State v. Jost, No. 18355.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtGraves
Citation265 Mo. 51,175 S.W. 591
PartiesSTATE ex rel. REYNOLDS et al. v. JOST et al.
Decision Date02 April 1915
Docket NumberNo. 18355.
175 S.W. 591
265 Mo. 51
STATE ex rel. REYNOLDS et al.
v.
JOST et al.
No. 18355.
Supreme Court of Missouri.
April 2, 1915.
Rehearing Denied April 12, 1915.

In Banc. Mandamus by the. State, on relation of William C. Reynolds and others, against Henry L. Jost and others. Peremptory writ ordered.

Robinson & Goodrich and Willard P. Hall, all of Kansas City, for relators. Henry L. Jost, Andrew F. Evans, and A. P. Smith, all of Kansas City, for respondents.

GRAVES, J.


Original action in mandamus. Relators constitute the majority of the board of police commissioners of Kansas City, acting as and for such board. The respondents are the mayor and members of the common council of said city.

Before the beginning of the fiscal year of 1914, the board of police commissioners certified to the mayor and common council the amount that would be required to maintain the police force and the police department of the city. This estimate was $725,000. The mayor urged that such sum could not be appropriated, and the board of police commissioners cut out some items and finally

175 S.W. 592

made their demand for $650,000 The first demand included the following items:

For the cost of the department as
                 now organized: Salaries.............. $445,120.00
                For the cost of maintenance, repairs,
                 rents, provisions, materials, supplies,
                 and incidental expenses.... 31,763.83
                For the cost of the proposed increase
                 in the number of policemen necessary
                 for the discharge of the duties
                 imposed upon and intrusted to the
                 board of police commissioners as
                 authorized by the statutes....... 158,760.00
                Renting of apparatus for police
                 alarms, fire alarms, or for the purchase
                 of new or additional equipment,
                 arms, or other apparatus.... 43,336.17
                Necessary repairs, repainting, and
                 overhauling of stations.......... 16,000.00
                 ___________
                Total ............................ $725,000.00
                

As modified, by cutting out, the demand stood:

For the cost of the department as
                 now organized: Salaries........... $445,120.00
                For the cost of maintenance, repairs,
                 rents, provisions, materials, supplies,
                 and incidentals............... 36,120.00
                For the cost of proposed increase in
                 the number of policemen necessary
                 for the discharge of the duties imposed
                 upon and intrusted to the
                 board of police commissioners as
                 authorized by statute........... 168,760.00
                 ___________
                 $650,000.00
                

The petition for our writ averred that the respondents refused to appropriate more than $500,000 for the police department of such city, and prayed for our writ of mandamus to compel the respondents to appropriate the full amount of $650,000. Our alternative writ was issued, and respondents made return thereto. This return, as amended, would seem (1) to challenge the right of relators to make a valid demand at all; and (2) that, if they had such right, the demand made was unreasonable, and respondents were therefore justified in refusing it. The return is quite lengthy, but, when the admission made therein is taken with other matters pleaded, the foregoing is the substance thereof. If other matters pleaded become necessary, they can and will be noted in the course of the opinion.

Relators base their authority in the premises upon section 9778, B.. S. 1909, which reads:

"It shall be the duty of the board of police at the beginning of each fiscal year to estimate what sum of money will be necessary for the ensuing fiscal year to enable them to discharge the duties hereby imposed upon or intrusted to them, and they shall forthwith certify the same to the common council or municipal assembly of the city, who are hereby required in the first apportionment ordinance of that fiscal year to set apart and appropriate the amount so required, payable out of the next annual revenue of the city. If the board shall be required to call out an extra police force and the expense thereof shall not have been contemplated in their first estimate, they shall immediately certify the expense of such additional force, and the additional amounts so required shall be appropriated for that purpose. The estimate made at the beginning of each fiscal year shall embrace the cost of the department as then organized, the cost of any proposed increase in the number of policemen necessary for the discharge of such duties and authorized hereunder, and the cost of any proposed erection of station houses, the renting of apparatus for police alarms, fire alarms, or the purchase of new or additional equipment of arms or other apparatus. The term common council, as used in any provision hereof, shall be construed to mean the municipal assembly or other body having legislative authority in such city."

