In re Application of Crane

Decision Date11 September 1915
Citation151 P. 1006,27 Idaho 671
PartiesIn re Application of ED CRANE for Writ of Habeas Corpus
CourtIdaho Supreme Court


1. Chapter 11, Session Laws 1915, providing, among other things that it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, company or corporation, its officers or agents, to sell, manufacture or dispose of any intoxicating liquor or alcohol of any kind within a prohibition district, or to have in his or its possession, or to transport, any intoxicating liquor or alcohol within a prohibition district, unless the same shall have been procured and is so possessed and transported under a permit as in said act provided, is not in contravention of section 1 of the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States, nor of section 13, article 1 of the constitution of Idaho. It was passed by the legislature with a view to the protection of the public health, public morals and public safety, and has a real and substantial relation to those objects; and is, therefore, a reasonable exercise of the police power of the state.

2. The object of the title of an act is to give a general statement of the subject matter, and such a general statement will be sufficient to include all provisions of the act having a reasonable connection with the subject matter mentioned and a reasonable tendency to accomplish its purpose. It is sufficient if the act treats of but one general subject and that subject is expressed in the title.

3. Held, that chapter 11, Session Laws 1915, is not in conflict with article 3, section 16 of the constitution, and is not therefore, unconstitutional or void.

4. Said chapter is of general application to every county in the state alike; and with the electors of the respective counties or their boards of county commissioners, or municipal authorities of any incorporated city or village, is left the decision to accept or reject its terms and conditions. It is therefore, neither a local nor a special act, but a general law, and not in conflict with section 19, article 3 of the constitution.

5. The chapter expressly provides for the purchase and possession of pure alcohol to be used for scientific purposes. Held, that the practice of medicine, surgery, dentistry and dental surgery are sciences, and that pure alcohol may be lawfully procured under the terms of the law in question in the manner provided therein for use in the practice of these professions or for any other scientific purposes.

6. A prohibition district within the meaning of chapter 11 Session Laws 1915, is any county or incorporated city or village wherein the manufacture, sale, possession, keeping for sale, transportation for sale or gift of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes is declared unlawful, whether such prohibition district be established by constitutional amendment, legislative enactment, adoption of the provisions of the local option law, or by refusal of municipal authorities or county commissioners to grant saloon licenses.

7. Held, that the provisions of the chapter are effective in all such prohibition districts within the state, whether created before or after its adoption.

Application for writ of habeas corpus. Writ quashed.

Writ of habeas corpus quashed, and the petitioner remanded.

A. H. Oversmith and J. H. Forney, for Petitioner.

It has been held by all the courts of last resort in the United States, passing upon statutes similar to the one under discussion, that such statutes, prohibiting the mere possession of intoxicating liquor for one's own use, are not a legitimate exercise of the police power, in that such possession is not inherently injurious to the health, morals or safety of the public, and that the enactment of such statutes is an attempt at the abridgment of the privileges and immunities of the citizen, without legal justification, is confiscation of property without due process of law, and that such statutes are void. (Commonwealth v. Campbell, 133 Ky. 50, 117 S.W. 383, 19 Ann. Cas. 159, 24 L. R. A., N. S., 172; Eidge v. Bessemer, 164 Ala. 599, 51 So. 246, 26 L. R. A., N. S., 394; French v. Birmingham, 165 Ala. 669, 51 So. 254; Sullivan v. Oneida, 61 Ill. 242; State v. McIntyre, 139 N.C. 599, 52 S.E. 63; State v. Williams, 146 N.C. 618, 61 S.E. 61, 14 Ann. Cas. 562, 17 L. R. A., N. S., 299; State v. Gilman, 33 W.Va. 146, 10 S.E. 283, 6 L. R. A. 847; Cooley on Constitutional Lim. 549; Black on Intoxicating Liquors, p. 50, sec. 38.)

There is a limit to the police power which the court must, when called upon in a judicial proceeding, ascertain and declare. (State v. Redmon, 134 Wis. 89, 126 Am. St. 1003, 114 N.W. 137, 15 Ann. Cas. 408, 14 L. R. A., N. S., 229; Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 8 S.Ct. 273, 31 L.Ed. 205.)

F. L. Moore, Pros. Atty., for State.

Chapter 11 of the Idaho Session Laws of 1915 does not violate sec. 1 of the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the U.S. ( Foster v. State of Kansas, 112 U.S. 201, 205, 5 S.Ct. 8, 97, 28 L.Ed. 629, and notes; License Cases, Thurlow v. Massachusetts, 5 How. (U.S.) 504, 12 L.Ed. 256; Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 8 S.Ct. 273, 31 L.Ed. 205; Purity Extract & Tonic Co. v. Lynch, 226 U.S. 192, 33 S.Ct. 44, 57 L.Ed. 184; Webb-Kenyon Act, F. Stat. Ann. Sup. 1914, p. 208.)

