State v. Laundy

Decision Date28 February 1922
Citation204 P. 958,103 Or. 443
PartiesSTATE v. LAUNDY. [*]
CourtOregon Supreme Court

In Banc.

Appeal from Circuit Court, Multnomah County; Harry H. Belt, Judge.

Joseph Laundy was convicted of criminal syndicalism, and he appeals. Reversed, and new trial granted.

The indictment upon which the defendant was tried and convicted omitting some of the mere formal parts, reads thus:

"The said Joe Laundy on the 12th day of November, A.D.1919, in the county of Multnomah and state of Oregon, then and there being, did then and there unlawfully and feloniously help to organize, become a member of, and voluntarily assemble with a certain society and assemblage of persons, to wit the Industrial Workers of the World, which society and assemblage of persons was formed to and did then and there unlawfully and feloniously teach, advocate, and affirmatively suggest the doctrine of criminal syndicalism sabotage, and the necessity, propriety, and expediency of doing acts of physical violence and the commission of crime and unlawful acts as a means of accomplishing and effecting industrial ends, political ends, change, and revolution and for profit."

The indictment was based upon a statute which was enacted in 1919 and became effective on February 3, 1919. Because of the nature of some of the questions presented for decision, we here set down the whole of the statute, except sections 4 and 5, which are in no wise material to any question raised by the defendant:

"An act entitled an act defining criminal syndicalism, and the word 'sabotage'; prohibiting the advocacy, teaching or affirmative suggestion thereof; and prohibiting the advocacy, teaching or affirmative suggestion of crime physical violence, or the commission of any unlawful act or thing as a means to accomplish industrial or political ends, change or revolution, or for profit; and prohibiting assemblages for the purpose of such advocacy, teachings or suggestions; declaring it unlawful to permit the use of any place, building, rooms or premises for such assemblages in certain cases; and providing penalties for the violation thereof, and declaring an emergency.

"Be it enacted by the people of the state of Oregon:

"Section 1. Criminal syndicalism is hereby defined to be the doctrine which advocates crime, physical violence, arson, destruction of property, sabotage, or other unlawful acts or methods, as a means of accomplishing or effecting industrial or political ends, or as a means of effecting industrial or political revolution, or for profit.

"Sec. 2. 'Sabotage' is hereby defined to be malicious, felonious, intentional or unlawful damage, injury or destruction of real or personal property of any employer, or owner, by his or her employé or employés, or any employer or employers or by any person or persons, at their own instance, or at the instance, request or instigation of such employés, employers, or any other person.

"Sec. 3. Any person who, by word of mouth or writing, advocates, affirmatively suggests or teaches the duty, necessity, propriety or expediency of crime, criminal syndicalism, or sabotage, or who shall advocate, affirmatively suggest or teach the duty, necessity, propriety or expediency of doing any act of violence, the destruction of or damage to any property, the bodily injury to any person or persons, or the commission of any crime or unlawful act as a means of accomplishing or effecting any industrial or political ends, change or revolution, or for profit; or who prints, publishes, edits, issues or knowingly circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any books, pamphlets, paper, handbill, poster, document, or written or printed matter in any form whatsoever, containing matter advocating, advising, affirmatively suggesting or teaching crime, criminal syndicalism, sabotage, the doing of any act of physical violence, the destruction of or damage to any property, the injury to any person, or the commission of any crime or unlawful act as a means of accomplishing, effecting or bringing about any industrial or political ends, or change, or as a means of accomplishing, effecting or bringing about any industrial or political revolution, or for profit, or who shall openly, or at all attempt to justify by word of mouth or writing, the commission or the attempt to commit sabotage, any act of physical violence, the destruction of or damage to any property, the injury of any person or the commission of any crime or unlawful act, with the intent to exemplify, spread, or teach, or affirmatively suggest criminal syndicalism, or organizes, or helps to organize or become a member of, or voluntarily assembles with any society or assemblage of persons which teaches, advocates or affirmatively suggests the doctrine of criminal syndicalism, sabotage, or the necessity, propriety or expediency of doing any act of physical violence or the commission of any crime or unlawful act as a means of accomplishing or effecting any industrial or political ends, change or revolution or for profit, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for a term of not less than one year nor more than ten years, or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or by both such imprisonment and fine."

Chapter 12, Laws 1919, codified in Oregon Laws as section 2025-1.

We have caused to be italicized all that portion of section 3 upon which allegations of the indictment are especially based; and it is appropriate to state also that all italics subsequently appearing are ours.

The defendant assails the statute and claims that it is unconstitutional; he argues that the statute is void because it is indefinite and uncertain; he attacks the indictment and asserts that it is insufficient and fatally defective; he contends that he was tried for two offenses, and that his motion to require the state to elect ought to have been sustained; he says that he was injured by the admission of incompetent evidence; and he insists that he was prejudiced by the giving of certain instructions over his objections and by the refusal to give certain instructions requested by him.

