Slater v. State

Citation230 Ala. 320,162 So. 130
Decision Date02 May 1935
Docket Number4 Div. 822
PartiesSLATER v. STATE.
CourtSupreme Court of Alabama

Certiorari to Court of Appeals.

Petition of Emma Jane Slater for certiorari to Court of Appeals to review and revise the judgment and decision of that court in Slater v. State, 162 So. 129.

Writ granted; reversed and remanded.

Guy W Winn, of Clayton, for the motion.

A.A Carmichael, Atty. Gen., opposed.

BOULDIN Justice.

The important question presented on this petition for certiorari to the Court of Appeals is: Does an affidavit charging defendant with a "violation of the prohibition law" support the issuance of a warrant of arrest, a judgment of conviction of the defendant in the county court, and a judgment of the circuit court on appeal convicting defendant of having possession of prohibited liquors?

The inquiry goes to the constitutional guaranties of due process of law. Among these are the provisions of the Bill of Rights forbidding the issuance of a warrant of arrest "without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation" (Const. § 5); and the right of the accused to "demand the nature and cause of the accusation" (Const. § 6).

Our statute of long standing, designed to avoid the miscarriage of justice upon technical grounds, has provided that in charging misdemeanors in the county court the affidavit taken by the judge or a justice of the peace is sufficiently specific as to the offense charged in "designating the misdemeanor by name, or by some other phrase which in common parlance designates it." Code, § 3815.

This statute recognizes the essential requirement that the warrant must "designate" the misdemeanor in such manner that the man of ordinary intelligence may know what offense he is called upon to answer.

Our prohibition laws contain special provisions designed to aid in their enforcement. Among these, it is provided: "*** In an indictment, complaint or affidavit for selling offering for sale, keeping for sale, or otherwise disposing of prohibited liquors and beverages, it is sufficient to charge that the defendant sold, offered for sale, kept for sale or otherwise disposed of prohibited liquors and beverages, and on the trial under a charge in either form, any act of selling in violation of law embraced in the charge may be proved, and the charge in each of said forms shall be held to include any device or substitute for any of said liquors," with further provisions that the kind or quantity of prohibited liquors manufactured or sold need not be alleged, nor the name of the person to whom sold. Code, § 4644.

It is further provided that the indictment or affidavit may charge several offenses against the prohibition laws in separate counts, etc. Code, § 4645.

These statutes do not undertake to authorize a blanket charge of violating the prohibition law, but look to a designation of the offense, or of several related offenses, each sufficiently specified, in one indictment or affidavit.

The prohibition law of Alabama is embodied in chapter 167 of the Code, consisting of 16 articles, sections 4615 to 4800, inclusive, together with legislative acts since the adoption of the Code of 1923.

It is quite an inclusive system of laws with the declared purpose of suppressing the evils of intemperance. This end is sought to be attained by prohibiting the "manufacture," the "sale or giving away," the "transportation," the "storage," and finally the "possession" of prohibited liquors therein elaborately defined.

It creates many offenses, both misdemeanors and felonies. Among misdemeanors are those relating to the sale, disposition, or possession, and others relating to administrative features of the law, including derelictions of public officers. Among felonies are manufacturing prohibited liquors, possessing a still, and the five-gallon law.

A further catalogue of specific offenses is deemed unnecessary.

The ruling of the Court of Appeals holding the affidavit sufficient in the instant case is in harmony with the decisions of that court for some years. See Denham v. State, 18 Ala.App. 145, 90 So. 129, which, in turn, followed and quoted the following from Thomas v. State, 13 Ala.App. 421, 69 So. 413:

" 'The terms violating the prohibition law have by common usage, both on the part of the laity and of the reviewing courts of the state by the employment of the expression in their opinions, acquired a definite signification in this state, and mean an offense against the laws prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or other disposition of spirituous, vinous, or malt liquors; and therefore it would seem that to charge in an affidavit and warrant that a named person had "violated the prohibition law" would be sufficient to give the officer jurisdiction to hear and determine the guilt of the person charged with respect to any offense falling within the designated class, *** and *** they would not be ***
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32 cases
  • City of Dothan v. Holloway
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • July 25, 1986
    ...have held that a void affidavit will prevent the trial court from obtaining jurisdiction to try the case. See, e.g., Slater v. State, 230 Ala. 320, 162 So. 130 (1935); Kyser v. State, 22 Ala.App. 431, 117 So. 157, cert. denied, 217 Ala. 561, 117 So. 159 (1928). Although the decisions render......
  • Smith v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • February 25, 2005
    ...have held that a void affidavit will prevent the trial court from obtaining jurisdiction to try the case. See, e.g., Slater v. State, 230 Ala. 320, 162 So. 130 (1935); Kyser v. State, 22 Ala.App. 431, 117 So. 157, cert. denied, 217 Ala. 561, 117 So. 159 (1928). Although the decisions render......
  • Sanders v. City of Birmingham, 6 Div. 601
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • December 30, 1988
    ...misdemeanor in such manner that the man of ordinary intelligence may know what offense he is called upon to answer.' Slater v. State, 230 Ala. 320, 321, 162 So. 130 (1935)." City of Dothan v. Holloway, 501 So.2d 1175, 1176 In Corum, this court held that, if an offense is not circled in the ......
  • Hereford v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • September 18, 1992
    ...officer investigating the crime. 2. Slater v. State, 26 Ala.App. 466, 467, 162 So. 129, 130, reversed on other grounds, 230 Ala. 320, 162 So. 130 (1935), involved a prosecution for a violation of the prohibition law by the possession of intoxicating liquor. It appears that the appellate cou......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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