Respondents seek to hide behind the powers which they claim to be granted to them by the city charter adopted under the provisions of section 16, art. 9, of the Constitution.

The two questions suggested, supra, are at least the two vital questions. There are other minor questions, which can be best stated in connection with the points made. This sufficiently outlines the case.

I. It is urged by relators that, as no formal assignment of exceptions was made to our commissioner's finding of facts, the respondents and this court are bound by such findings. In this relators are in error. We have no statutory regulations as to the powers and duties of the commissioner appointed by this court in cases of this kind. We usually prescribe his duties by an order made at the time. Sometimes we direct him to make findings both as to the facts and the law. At other times we limit his work to the findings of facts alone. We always require him to not only take but to report the testimony to this court. There would be no necessity of reporting the, testimony if we were going to be bound by the commissioner's finding of fact. It could, of course, be argued that we would have to have the evidence in event there were exceptions filed to his findings of facts. But we neither have a statute nor a rule of court fixing this practice. We have therefore provided for no exceptions. These cases are usually cases of vast importance, and we would be loth to permit a commissioner—a mere arm of the court—to cut off a full investigation of either the facts or law of the case. The better rule, and one which we have usually followed, is that the findings of facts made by our commissioner is merely advisory, but in no sense binding upon us. We have reserved and should reserve the unrestricted right to reach our own conclusions as to the facts, and with a free hand apply our views of the law. We have at times required our commissioner to report to us his conclusions of law, but we have never deemed such conclusions as binding upon the court. They are advisory merely. So likewise should be the findings as to facts. The court is the body which is responsible for the final disposition of these very important cases, and we do not feel like announcing any rule which would, in any sense, restrict a full examination of the facts by the court, either upon a suggestion of a laity to the suit, or upon our own motion. It would follow that we should go into the facts when

175 S.W. 593

challenged, whether formal exceptions were filed before argument or not. The better practice for the lawyers in the case would be to formally point out, by exceptions, what findings were challenged, and in this way the scope of the case might be more compact upon the argument. Whether this be done or not, the court should reserve to itself the right to go to the entire record for the facts. This view disposes of relators' contention contrary to their ideas.

II. Whilst we have reserved the right to go into the record, and find the facts contrary to the findings made by the commissioner, yet our examination of this record discloses that our learned commissioner has not only been fair, but he has been exceedingly careful and painstaking in making his findings of facts. We shall note the more serious objections made to his findings, as it becomes necessary to use the particular findings of fact in the further course of this opinion. If such particular finding does not accord with the evidence, we shall so state.

III. The importance of this case is apparent from the statement made, supra. The life of the metropolitan police system of Kansas City is at least at stake, if not more. In fact, it might well be said that the metropolitan police systems of the state are involved, because, if some of the contentions of respondents be good, there is no such thing as a metropolitan police system. In other words, if the state has the mere control of the police body, with the power left in the municipality to starve the police force to death by refusing to appropriate funds for its support, then there can be no metropolitan police force. The municipality, the creature of the state, can rise up against the state and kill any metropolitan police force which the state may establish. No set of officers can or will serve without pay, and if the pay of a metropolitan police system is left to the caprice of a municipal government, ofttimes at war with the state government, there can be no effective police force under state control. The question is therefore a vital one to the state. The first questions are: (1) Can the state establish a police system for one of its municipal creatures, and compel that creature to properly sustain such police system out of the funds gathered for municipal purposes; and (2) if it can, is the demand made by the relators in this case within the state power; under the law it has enacted, supra? These questions we take in their order.