George F. Vanderveer, of Seattle, Wash. (H.M. Esterly, of Portland, on the brief), for appellant.

W.H. Hallam, Deputy Dist. Atty., of Portland (Walter H. Evans, Dist. Atty., and E.F. Bernard, Deputy Dist. Atty., both of Portland, on the brief), for the State.

HARRIS, J. (after stating the facts as above).

It is contended that the title of chapter 12, Laws 1919, is not broad enough to cover those provisions of the act which prohibit organizing, helping to organize, and becoming a member of a society of the character denounced. This contention of the defendant cannot be sustained. Our Constitution (article 4, § 20) commands that:

"Every act shall embrace but one subject, and matters properly connected therewith, which subject shall be expressed in the title."

This provision of the Constitution was designed to do away with certain abuses, among which was the practice of inserting in one bill two or more unrelated provisions so that those favoring one provision could be compelled, in order to secure its adoption, to combine with those favoring another provision, when neither, if standing alone, could succeed on its own merits. Another abuse was the practice of concealing from the members of the Legislature the true nature of the proposed law by giving it a false and misleading title, and the prevention of this abuse is another object of the Constitution. Although article 4, § 20, is mandatory, yet the Constitution must be reasonably and liberally construed to sustain legislation not within the mischief aimed against.

The language of the Constitution is, "which subject shall be expressed in the title," and hence it is the "subject" of the act, and not "matters properly connected therewith," which must be expressed in the title. The subject of the law is the matter to which the measure relates and with which it deals. The term "subject" is to be given a broad and extensive meaning so as to allow the Legislature full scope to include in one act all matters having a logical or natural connection. The word "subject" includes the chief thing to which the statute relates, and the words "matters properly connected therewith" include every matter germane to and having a natural connection with the general subject of the act, or, as expressed in State v. Shaw, 22 Or. 289, 29 P. 1029:

"If all the provisions of the law relate directly or indirectly to the same subject, are naturally connected, and are not foreign to the subject expressed in the title, they will not be held unconstitutional."

The office of the title is to advise the members of the Legislature of the subject of the proposed legislation, but the details must be found in the body of the measure. If the subject of the enactment is so expressed in the title as to give reasonable notice of the contents of the law, it is sufficient. Lovejoy v. Portland, 95 Or. 459, 465, 188 P. 207.

The chief thing to which the statute relates is the advocacy and teaching and affirmative suggestion of crime, physical violence, or the commission of unlawful acts as the means to accomplish industrial or political ends, change or revolution, or for profit. The object of the statute is to prohibit and prevent the advocacy and teaching and affirmative suggestion of such acts. State v Moilen, 140 Minn. 112, 114, 167 N.W. 345, 1 A.L.R. 331; People v. Malley (Cal.App.) 194 P. 48, 50. In express terms the title declares that the object of the act is to prohibit "the advocacy, teaching or affirmative suggestion" of criminal syndicalism and sabotage as defined in the act. The next clause, or simple sentence, appearing in the title is...

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27 cases
  • Whitney v. People of State of California
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • May 16, 1927
    ...have been held by the State courts not to be void for indefiniteness. State v. Hennessy, 114 Wash. 351, 364, 195 P. 211; State v. Laundy, 103 Or. 443, 460, 204 P. 958 206 P. 290; People v. Ruthenberg, 229 Mich. 315, 325, 210 N. W. 358. And see Fox v. Washington, 236 U. S. 273, 277, 35 S. Ct......
  • State v. Simmons, 44
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    • North Carolina Supreme Court
    • April 14, 1975
    ...it may be charged in a single count if the ways and means are not repugnant and are component parts of one transaction. State v. Laundy, 103 Or. 443, 204 P. 958, 206 P. 290. Proof of any one means will support conviction. United States v. Otto, 54 F.2d 277 (C.C.2d). And an instruction to th......
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    • November 2, 1982
    ...231 P. 965, 237 P. 373, rev'd on rehearing, 115 Or. 234, 237 P. 373 (1925), Oregon decisions before Florance, as early as State v. Laundy, 103 Or. 443, 204 P. 958, 206 P. 290 (1922), established that under Oregon law a reasonable search of the person is permissible incident to a valid arres......
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    ...135 Or. 290, 306--307, 295 P. 953 (1931). See also State v. Ware, 79 Or. 367, 373, 154 P. 905, 155 P. 364 (1916); and State v. Laundy, 103 Or. 443, 494, 496, 204 P. 958, 206 P. 290 (1922). Similarly, the seizure of whiskey, drugs, guns or other contraband found on the persons of defendants ......
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