State ex rel. Wright v. Headrick, 7128

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtGIVENS, J.
Citation65 Idaho 148,139 P.2d 761
PartiesSTATE OF IDAHO, on the relation of Calvin E. Wright, State Auditor, and Chas. E. Spoor, Commissioner of Law Enforcement, Plaintiff, v. DON HEADRICK, Sheriff of Ada County, and MARGARET GILBERT, Treasurer of Ada County, Defendants
Docket Number7128
Decision Date14 July 1943

139 P.2d 761

65 Idaho 148

STATE OF IDAHO, on the relation of Calvin E. Wright, State Auditor, and Chas. E. Spoor, Commissioner of Law Enforcement, Plaintiff,
v.

DON HEADRICK, Sheriff of Ada County, and MARGARET GILBERT, Treasurer of Ada County, Defendants

No. 7128

Supreme Court of Idaho

July 14, 1943


1. Statutes

Lodestar of statutory construction is legislative intent.

2. Statutes

The cardinal principle of statutory construction is to save and not to destroy.

3. Statutes

A court must give effect to a statute wherever it is possible to do so and keep within terms of language used.

[65 Idaho 149]

4. Constitutional law

A court should assume that Legislature intended to enact a valid law.

5. Statutes

If statutes as amended are sufficiently definite to enable court to place thereon a reasonable construction and declare legislative intent, they are not so ambiguous as to be unconstitutional for uncertainty.

6. Statutes

The Legislature, in enacting amendments to existing statutes, must have intended to clarify, strengthen, or make some change in the existing statutes.

7. Automobiles

Under statutes relating to drivers' licenses as amended in 1943, the fee of 50 cents for instruction permit and operator's license and $2 for chauffeur's license remains the same regardless of whether application is made to sheriff or directly to department of law enforcement, as against contention that fees are doubled when application is made to sheriff. (Sess. Laws 1943, chaps. 142, 146, 147, 148, 171.)

8. Automobiles

Fees collected for drivers' licenses are "state money", even though collected by sheriffs, and are not "fees" within contemplation of constitutional provision relating to pay of county officers. (Sess. Laws 1943, chaps. 142, 146, 147, 148, 171; Const. art. 18, sec. 8.)

9. Automobiles

Under statutes relating to drivers' licenses as amended in 1943, sheriffs are to cover into county treasury the amounts collected by them for drivers' licenses monthly, to be then transmitted to department of law enforcement also monthly. (Sess. Laws 1943, chaps. 142, 146, 147, 148, 171.)

10. Automobiles

The statutes relating to drivers' licenses as amended in 1943, do not take from sheriff and give to another officer any duty to which he is constitutionally entitled. (Sess. Laws 1943, chaps. 142, 146, 147, 148, 171; Const. art. 18, secs. 6, 11.)

11. Counties

The imposition of new duties upon county officers is authorized by State Constitution. (Const. art. 18, secs. 6, 11.)

[65 Idaho 150]

12. Automobiles

Under statutes relating to drivers' licenses as amended in 1943, applications for chauffeurs' licenses are not made to the assessor but are made as for instruction or operators' licenses. (Sess. Laws 1943, chaps. 142, 146, 147, 148, 171.)

13. Automobiles

Under statutes relating to drivers' licenses as amended in 1943, applications for renewals can be made either to sheriff or directly to department of law enforcement. (Sess. Laws 1943, chaps. 142, 146, 147, 148, 171.)

14. Automobiles

Under statutes relating to drivers' licenses as amended in 1943, where examinations are to be made, applications can be made to sheriffs only. (Sess. Laws 1943, chaps. 142, 146, 147, 148, 171.)

Alternative writ of mandate to compel transmittal of drivers' license funds.

Writ made permanent.

Bert H. Miller, Attorney General, and J. R. Smead, Assistant Attorney General, for plaintiff.

It has been suggested that perhaps the legislature cannot validly impose such a duty on the sheriff. As to this, it seems well settled that the legislature has plenary power to provide a sheriff's duties, limited only if the constitution does not prevent in the particular instance. A sheriff's duties are those at common law except, as modified by the constitution and statutes. (Anderson's Sheriff's, sec. 44.)

