State v. Derbyshire

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Citation140 P. 540,79 Wash. 227
Docket Number11,762.
PartiesSTATE ex rel. LINDSEY v. DERBYSHIRE, Clerk of Superior Court.
Decision Date25 April 1914

Department 1. Appeal from Superior Court, Spokane County; E. H Sullivan, Judge.

Proceedings by the State, on the relation of E. R. Lindsey, against Glenn B. Derbyshire, as Clerk of the Superior Court of Spokane County, Washington. From an order denying a peremptory writ of mandate, relator appeals. Affirmed.

Laws 1913, c. 126, §§ 1-13, providing for the appointment of official court reporters, prescribing their duties and providing for their compensation, held not a revenue act so that it did not violate Const. art. 7, §§ 1, 2, and 9 requiring a uniform and equal rate of taxation.

Codd Hutchinson & Codd, of Spokane, for appellant.

Cannon, Ferris & Swan, Geo. H. Crandall, and Ira Honefenger, all of Spokane, for respondent.


This is an appeal by the relator from an order of the superior court of Spokane county sitting en banc, refusing a peremptory writ of mandate to compel the defendant, as clerk of the court, to file a complaint in a civil action, tendered for filing by the relator, with the $4 filing fee prescribed by Rem. & Bal. Code, § 497, but without tender of the additional $1, required by chapter 126, Session Laws of 1913, p. 386 et seq. The act is entitled: 'An act providing for the appointment of official court reporters in the state of Washington, prescribing their duties, oath of office, and qualifications, and providing for their compensation and the manner of their appointment.' The provisions of the act may be condensed as follows: Section 1 makes it the duty of each superior court judge, in counties or judicial districts having a population of over 30,000, to appoint an official court stenographer, prescribes the standard of qualifications for eligibility, provides for removal for incompetency, misconduct, or neglect of duty, and fixes the official bond of the person so appointed. Section 2 provides for the taking of accurate shorthand notes of the testimony, exceptions, and all other oral proceedings in each cause by such stenographer upon request of either party or upon direction of the presiding judge, of his own motion, and for the filing of such notes in the office of the clerk of the trial court. Section 3 provides for payment of the official reporter at the rate of $10 per diem of actual attendance, pursuant to direction of the court, out of the county treasury as other expenses of the court are paid. Section 4 declares: 'In each civil action hereafter commenced the sum of one dollar ($1) shall be paid by the plaintiff at the time of the filing of the complaint to the clerk of the court, and at the time of the appearance of the defendant, or any defendant appearing separately, there shall be paid in to the clerk of the court one dollar ($1), and these sums so paid shall be taxed as costs in the case, and collected from the unsuccessful party in said action, and shall be known as stenographers' costs, and shall be paid by the clerk of said court into the county treasury of the county in which said action is commenced.' Section 5 provides that, on request of the court or of either party or of his attorney, the official reporter shall make an accurate transcript of the testimony and other proceedings, which, when certified as provided, shall be filed with the clerk for the use of the court or either party, and prescribes fees of 15 cents per folio for the original, and five cents per folio for carbon copies of such transcripts, to be taxed as other costs, and closes with the proviso: 'That when the defendant in any criminal cause shall present to the judge presiding satisfactory proof, by affidavit or otherwise, that he is unable to pay for such transcript, the presiding judge, if in his opinion justice will thereby be promoted, may order said transcript to be made by the official reporter, in which case the official reporter shall be paid for preparing said transcript ten cents per folio for the original copy and five cents per folio for each carbon copy ordered at the same time as the original or made at the same time as the original, which transcript fee shall be paid in like manner as the per diem fees are paid as specified in section three of this act.' Section 6 provides that the report of the official reporter, when certified as provided, shall be prima facie a correct statement of such testimony or other oral proceedings, and may thereafter, in any civil cause, be read in evidence as competent testimony upon proof that the witness who gave it is then dead or without the jurisdiction of the court, subject to all objections as though the witness were present and testifying in person. Section 7 provides for the certification of the transcript of the notes of an official reporter after he has ceased to be such. Section 8 provides for the appointment of a reporter pro tem. in the absence or inability of the official reporter to act. Section 9 makes the official reporter the amanuensis to the court under certain conditions, except in counties of the first class. Section 10 insures the use of the files by the official reporters or reporters pro tem. on giving the clerk a receipt therefor. Section 11 provides that supplies for reporting criminal cases shall be furnished by the county, and that such supplies in all other cases shall be furnished by the stenographer. Section 12 provides for the substitution, on request of either party, of another reporter from the same or another judicial district to report a given action. Section 13 declares: 'This act shall not apply to any county having a population of two hundred thousand, or over.'

