State ex rel. Kenamore v. Wood

Decision Date27 March 1900
Citation56 S.W. 474,155 Mo. 425
PartiesSTATE ex rel. KENAMORE v. WOOD et al
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

Rule made absolute.

Edward C. Crow, Attorney-General, Sam B. Jeffries, Assistant Attorney-General, and W. M. Williams for relator.

(1) It is not necessary, in order to justify resort to prohibition that the proceedings of the lower court should be so far beyond its legitimate authority that they would be held void in a collateral proceeding. "Where a court or judge assumes to exercise a judicial power not granted by law, it matters not (so far as concerns the right to a prohibition) whether the exhibition of power occurs in a case which the court is not authorized to entertain at all, or is merely an excessive and unauthorized application of judicial force in a cause otherwise properly cognizable by the court or judge in question." Railroad v. Wear, 135 Mo. 256; Quimbo Appo v. People, 20 N.Y. 540. The appellate courts will exercise their supervisory control over inferior tribunals by the use of this writ if they exceed the bounds of their legitimate authority, whenever the exigencies of the particular case require immediate action. State ex rel v. Elkins, 130 Mo. 90; State ex rel. v Hirtzel, 137 Mo. 447; 16 Ency. of Plead. and Pr., p 1131. A court of equity may be restrained by prohibition and kept within the proper lines of its jurisdiction, as well as a court at law. Wear's case, 135 Mo. 230. Where the absence of jurisdiction in the lower court is apparent upon the face of the record, the party applying for a writ of prohibition need not show that a plea to the jurisdiction was filed and overruled by that court; nor is such a plea essential where it plainly appears that it would have been a useless formality, or where the proceedings were ex parte and no opportunity was given to present the objection. Havemeyer v. The Superior Court, 10 L. R. A. 648; State ex rel. v. Hirtzel, supra. The lower court, having entertained jurisdiction of the suit for an injunction, and granted a temporary restraining order, the relator herein was not compelled to wait for further action before applying to this court for relief. There is no inflexible rule concerning the stage of the proceedings in the lower court at which an application for prohibition may be made. 16 Ency. of Pl. and Pr., p. 1133. While the circuit court of the city of St Louis has power to grant injunctions, it is not authorized so to do, unless the case presented to it is one cognizable in equity, and over which a court of equity has jurisdiction. The circuit courts of this State have no jurisdiction to grant injunctions in ordinary suits at law. The case presented must belong to a class calling for equitable relief to justify the remedies which can only be obtained in a court of chancery. Holden v. Vaughan, 64 Mo. 588; 1 High on Injunctions (3 Ed.), p. 29; United Lines Tel. Co. v. Grant, 32 N.E. 1005; 10 Am. & Eng. Ency. of Law (1 Ed.), 792. Notwithstanding the circuit court of the city of St. Louis had power to issue injunctions in proper cases, yet, "if a court of equity in awarding an injunction proceeds without authority or jurisdiction, a writ of prohibition will lie to prevent further proceedings therein by such court." 1 High on Injunctions (3 Ed.), sec. 43; Swinbourne v. Smith, 15 W. V. 483. (2) The lower court, upon the case presented to it, was without authority to restrain the State Beer Inspector from carrying out the provisions of the act of May 4, 1899. Equity has no jurisdiction to restrain the enforcement of a statute imposing an excise duty, a license or inspection fee, or a tax upon privileges or one upon personal property on the sole ground that said statute is in conflict with the Federal and State Constitutions. Thomas v. Rowe, 22 S.E. 157; Shelton v. Platt, 139 U.S. 591; Allen v. Pullman Palace Car Co., 139 U.S. 658; Franklin v. Apple, 73 S.W. 259; Yellowstone Kit v. Wood, Tax Collector, 43 S.W. 1068; United Lines Tele. Co. v. Grant, 32 N.E. 1005; First Nat. Bank v. Meredith, 44 Mo. 500; Barlow v. Davis, 46 Mo. 394. One of the principal objects sought to be accomplished by the bill presented to the lower court was to restrain the enforcement of the penalties and forfeitures denounced by section ten of the act, against any person who should sell beer or malt liquor which had not been inspected as required therein. One of the grounds relied upon for relief is that the act in question "provides for heavy fines and penalties and the imprisonment of all brewers who fail to conform to its provisions, and who sell their product without submitting the same to such inspection, and who fail to pay the unconstitutional tax imposed by said act." The fines and forfeitures provided by section 10 are to be recovered by criminal prosecutions. A court of equity has no jurisdiction to grant injunctions against such prosecutions, as was done by the