A sheriff's duties, when he is a constitutional officer as in Idaho, are the same as they were before the constitution was adopted, except, of course, special provisions of the constitution either restricting or increasing such duties and powers. (Anderson's, sec. 43; State ex rel v. Burnst, 26 Wis. 412, 7 Am. Dec. 84; State v. Malton, (Wash.) 73 P.2d 1334.)

Our constitution provides (art. 18, sec. 11) that county officers shall perform such duties as shall be prescribed by law.

The Arizona constitution (art. 12, sec. 4) provides:

The powers, duties and qualifications of such officers shall be as prescribed by law."

That article, just as in our own constitution, is the [65 Idaho 151] article on county organization. The Arizona case above cited, in view of that article, states as follows:

"Since the sheriff is a county officer, the legislature, under this section, obviously has the power to fix the duties and powers except insofar as it may be limited by other portions of the constitution."

We submit the decision as ample precedent for a like application of our own constitutional provision in this case. If this is correct, then the sheriff in this instance is bound by the statutory provisions of the last legislature, above cited, unless there is elsewhere in our constitution some other provision with which that legislation conflicts. This court has held that county officers have such powers and shall perform such duties as are provided by statute, expressly or impliedly. These holdings are based upon the constitutional provisions above quoted. (Conger v. Board of Commissioners of Latah County, 5 Ida. 347; Schillingford v. Benewah County, 48 Ida. 447; In re Sly, 9 Ida. 772.)

Applicable to the particular situation here considered, this court has also held that a sheriff may be required by statute to collect and pay over state license moneys. (State v. McDonald, 4 Ida. 468-471, 472.)

James W. Blaine, Prosecuting Attorney for Ada County, and M. Oliver Koelsch, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Ada County, for defendants.

Chap. 148 of the 1943 Session Laws does not require the sheriff to turn over any license or application money monthly but rather requires the County Treasurer to monthly turn in whatever money she may have on hand from the sale of motor vehicle licenses by the sheriff. The treasurer is thus permitted to report such money in to the state with any other money she might account for under the provisions of 61-1805, I.C.A., which exacts a monthly settlement by the treasurer with the State Treasurer.

In the case of State v. Cleland, 42 Ida. 803, it is stated that the County Treasurer may in the absence of any statutory direction or prohibition turn over state monies without a County Auditor's certificate, but under the provisions of art. 7, sec. 14 of the constitution any sums received from the sheriff arising out of the sheriff's services under sec. 30-2703 as amended can only be paid out upon proper order issued by the County Auditor. To date no auditor's certificate has issued directing any moneys of the county be sent to the state for receiving and passing on driver's license applications.

V. K. Jeppesen, Prosecuting Attorney for Canyon County; Captain E. M. Sweeley, Prosecuting Attorney for Twin Falls County, and Clarence H. Higer, Prosecuting Attorney for Gem County, amici curiae.

There is nothing in any of the 1943 enactments relating to operators and chauffeurs licenses which would indicate that an increase in fees was intended. Since there is no change in the kind or amount of service to be performed, such an increase would amount to a "tax in the guise of a fee." (Chapman v. Ada County, 48 Ida. 632; In re Gale, 14 Ida. 761).

The state department gets the same revenue it formerly did, for the sheriff when he accepts the application for a license must collect for the state the fee provided (chap. 146, sec. 1) and there fees are to be transmitted to the Department of Law Enforcement. The sheriff must also for his own services collect those fees provided by chap. 171. When so taken, chap. 148, laws of 1943, is not repugnant to the constitution for the fees collected by the sheriff for the state are not either sheriff's of county fees. (Const., art. 18, sec. 17; const., art. 18, secs. 8 and 9; State v. Clelland, 42 Ida. 803.)

If the enactment itself is so framed that it does not bear out, and carry into effect the contents of the title of the act, it is not constitutionally framed, and likewise, if the title of the act fails to suggest to anyone reading it, the contents of the enactment, then the act violates art. 3, sec. 16 of the Idaho constitution, as being deceptive. (Jackson v. Gallet, 30 Ida. 382.; Turner v. Coffin, 9 Ida. 338; Hailey v. Huston, 25 Ida. 165.).

GIVENS, J. Holden, C.J., Ailshie, Budge, and Dunlap, JJ., concur.

OPINION [139 P.2d 762]

[65 Idaho 152] GIVENS, J.

