State v. Hill, No. 48148

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtBLISS; SMITH
Citation57 N.W.2d 58,244 Iowa 405
Docket NumberNo. 48148
Decision Date10 February 1953
PartiesSTATE v. HILL.

Page 58

57 N.W.2d 58
244 Iowa 405
STATE

v.
HILL.
No. 48148.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
Feb. 10, 1953.

[244 Iowa 407] Robert L. Larson, Atty. Gen., Raphael R. R. Dvorak, Asst. Atty. Gen., and M. C. Herrick, County Atty., Indianola, for appellant.

Hall & Ewalt, Indianola, for appellee.

Page 59

BLISS, Justice.

I. The state appeals under section 793.20, Code of 1950, I.C.A., not to deprive the defendant of the benefit and finality of the judgment, but to determine a question of law inhering in the ruling of the district court, which may be an aid and guide for trial courts in the future. The appeal is proper under the following decisions and authorities cited therein. State v. Traas, 230 Iowa 826, 828, 298 N.W. 862; State v. Schreck, 231 Iowa 542, 543-544, 1 N.W.2d 690; State v. Kellison, 233 Iowa 1274, 1276, 11 N.W.2d 371; State v. Reickenbach, 235 Iowa 731, 17 N.W.2d 530; State v. De Marce, 237 Iowa 648, 649, 23 N.W.2d 441; State v. Tomlinson, 239 Iowa 323, 324-325, 31 N.W.2d 384.

II. It is an ancient rule, which has been long recognized by this Court that penal laws and criminal statutes are inelastic, and are to be strictly construed and not held to include charges plainly without the fair scope and intendment of the language of the statute, though within its reason and policy, and in the event of doubts they are to be resolved in favor of the accused. State v. Lovell, 23 Iowa 304, 305; State v. Julien, 48 Iowa 445, 447; Hanks v. Brown, 79 Iowa 560, 561, 44 N.W. 811; State v. Wignall, 150 Iowa 650, 656, 128 N.W. 935, 34 L.R.A.,N.S., 507; State v. Andrews, 167 Iowa 273, 277, 149 N.W. 245; State v. Campbell, 217 Iowa 848, 853, 251 N.W. 717, 92 L.R.A. 1176; State v. Cooper, 221 Iowa 658, 666, 265 N.W. 915; State v. Brighi, 232 Iowa 1087, 1089, 7 N.W.2d 9; State v. Schultz, 242 Iowa 1328, 1333, 50 N.W.2d 9. Reannouncing this rule, the court in Kuhn v. Kuhn, 125 Iowa 449, 452-453, 101 N.W. 151, 152, quoted with approval, the words of Chief Justice Marshall in United States v. Wiltberger, 5 Wheat. 76, 5 L.Ed. 37; '* * * It is the Legislature, not the court, which is to define crime and ordain its punishment. It is said that, notwithstanding this rule, the intention of the lawmakers must govern in the construction of penal as well as other statutes. This is true. But this is [244 Iowa 408] not a new, independent rule which subverts the old. It is a modification of the ancient maxim, and amounts to this: that, though penal laws are to be construed strictly, they are not to be construed so strictly as to defeat the obvious intention of the Legislature. The maxim is not to be so applied as to narrow the words of the statute to the exclusion of cases which those words, in their ordinary acceptation, or in that sense in which the Legislature has obviously used them, would comprehend.'

Chapter 124 of the 1950 Code, I.C.A., entitled 'Beer and Malt Liquors', provides in section 124.1, thereof that it is unlawful for any person to sell beer unless he has a permit issued as provided in that chapter. Permits classed as 'A', 'B' and 'C' are provided for in that chapter. The holder of a class 'B' permit is authorized to sell beer on specified premises for consumption, off the premises, and on the premises if consumed with food served and there is equipment to so serve twenty-five persons at one time. Consideration of class 'C' permits may be disregarded in this appeal since, under section 124.10, Code of 1950, I.C.A., they shall be issued only to the proprietor of a grocery store or pharmacy, and defendant was operating a tavern.

Section 124.20, among other provisions not pertinent here, provides: '* * * It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, give or make available to any minor or to permit any minor to purchase or consume any beer on the premises of a class 'B' or class 'C' permit holder, or for any minor to buy or attempt to buy or to secure or attempt to secure beer from any person, and it shall further be unlawful for any person to offer beer, with or without consideration, to any minor, except within a private home and with the knowledge and consent of the parent or guardian of said minor. A violation of the provisions of this paragraph by any holder of a class 'B' or class 'C' permit or any of his agents or employees in connection with the operation of a beer business under said class 'B' or class 'C' permit shall be a mandatory ground for revocation of said permit, in addition to other mandatory grounds provided in this chapter.'

