. 397; Hicks v. Krigbaum, 13 Ariz. 237, 108 P. 482; State ex rel. Hocknell v. Roper, 47 Neb. 417, 66 N.W. 539; Launtz v. People, 113 Ill. 137; Attorney General v. Shepard, 62 N.H. 383; Rush......
  • Meixell v. Hellertown Borough Council, 7842
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 14, 1952
    ...130 P. 479; Murdoch v. Strange, 99 Md. 89, 57 A. 628; People ex rel. Beasley v. Sausalito, 106 Cal. 500, 39 P. 937; Hicks v. Krigbaum, 13 Ariz. 237, 108 P. 482; State ex rel. Hocknell v. Roper, 47 Neb. 417, 66 N.W. 539; Launtz v. People, 113 Ill. 137; Attorney-General v. Shepard, 62 N.H. 38......
  • Howard v. Luke, Civil 1518
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • April 18, 1917
    ...be noted that this action was brought directly against the school district. We are not unmindful of the fact that in Hicks v. Krigbaum, 13 Ariz. 237, 108 P. 482, the court took jurisdiction of a case and decided it involving the validity of a school bond election in school district No. 2 of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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