There being divergent and sharply conflicting views as to the legislative intent, correct meaning of, and proper interpretation to be placed upon chap. 142, 1943 S.L., p. 286, chap. 146, p. 291, chap. 147, p. 293, and chap. 171, p. 359, the alternative writ of mandate herein was issued against the defendants, respectively sheriff and treasurer [65 Idaho 153] of Ada County, requiring them to remit monthly the funds for drivers' licenses collected by the sheriff and deposited in the county treasury; or show cause why they refuse.

Plaintiff contends the amended statutes require the sheriff to act as examiner only when appointed and that the fee is left at 50c and $ 2, that remittances are to be made monthly by the sheriff through the County Treasurer, and that placing these additional duties on the sheriff does not contravene art. 18, sec. 11, of the Idaho constitution. The defendants, on the other hand, urge there are the following two questions:

"(1) Shall the sheriff collect and transmit through the County Treasurer to...

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25 practice notes
  • Eberle v. Nielson, No. 8541
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • February 13, 1957
    ...when that can be done by reasonable construction. Scandrett v. Shoshone Co., 63 Idaho 46, 116 P.2d 225; State ex rel. Wright v. Headrick, 65 Idaho 148, 139 P.2d 761; State v. Evans, 73 Idaho 50, 245 P.2d 788; Grice v. Clearwater Timber Co., 20 Idaho 70, 117 P. 112; Continental Life Ins. & I......
  • Petition of Idaho State Federation of Labor, No. 8160
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • June 30, 1954
    ...v. Shoshone County, 63 Idaho 36, 116 P.2d 221; Scandrett v. Shoshone County, 63 Idaho 46, 116 P.2d 225; State ex rel. Wright v. Headrick, 65 Idaho 148, 139 P.2d 761; State v. Groseclose, 67 Idaho 71, 171 P.2d 863; Keenan v. Price, 68 Idaho 423, 195 P.2d Article V, Section 2 of the Constitut......
  • State v. Evans, No. 7849
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • June 16, 1952
    ...that can be done by reasonable construction. Scandrett v. Shoshone County, 63 Idaho 46, 116 P.2d 225; State ex rel. Wright v. Headrick, 65 Idaho 148, 139 P.2d To construe § 18-6607 as requiring or permitting the district judge in imposing sentence to fix the maximum, and that it may be less......
  • State v. Casselman, 7502
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • May 2, 1949
    ...a valid and constitutional law. Northern Pac. R. Co. v. Shoshone County, 63 Idaho 46, 116 P.2d 225; State ex rel. Wright v. Headrick, 65 Idaho 148, 139 P.2d 761. Therefore, it intended the definition in Chapter 266, now general because not restricted, to be the definition essential and conc......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
25 cases
  • Eberle v. Nielson, No. 8541
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • February 13, 1957
    ...when that can be done by reasonable construction. Scandrett v. Shoshone Co., 63 Idaho 46, 116 P.2d 225; State ex rel. Wright v. Headrick, 65 Idaho 148, 139 P.2d 761; State v. Evans, 73 Idaho 50, 245 P.2d 788; Grice v. Clearwater Timber Co., 20 Idaho 70, 117 P. 112; Continental Life Ins. & I......
  • Petition of Idaho State Federation of Labor, No. 8160
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • June 30, 1954
    ...v. Shoshone County, 63 Idaho 36, 116 P.2d 221; Scandrett v. Shoshone County, 63 Idaho 46, 116 P.2d 225; State ex rel. Wright v. Headrick, 65 Idaho 148, 139 P.2d 761; State v. Groseclose, 67 Idaho 71, 171 P.2d 863; Keenan v. Price, 68 Idaho 423, 195 P.2d Article V, Section 2 of the Constitut......
  • State v. Evans, No. 7849
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • June 16, 1952
    ...that can be done by reasonable construction. Scandrett v. Shoshone County, 63 Idaho 46, 116 P.2d 225; State ex rel. Wright v. Headrick, 65 Idaho 148, 139 P.2d To construe § 18-6607 as requiring or permitting the district judge in imposing sentence to fix the maximum, and that it may be less......
  • State v. Casselman, 7502
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • May 2, 1949
    ...a valid and constitutional law. Northern Pac. R. Co. v. Shoshone County, 63 Idaho 46, 116 P.2d 225; State ex rel. Wright v. Headrick, 65 Idaho 148, 139 P.2d 761. Therefore, it intended the definition in Chapter 266, now general because not restricted, to be the definition essential and conc......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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