People v. Gibbs, No. 190.

CourtSupreme Court of Michigan
Writing for the CourtSTEERE
Citation186 Mich. 127,152 N.W. 1053
PartiesPEOPLE v. GIBBS.
Docket NumberNo. 190.
Decision Date07 June 1915

186 Mich. 127
152 N.W. 1053

PEOPLE
v.
GIBBS.

No. 190.

Supreme Court of Michigan.

June 7, 1915.


Certiorari to Recorder's Court of Detroit; William F. Connolly, Judge.

Lipman A. Gibbs was convicted of violating a city ordinance, and he brings certiorari to review the judgment. Reversed.

Argued before BROOKE, C. J., and McALVAY, KUHN, MOORE, STONE, OSTRANDER, BIRD, and STEERE, JJ.

[152 N.W. 1053]

Doyle & Cameron, of Detroit, for appellant.

William E. Tarsney, of Detroit (Richard I. Lawson, of Detroit, of counsel), for the People.


STEERE, J.

Defendant seeks here by certiorari to review and reverse on constitutional grounds a judgment rendered in the recorder's court of the city of Detroit convicting him of violating an ordinance of said city entitled ‘An ordinance to license and regulate auctioneers and auctions held within the city of Detroit.’ The particular provision of said ordinance, under which he was convicted (section 12a) so far as directly material here, reads thus:

‘No such person doing business as a duly licensed auctioneer shall operate a public auction room, or sell goods at public auction, within the meaning of this ordinance, except on week days between the hours of 8 a. m. and 6 p. m. Any person convicted of a violation of the provisions of this section shall be fined,’ etc., with resulting imprisonment in case of failure to pay said fine.

Section 12 of said ordinance, with which appellant contends section 12a should be construed, is as follows:

‘Sec. 12. Noises Prohibited. No bellman or crier, nor any drum or fife, or other instrument of music, nor any show signal or means of attracting the attention of the public, other than a sign or flag, shall be employed, or suffered or permitted to be used in connection with any auction sale at or near any place of such sale, or at or near any auction room.’

The objections urged and argued against said conviction as set out in appellant's brief, are as follows:

‘(1) The court erred in refusing to rule that the power of the common council of the city of Detroit granted by the charter to license and regulate auctioneers is not sufficient authority to authorize the common council to prohibit auction sales entirely between the hours of 8 o'clock a. m. and 6 o'clock p. m.

‘(2) The court erred in refusing to rule that section 12a of the ordinance in question when construed with section 12 thereof and other sections of said ordinance discloses great want of reasonableness and hence is invalid.

‘(3) The court erred in refusing to rule that section 12a of the ordinance apart from its connection with section 12 is clearly unreasonable, unfair and partial in its operation, and hence invalid. It cannot be by its terms sustained as a legitimate exercise of the police power.

‘(4) The court erred in refusing to rule that this ordinance is in violation of the Constitution of the United States and of this state.’

We do not understand any serious question is or can be raised as to the general power of the city under its charter to enact an ordinance to license and regulate auctioneers and auctions held within its limits, and therein prescribe such regulations as are necessary and appropriate in that connection to eliminate fraud, and protect the public from annoyance and imposition.

[152 N.W. 1054]

Divested of auxiliary elaborations, the substance of defendant's grievance is that the provision of the ordinance prohibiting auction sales in the evening after 6 o'clock during customary evening business hours, is unreasonable and invalid, and is beyond the city's power of regulation, which is limited to protection of public safety, health, and welfare, to which objects this prohibition has no real and substantial relation.

The facts in this record are few and concise, briefly establishing without dispute that defendant was a duly licensed auctioneer, and, on February 14, 1914, the same being a week day, did business as an auctioneer and sold goods at public auction after 6 p. m. at 51 Monroe avenue in said city.

This does not purport to be an ordinance for revenue or to prohibit, but one within the police power, enacted to license, regulate, and control for the public welfare a calling or occupation of that class recognized as peculiarly requiring surveillance for the reason that when unrestrained their inherent tendency is often towards dishonest and annoying methods, inimical to the quiet, good order and general welfare of a community. When rightly conducted the business of an auctioneer is regarded not only as a legitimate calling, but often as a useful and important line of vending in the sum total of business activities. The question therefore arises: Does this provision of the ordinance pass the limit of the power of reasonable regulation?

