Lim v. Duncan, 4960

Decision Date02 June 1947
Docket Number4960
Citation181 P.2d 357,65 Ariz. 370
CourtArizona Supreme Court

Proceeding by Him Poy Lim against John A. Duncan Superintendent of Liquor Licenses and Control of the State of Arizona, for a retailer's license to sell packaged wine and beer. From a judgment affirming an order denying the application, applicant appeals.

Appeal dismissed.

Henry R. Merchant and Robert O. Barber, both of Tucson, for appellant.

John L Sullivan, Atty. Gen., and William P. Mahoney, Asst. Atty Gen., for appellee.

Udall Justice. Stanford, C. J., and LaPrade, J., concurring.


Udall, Justice.

The sole matter for determination herein is: Does an appeal to the Supreme Court lie from a superior court judgment sustaining the decision of the State Superintendent of Liquor Licenses and Control in a matter relating to the refusal of the Superintendent to issue a retailer's license? By a minute order this court granted the Attorney General's motion to dismiss the appeal in this case, erroneously basing its ruling upon the authority of Duncan v. Superior Court of Pinal County, 65 Ariz. 193, 177 P.2d 374. Actually that case merely determined that in a liquor transfer matter no appeal would lie to the superior court from a decision of the Superintendent, and hence it is not determinative of the question here presented. Though ordinarily opinions are not written by this court upon determination of a motion for rehearing, the state of the record in this case requires clarification, and the question heretofore stated justifies an answer in our reported decisions.

It appears from the record that Him Poy Lim (appellant) made application to Superintendent Duncan for a retailer's license which would allow him to sell packaged wine and beer at his grocery store in the city of Tucson. The Superintendent denied his application and Him Poy Lim appealed from this order to the Superior Court of Pima County. Sec. 72-109(c), A.C.A.1939. The court sustained the Superintendent's order finding insufficient the showing of "public convenience and necessity" and entered judgment accordingly, whereupon appellant gave timely notice of appeal to the Supreme Court.

Whether appellant here has the right of appeal must be determined solely by the statutes of Arizona, for the right to appeal exists only by force of statute and is limited by its terms. Barth v. Apache County, 18 Ariz. 439, 162 P. 62; Duncan v. Superior Court of Pinal County, supra. And where the right of appeal is neither given nor denied by the Constitution, it is within the discretion of the legislature to say in what cases and under what circumstances an appeal may be taken. Smith v. Trott, 36 Ariz. 166, 283 P. 726.

Specifically, the only provision for appeal contained in the Spirituous Liquors Code, Art 1, Ch. 72, A.C.A.1939, is Sec. 72-109(c), which is concerned entirely with appeals to the superior court. Hence, if an appeal in the case before us properly lies from the judgment of the superior court to the Supreme Court, it must be by force of the general statute covering this subject. Sec. 21-1702(1), so far as here pertinent, provides for appeal to the Supreme Court from decisions of superior courts when (1) the action or proceeding is "brought into a superior court from any other court" (with certain exceptions not here in point); or when (2) an action or proceeding is "commenced in a superior court". (Emphasis supplied.)

It would be an unconscionable strain on the facts to consider the decision of the Superintendent of the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control to be the decision of a court. His modus operandi as set out particularly in Secs. 72-103, 72-105 (a), (b), (d) and 72-108 (a) would deny any such interpretation. He is not required by statute to provide a hearing for an applicant for a liquor license, Lane v. Ferguson, 62 Ariz. 184, 156 P.2d 236, nor is his decision upon such application anywhere termed the decision of a court. In fact, he is held to be an interested party in proceedings before the superior court appealing from his decisions, Lane v. Ferguson, supra, a position he could never occupy were he considered a judge, or his pronouncements those of a court. McCloskey v. Renfro, 47 Ariz. 534, 57 P.2d 1140. Although the Superintendent must use judgment in the proper dispatch of his duties, and to aid him in these duties he is empowered, if necessary, to administer oaths, take testimony, subpoena witnesses, and adopt other methods common to a court, the most that can be said is that he is an administrative officer with the right to exercise limited quasi judicial powers. The following cases impliedly hold such an official is only an administrative officer. Lane v. Ferguson, supra; Smith v. Trott, supra. Therefore this case fails the first requirement for such an appeal in that it is not an action or proceeding brought into the superior court from another court.

If the right to appeal to the Supreme Court here exists, then,...

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14 cases
  • Svendsen v. Ariz. Dep't of Transp.
    • United States
    • Arizona Court of Appeals
    • April 30, 2014
    ...under statute allowing appeals “in an action or special proceeding commenced in a superior court”), and Him Poy Lim v. Duncan, 65 Ariz. 370, 371, 372–73, 181 P.2d 357, 358, 359 (1947) (finding statutory appeal not commenced in superior court). 5. The parties both contend that the newly amen......
  • Stant v. City of Maricopa Emp. Merit Bd.
    • United States
    • Arizona Court of Appeals
    • February 25, 2014
    ...of a “proceeding in the superior court as an appeal ” is conclusive evidence that it is not “commenced” there. 65 Ariz. 370, 372, 181 P.2d 357, 358, 359 (1947). ¶ 9 In short, both the substance and the language of these statutes confirm that the superior court was “functioning in an appella......
  • Mendelsohn v. Superior Court in and for Maricopa County, 5803
    • United States
    • Arizona Supreme Court
    • October 7, 1953 a usurpation of power. It is settled law that the right of appeal exists only by force of positive enactment of law, Him Poy Lim v. Duncan, 65 Ariz. 370, 181 P.2d 357, and that prohibition will lie to prevent an inferior tribunal from entertaining an appeal over which it has no jurisdict......
  • Wesley v. State
    • United States
    • Arizona Court of Appeals
    • October 4, 1977
    ...or revoke a license for violation of the law is quasi-judicial and is based upon the exercise of discretion. Cf. Him Poy Lim v. Duncan, 65 Ariz. 370, 181 P.2d 357 (1947). In other words, the enforcement of liquor laws and regulations is not unlike law enforcement generally and is thus not s......
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