IV. The brief of counsel for respondents attacks the validity of the statutes relied upon by relators; i. e., section 9778, R. S. 1909, and other sections relative to the metropolitan police system established for Kansas City. That the state can establish in a municipality a metropolitan police force, and require such...

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34 practice notes
  • State ex rel. Carpenter v. St. Louis, No. 28285.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • January 18, 1928
    ...ex rel. McDaniel v. Schramm, 272 Mo. 541; Morrow v. Kansas City, 186 Mo. 675; Kansas City v. Field, 194 S.W. 39; State ex rel. v. Jost, 265 Mo. 51; Charter, City of St. Louis 1914, Article 16. (5) The Library Act, relating to a purely local matter, if even valid and applicable to St. Louis,......
  • State ex rel. Zoolog. Board v. City of St. Louis, No. 28361.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • January 18, 1928
    ...ex rel. McDaniel v. Schramm, 272 Mo. 541; Morrow v. Kansas City, 186 Mo. 675; Kansas City v. Field, 194 S.W. 39; State ex rel. v. Jost, 265 Mo. 51; Charter of City of St. Louis (1914), Article 16. (4) The Zoological Park Act is also invalid because violative of the provisions of the Constit......
  • State ex rel. Emerson v. Mound City, No. 31475.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 17, 1934
    ...of the legislative power had been held valid in State ex rel. Hawes v. Mason, 153 Mo. 23, 54 S.W. 524, and State ex rel. Reynolds v. Jost, 265 Mo. 51, 175 S.W. 591, but said: "But it has not been decided that the constitutional limitation on taxation may be exceeded to maintain a police dep......
  • Kansas City v. Threshing Machine Co., No. 31452.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 18, 1935
    ...concerns. Section 2 of the ordinance must, therefore, yield to Section 7596, Revised Statutes 1929. State ex rel. v. Jost, 265 Mo. 72, 175 S.W. 591, Ann. Cas. 1917D, 1102; State ex rel. v. Mason, 153 Mo. 23, 54 S.W. 527; State v. Police Commissioners, 80 Mo. App. 206; State ex rel. Carpente......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
34 cases
  • State ex rel. Carpenter v. St. Louis, No. 28285.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • January 18, 1928
    ...ex rel. McDaniel v. Schramm, 272 Mo. 541; Morrow v. Kansas City, 186 Mo. 675; Kansas City v. Field, 194 S.W. 39; State ex rel. v. Jost, 265 Mo. 51; Charter, City of St. Louis 1914, Article 16. (5) The Library Act, relating to a purely local matter, if even valid and applicable to St. Louis,......
  • State ex rel. Zoolog. Board v. City of St. Louis, No. 28361.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • January 18, 1928
    ...ex rel. McDaniel v. Schramm, 272 Mo. 541; Morrow v. Kansas City, 186 Mo. 675; Kansas City v. Field, 194 S.W. 39; State ex rel. v. Jost, 265 Mo. 51; Charter of City of St. Louis (1914), Article 16. (4) The Zoological Park Act is also invalid because violative of the provisions of the Constit......
  • State ex rel. Emerson v. Mound City, No. 31475.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 17, 1934
    ...of the legislative power had been held valid in State ex rel. Hawes v. Mason, 153 Mo. 23, 54 S.W. 524, and State ex rel. Reynolds v. Jost, 265 Mo. 51, 175 S.W. 591, but said: "But it has not been decided that the constitutional limitation on taxation may be exceeded to maintain a police dep......
  • Kansas City v. Threshing Machine Co., No. 31452.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 18, 1935
    ...concerns. Section 2 of the ordinance must, therefore, yield to Section 7596, Revised Statutes 1929. State ex rel. v. Jost, 265 Mo. 72, 175 S.W. 591, Ann. Cas. 1917D, 1102; State ex rel. v. Mason, 153 Mo. 23, 54 S.W. 527; State v. Police Commissioners, 80 Mo. App. 206; State ex rel. Carpente......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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