It is admitted that Spokane county constitutes a judicial district and has a population of over 30,000 and less than 200,000.

The appellant contends that the act is void for the following reasons: (1) That it embraces subjects not germane to that expressed in its title, thus impinging section 19 of article 2 of the state Constitution, which provides that no bill shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in its title; (2) that the act is, in effect, a taxing act, impinging sections 1, 2, and 9 of article 7 of the state Constitution, which provide, respectively, for taxation of property in proportion to value, for taxation upon a uniform and equal rate, and that taxation for corporate purposes by municipalities shall be uniform with respect to persons and property; (3) that the act makes an arbitrary classification of the counties of the state, thus impinging paragraph 6 of section 28 of article 2 of the state Constitution, which prohibits the Legislature from enacting any private or special laws for granting corporate powers or privileges, and section 12 of article 1, prohibiting the granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation, other than municipal, privileges or immunities which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens or corporations; (4) that the act is violative of section 4, art. 11, of the state Constitution, guaranteeing uniform laws for county government, and section 5 of the same article, prescribing uniform laws for the election of county and township officers; (5) that the act denies to the citizens of the state equal protection of the laws, contravening the first section of the fourteenth amendment to the federal Constitution.

1. The appellant argues that the provision in section 4 of the act for an additional filing fee of $1 invalidates the act urging that this is a matter in no way germane to the subject expressed in the title. The mention of a given subject in the title is notice of all things germane to that subject in the act. We have so held in a multitude of cases. 'This court has often held that the title of an act, in order to comply with the constitutional provisions above quoted, need not be an index to the contents of the act; that the purpose of the title is to call attention to the subject-matter of the act so that any one reading it may know what matter is being legislated upon, and it is sufficient when it is broad enough to accomplish that purpose. For the various provisions constituting the act, the body of the act must be consulted; the title being neither expected nor required to give details. State v. Scott, 32 Wash. 279, 73 P. 365; State v. Fraternal Knights and Ladies, 35 Wash. 338, 77 P. 500; Weed v. Goodwin, 36 Wash. 31, 78 P. 36; State ex rel. Osborne, Tremper & Co. v. Nichols, 38 Wash. 309, 80 P. 462; State ex rel. Zenner v. Graham, 34 Wash. 81, 74 P. 1058; Shortall v. Puget Sound Bridge & Dredging Co., 45 Wash. 290, 88 P. 212 ; State v. Winsor, 50 Wash. 407, 97 P. 446.' State ex rel. Zent v. Nichols, 50 Wash. 508, 518, 97 P. 728, 730. See, also, State v. Hall, 24 Wash. 255, 64 P. 153; Seattle National Bank v. Ally, 66 Wash. 610, 120 P. 94; National Surety Co. v. Bratnober Lumber Co., 67 Wash. 601, 122 P. 337; Hambach v. Ward, 69 Wash. 351, 125 P. 140; Sorenson v. Kittitas Reclamation Dist., 70 Wash. 528, 127 P. 102. The title here in question expressly indicates that the act includes provisions for the appointment, duties, and qualifications of official court reporters, and contains provision for their compensation. Clearly, the act is intended to cover the whole subject of official reporters, and the title so indicates. It would seem that no more than a bare statement of the fact should be necessary to demonstrate that any provision for their compensation, whether by fees, legislative appropriation, or otherwise, is germane to a title expressly stating that the act contains matter 'providing for their compensation.' A thing so self-evident cannot be further clarified by argument, or reinforced by citation of...

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