Page 60

The grand jury of Warren County, Iowa, on March 25, 1952, returned an indictment against the defendant accusing him of the crime of selling beer to a minor, in said county on January 17, [244 Iowa 409] 1952, at his tavern in Martensdale contrary to the provisions of section 124.20 of the 1950 Code of Iowa, I.C.A. He pleaded not guilty, and trial was had.

A duly certified photostat from the department of vital statistics showed that the minor was born June 17, 1932. He testified that on the evening of January 17, 1952, the defendant sold him at his tavern in Martensdale, known as 'Ray's Tavern', a bottle of beer which he consumed at the tavern, and a carton of six bottles of beer for which he paid defendant $1.50; that he drank who bottles out of the carton as he was driving on the highway toward his home; that he had previously bought and drank beer in defendant's tavern. Two companions testified to his entering the tavern without any beer and of returning to the automobile with the carton of beer.

A member of the Iowa Highway Patrol testified that on the evening of January 17, 1952, he stopped the car driven by the minor in which his two companions were riding and found the carton with four bottles of beer. He took the minor and the carton with the four bottles of beer to the office of the sheriff of Warren County, who produced them at trial. He and another patrolman and the sheriff testified that on the 18th day of January, 1952, they interviewed the defendant at his tavern about the sale of the beer to the said minor, and defendant admitted that he had sold the person described the bottle of beer which he drank at the bar, and also the carton of beer, and that the purchaser had been at the tavern on previous occasions, on one of which he had shown him written verification that he was twenty-one years old.

At the close of the plaintiff's testimony it offered Exhibit S-3, being a copy of defendant's class 'B' permit, with the certificate of the town clerk attached, as follows:

'State Of Iowa Beer Permit Class B.'

'The permittee herein, having complied with the Statutes of the State of Iowa, in making application for a Class B Permit to Sell Beer in this State, and with requirements of Town Council of Martensdale, Iowa, this...

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17 practice notes
  • State v. Drosos, No. 50462
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 3, 1962
    ...on the ground that it was not mentioned in the notice of additional testimony is also without merit. In the recent case of State v. Hill, 244 Iowa 405, 415, 57 N.W.2d 58, we pointed out that the provisions of Section 780.10 of the Code, I.C.A., apply only to additional witnesses, not to doc......
  • State v. Nelson, No. 53789
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 23, 1970
    ...and policy, and in the event of doubts they are to be resolved in favor of the accused. State v. Lovell, 23 Iowa 304, 305; State v. Hill, 244 Iowa 405, 407, 57 N.W.2d 58, 59, and cases therein cited. Kuhn v. Kuhn, 125 Iowa 449, 451--452, 101 N.W. 151, In United States v. Wiltberger, 18 U.S.......
  • State v. Haesemeyer, No. 49024
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 11, 1956
    ...of law the determination of which will be beneficial or a guide to trial courts in the future. See Code section 793.20; State v. Hill, 244 Iowa 405, 407, 57 N.W.2d 58, 59, and citations. We think this appeal presents such II. The indictment as amended reads: 'The grand jury of the county of......
  • State v. Di Paglia, No. 48577
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • July 27, 1955
    ...is well settled that criminal statutes are to be strictly construed and doubts, if any, resolved in favor of the accused. State v. Hill, 244 Iowa 405, 57 N.W.2d 58 and citations; State v. Hansen, 244 Iowa 145, 55 N.W.2d 923. In the light of that rule we are constrained to hold the language ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • State v. Drosos, No. 50462
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 3, 1962
    ...on the ground that it was not mentioned in the notice of additional testimony is also without merit. In the recent case of State v. Hill, 244 Iowa 405, 415, 57 N.W.2d 58, we pointed out that the provisions of Section 780.10 of the Code, I.C.A., apply only to additional witnesses, not to doc......
  • State v. Nelson, No. 53789
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 23, 1970
    ...and policy, and in the event of doubts they are to be resolved in favor of the accused. State v. Lovell, 23 Iowa 304, 305; State v. Hill, 244 Iowa 405, 407, 57 N.W.2d 58, 59, and cases therein cited. Kuhn v. Kuhn, 125 Iowa 449, 451--452, 101 N.W. 151, In United States v. Wiltberger, 18 U.S.......
  • State v. Haesemeyer, No. 49024
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 11, 1956
    ...of law the determination of which will be beneficial or a guide to trial courts in the future. See Code section 793.20; State v. Hill, 244 Iowa 405, 407, 57 N.W.2d 58, 59, and citations. We think this appeal presents such II. The indictment as amended reads: 'The grand jury of the county of......
  • State v. Di Paglia, No. 48577
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • July 27, 1955
    ...is well settled that criminal statutes are to be strictly construed and doubts, if any, resolved in favor of the accused. State v. Hill, 244 Iowa 405, 57 N.W.2d 58 and citations; State v. Hansen, 244 Iowa 145, 55 N.W.2d 923. In the light of that rule we are constrained to hold the language ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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