In reviewing section 12a, which gives rise to the question, it is proper not only to take into consideration section 12, as urged by counsel for appellant, but also the entire ordinance and any fact or matter disclosed by the record which may throw light upon the contention. This ordinance, considered as a whole as originally enacted, is an unusually comprehensive, well worded, logically arranged, and readily understood piece of municipal legislation, keeping well within the scope of its title and the legislative power of the enacting body. It is confined and devoted strictly to the one general object and purpose of authorizing and regulating the business of auctioneering, and to that end licensing certain qualified persons to conduct auction sales, with the well known and generally understood evils attending such business when unrestrained, enumerated, and prohibited. It provides for licensing, as auctioneers, persons of good character, who must pay a stated license fee and give a bond in the sum of $1,000 to faithfully observe all provisions of applicable ordinances, with two freehold sureties, or a surety company, to be approved by the mayor, and imposes proper punishment for engaging in the business without a license. Among its salient restrictions are the following: The purchaser of jewelry of specified kinds at any auction held by a licensed auctioneer may within five days from the date of the sale return the same if not of the quality represented, when, upon demand, the...

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48 practice notes
  • Feldman v. City of Cincinnati, No. 1005-1008.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • July 12, 1937
    ...There, as here, it was charged that the ordinance violated the Fourteenth Amendment. Auctioneering is a lawful business. People v. Gibbs, 186 Mich. 127, 135, 152 N.W. 1053, Ann.Cas.1917B, 830. In the Holsman Case plaintiff claimed that the ordinance did not regulate, but prohibited, the auc......
  • Eanes v. City of Detroit, No. 63.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 29, 1937
    ...bar, so far as it fixes open hours for barbershops, is not within the police power and, in that particular, is void. See People v. Gibbs, 186 Mich. 127, 152 N.W. 1053, Ann.Cas.1917B, 830. [272 N.W. 899]Whether the other provisions, duplicating or complementing state license and regulations,......
  • Todd v. Hull, No. 117.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 12, 1939
    ...did act in good faith. Under the rule above stated the courts have no authority to investigate that question.’ In People v. Gibbs, 186 Mich. 127, 152 N.W. 1053, 1055, Ann.Cas.1917B, 830, it was said: ‘Courts are not concerned with the motives which actuate members of a legislative body in e......
  • Square Lake Hills Condominium Ass'n v. Bloomfield Tp., No. 87631
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • June 11, 1991
    ...the range of conferred discretionary powers and then determine if it is reasonable. Id. at 437, 86 N.W.2d 166. See also People v. Gibbs, 186 Mich. 127, 133, 152 N.W. 1053 (1915); 1426 Woodward Ave Corp v. Wolff, 312 Mich. 352, 371, 20 N.W.2d 217 (1945); State, Co. & Municipal Employees Loca......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
48 cases
  • Feldman v. City of Cincinnati, No. 1005-1008.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • July 12, 1937
    ...There, as here, it was charged that the ordinance violated the Fourteenth Amendment. Auctioneering is a lawful business. People v. Gibbs, 186 Mich. 127, 135, 152 N.W. 1053, Ann.Cas.1917B, 830. In the Holsman Case plaintiff claimed that the ordinance did not regulate, but prohibited, the auc......
  • Eanes v. City of Detroit, No. 63.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 29, 1937
    ...bar, so far as it fixes open hours for barbershops, is not within the police power and, in that particular, is void. See People v. Gibbs, 186 Mich. 127, 152 N.W. 1053, Ann.Cas.1917B, 830. [272 N.W. 899]Whether the other provisions, duplicating or complementing state license and regulations,......
  • Todd v. Hull, No. 117.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • April 12, 1939
    ...did act in good faith. Under the rule above stated the courts have no authority to investigate that question.’ In People v. Gibbs, 186 Mich. 127, 152 N.W. 1053, 1055, Ann.Cas.1917B, 830, it was said: ‘Courts are not concerned with the motives which actuate members of a legislative body in e......
  • Square Lake Hills Condominium Ass'n v. Bloomfield Tp., No. 87631
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • June 11, 1991
    ...the range of conferred discretionary powers and then determine if it is reasonable. Id. at 437, 86 N.W.2d 166. See also People v. Gibbs, 186 Mich. 127, 133, 152 N.W. 1053 (1915); 1426 Woodward Ave Corp v. Wolff, 312 Mich. 352, 371, 20 N.W.2d 217 (1945); State, Co. & Municipal Employees Loca......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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