Scott v. State

Decision Date02 July 1907
Citation44 So. 544,152 Ala. 63
PartiesSCOTT v. STATE.
CourtAlabama Supreme Court

Appeal from Circuit Court, Perry County; B. M. Miller, Judge.

Spence Scott was convicted of discharging a gun along or across a public highway, and he appeals. Reversed and remanded.

William F. Hogue, for appellant.

Alexander M. Garber, Atty. Gen., for the State.


This appeal presents for construction section 5354 of the Code of 1896, which reads as follows: "Any person, who discharges a gun, or any other kind of firearms, along or across any public road, must, on conviction be fined not less than ten, nor more than fifty dollars." "The primary object of all rules for interpreting statutes is to ascertain the legislative intent, or exactly the meaning which the citizen is authorized to understand the Legislature intended." "Where the legislative meaning is plain there is not only no occasion for rules to aid in the interpretation, but it is contrary to the rules to employ them. The courts have simply to enforce the statute according to its obvious terms." Bishop on Statutory Crimes (3d Ed.) §§ 70, 72; Reese's Case, 73 Ala. 18. "A penal statute cannot be extended by implication or construction to cases within the mischief, if they are not at the same time within the terms of the act, fairly and reasonably interpreted." Bishop on Statutory Crimes, § 190e; Huffman's Case, 29 Ala. 40; Young's Case, 58 Ala 358. In the case last cited this court said: "One who commits an act which does not come within the words of a penal statute, according to the general and popular understanding of them, when they are not used technically, is not to be punished thereby merely because the act contravenes the policy of the statute." Again, such statutes are to reach no further in meaning than their words. People v. Peacock, 98 Ill. 172. "No person is to be made subject to them by implication, and all doubts concerning their interpretation are to preponderate in favor of the accused. Only those transactions are covered by them which are within both their spirit and their letter, reasonably interpreted." Bishop on Statutory Crimes, § 194; Cearfoss' Case, 42 Md. 403.

The contention of the state in this case is that it makes no difference in what direction the gun or firearm is discharged, if the person firing it is at the time standing near the road. This contention, it is obvious, would make guilty one who, standing near the road, with his back to it should shoot straight in front of him, in a direction opposite to the road, or directly above his head. Manifestly this interpretation makes the words "along and across" refer to the position of the person while discharging the gun or firearm, and not to the direction in which the gun may be fired, and...

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10 cases
  • Railroad Commission of Alabama v. Alabama Great Southern R. Co.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • June 30, 1913
    ...strictly construed, but not so strictly as to defeat the obvious intention of the Legislature. Reese v. State, 73 Ala. 18; Scott v. State, 152 Ala. 63, 44 So. 544. The plainly indicated intention of the Legislature, passing that part of the act approved February 23, 1907 (Gen.Acts 1907, pp.......
  • State v. Burchfield
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • June 19, 1928
    ...... penalties sought to be imposed are uncertain. . . "Considering. the objection to the act in inverse order to that as. presented, the same is not unconstitutional and void on the. ground that the penalties provided are uncertain and. undeterminable. Scott v. State, 152 Ala. 63, 44 So. 544; State v. Goldstein, 207 Ala. 569, 582, 583, 93. So. 308. They are certain and determinable. Miller v. Strahl, 239 U.S. 426, 36 S.Ct. 147, 60 L.Ed. 364;. Waters-Pierce Oil Co. v. Texas, 212 U.S. 86, 29. S.Ct. 220, 53 L.Ed. 417; Nash v. United States, 229. ......
  • A.Z. v. State, CR–15–0815
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • April 28, 2017
    ...interpretation are to predominate in favor of the accused.’ " ’ Fuller, 257 Ala. at 505, 60 So.2d at 205 (quoting Scott v. State, 152 Ala. 63, 64, 44 So. 544, 545 (1907) (quoting in turn Bishop on Statutory Crimes § 194))." S.T.E. v. State, 954 So.2d 604, 607–08 (Ala. Crim. App. 2006). S.T.......
  • Fuller v. State
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • May 15, 1952
    ...their letter, reasonably interpreted.' Bishop on Statutory Crimes, § 194; Cearfoss' Case [Cearfoss v. State], 42 Md. 403.' Scott v. State, 152 Ala. 63, 64, 44 So. 544. A comparison of §§ 200, 201, 202, 203 and 204, Title 14, Code of 1940, shows a legislative purpose to make the subjects of ......
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