The possession of property may be made a crime by the state legislature. (Luck v. Sears, 29 Ore. 421, 54 Am. St. 804, 44 P. 693, 32 L. R. A. 738, and cases cited; People of New York ex rel. Silz v. Hesterberg, 211 U.S. 31, 29 S.Ct. 10, 53 L.Ed. 75; Magner v. People, 97 Ill. 320; Purity Extract & Tonic Co. v. Lynch, supra; Rosenthal v. People, 226 U.S. 260, Ann. Cas. 1914B, 71, 33 S.Ct. 27, 57 L.Ed. 212; State v. Lewis, 134 Ind. 250, 33 N.E. 1024, 20 L. R. A. 52; State v. Randolph, 1 Mo.App. 15; Phelps v. Racey, 60 N.Y. 10, 19 Am. Rep. 140; State v. Kenney (Wash.), 145 P. 450; Ah Lim v. Territory, 1 Wash. 156, 24 P. 588, 9 L. R. A. 395.)

H. H. Taylor, Amicus Curiae.

With regard to the right of the legislature to impose further prohibitions upon territory that has become dry by a vote of the people, see Atkinson v. Southern Express Co., 94 S.C. 444, 78 S.E. 516, 48 L. R. A., N. S., 349.

The argument as to harrowing instances of the possibility of this act is met by the language of Ex parte McClain, 134 Cal. 110, 86 Am. St. 243, 66 P. 69, 54 L. R. A. 779.

The legislature may provide against the use of liquor as a beverage except on the prescription of a duly qualified physician. (State v. Osmers, 21 Idaho 18, at 27, 120 P. 165.) It may prohibit the manufacture for personal use. (Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 8 S.Ct. 273, 31 L.Ed. 205.)

This act does not constitute class legislation; local option laws have been almost universally upheld, and such regulation does not constitute class or special legislation. (Vol. 1 Woolen & Thornton, sec. 155.)

The Kentucky constitution takes the case of Commonwealth v. Campbell, 133 Ky. 50, 117 S.W. 383, 19 Ann. Cas. 159, 24 L. R. A., N. S., 172, and other Kentucky cases, out of consideration in this case.

J. H. Peterson, Atty. Genl., E. G. Davis, Herbert Wing and T. C. Coffin, Assts., Amici Curiae.

The legislature, under the police power, has authority to punish the "guilty" possession of intoxicating liquors, meaning by "guilty" a possession for the purpose of violating the law; and if the possession is "innocent," meaning by "innocent" a possession such as is not contrary to the best interests of the public, and affects no one but the person having such possession, the legislature would have no authority whatever, under its police power, to interfere and make such possession a crime. (Rupard v. State, 7 Okla. Cr. 201, 122 P. 1108; Southern Express Co. v. City of High Point, 167 N.C. 103, 83 S.E. 254; State v. Southern Express Co. (N. C.), 83 S.E. 751; Ex parte Hopkins (Tex. Cr.), 171 S.W. 1163; State v. Pope, 79 S.C. 87, 60 S.E. 234; Hunt v. State, 5 Okla. Cr. 257, 114 P. 341; Maynes v. State, 6 Okla. Cr. 487, 119 P. 644; Ex parte Peede (Tex. Cr.), 170 S.W. 749; Longmire v. State (Tex. Cr.), 171 S.W. 1165; Adams Express Co. v. Commonwealth, 154 Ky. 462, 157 S.W. 908, 48 L. R. A., N. S., 342.)

If the court should see fit to construe the 1915 enactment as making only the "guilty" possession of intoxicating liquor unlawful, and as placing the burden upon the defendant in all cases to show the innocence of his possession--in other words, that he has the liquor for a purpose which is protected under his constitutional guaranty--we believe that such a decision would find support in the universally accepted rule of evidence, stated by Jones on Evidence, 2d ed., sec. 181; Caffee v. State (Okla. Cr.), 148 P. 680; Sellers v. State (Okla. Cr.), 149 P. 1071.

The police power of a state does not extend to the deprivation of a citizen of the right to have intoxicating liquors in his possession for his own use. (Town of Selma v. Brewer, 9 Cal.App. 70, 98 P. 61; Sullivan v. City of Oneida, 61 Ill. 242; City of Christopher v. Massotti, 173 Ill.App. 241; State v. Denton, 164 N.C. 530, 80 S.E. 401; State v. Lee, 164 N.C. 533, 80 S.E. 405; Huffman v. State, 6 Okla. Cr. 476, 119 P. 644; Bird v. State (Tenn.), 175 S.W. 554; Ex parte Brown, 38 Tex. Cr. 295, 70 Am. St. 743, 42 S.W. 554; State of West Virginia v. Adams Express Co., 219 F. 794.)

The title specifically limits the keeping or possession of liquor to the keeping for sale. The body of the act is broader than the title in this, that it prohibits the keeping for any purpose. If, however, the...

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