preliminary order of the lower court, and as the plaintiffs evidently seek to have done by the final decree in this case in the circuit court. Yellowstone Kit v. Wood, Tax Collector, 43 S.W. 1068; Ex parte Sawyer, 124 U.S. 200; Crighton v. Dahmer, 70 Miss. 602; Fitts v. McGhee, 172 U.S. 531; Beach on Injunctions, 574; Machine Co. v. Fletcher, 44 Ark. 139; Hensley v. Myers, 45 F. 283. An injunction, although not issued against the prosecuting attorneys of the State, may violate the rule, that courts of equity are powerless to restrain criminal prosecutions. Crighton v. Dahmer, 70 Miss. 602; Yellowstone Kit v. Wood, Tax Collector, 43 S.W. 1068; Ex parte Sawyer, 124 U.S. 200. A criminal prosecution can not be restrained by a court of equity even though such prosecution grows out of an unconstitutional statute violative of the complainant's property rights. Fitts v. McGhee, 172 U.S. 531. A court of equity having no jurisdiction to grant an injunction to restrain criminal prosecutions, its decree in such cases is null and void, and a party imprisoned for violating such injunction may be released upon habeas corpus. Ex parte Sawyer, 124 U.S. 200. Certainly, if this may be done, prohibition will lie. Equity has no jurisdiction to restrain the enforcement of an inspection law on the sole ground that the act is unconstitutional. Franklin v. Appel, 73 S.W. 259. The lower court had no jurisdiction to determine the validity of the act creating the office of beer inspector, and the relator's title to it, and his right to execute the duties thereof. Johnson v. Garrisk, 20 N.Y.S. 327. (3) The act of May 4, 1899, is not in conflict with the Federal Constitution. It does not violate section 10, article I, of said Constitution. Said section has reference only to duties on articles imported from foreign countries. Woodfall v. Parker, 8 Wallace, 123. Whether the charge, duty or inspection fee is excessive is not a judicial question. Congress alone has the power to revise the State laws upon that subject. Patapsco Guano Co. v. Board of Agr. of N. C., 171 U.S. 345; Nelson v. Garza, 2 Woods 287. There is no discrimination against beer manufactured in other States, and hence the act does not violate any provision in reference to interstate commerce. Henson v. Lott, 8 Wal. 148. (4) The statute under consideration is not in conflict with any provision of the Constitution of this State. The inspection fee exacted by it is not a tax upon property. Cooley on Taxation, 586; Black on Intoxicating Liquors, sec. 39; State ex rel. v. Hudson, 78 Mo. 303; Albrecht v. State, 34 Am. Dec. 737; State v. Frame, 39 Oh. St. 414. It is within the power of the Legislature to tax the liquor traffic, wholesale, as well as retail, and an act providing for the taxing of such business is not a bill to raise revenue, but simply an exercise of the police powers of the State. 11 Am. and Eng. Ency. of Law (1 Ed.), 592; Black on Intoxicating Liquors, sec. 55. The State has plenary power to regulate the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors within its borders. It may entirely prohibit the same, or permit it upon such terms as the Legislature imposes. The State may, in the exercise of its police powers provide for the inspection of beer and other malt liquors by officers chosen for that purpose, and may fix the charges for such inspection. Having the right to absolutely prohibit, it may authorize the sale and manufacture upon condition that the charges which it makes for its official inspection shall be paid into the state treasury. There is no provision of the state Constitution which requires that the charges for an official inspection shall be limited to the amount of compensation paid to the officer who may do the work for the State and in its name. The State may annex to its permission to manufacture and sell beer and other malt liquors, within its borders, a condition precedent that the inspection fee charged by it shall be paid. It may annex such conditions as to the State may seem best to control and regulate the business. Black on Intoxicating Liquors, sec. 39; State v. Huddington, 33 Wis. 107; Vance v. Vanderhook Co., 170 U.S. 438; Albrecht v. State, 34 Am. Rep. 737; State ex rel. v. Hudson, 78 Mo. 302; Ins. Co. v. Herriott, 80 N.W. 665. (5) Courts of equity have no jurisdiction to grant relief by injunction where there is a plain, adequate and complete remedy at law. The facts alleged must show the absence of a legal remedy, and this is a jurisdictional matter. The simple allegation that plaintiff is without a remedy at law, and that the damages that he will sustain on account of the threatened action are irreparable, is a mere inference or conclusion. Traversable facts must be alleged from which the court can see, as a matter of law, that jurisdiction in equity exists. Verdin v. St. Louis, 131 Mo. 27; Shelton v. Platt, 139 U.S. 591; Allen v. Pullman Palace Car Co., 139 U.S....

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