State v. Mando Enterprises, Inc.

Citation203 N.W.2d 64,56 Wis.2d 801
Decision Date03 January 1973
Docket NumberNos. S,s. S
PartiesSTATE of Wisconsin, Appellant, v. MANDO ENTERPRISES, INC., d/b/a AD LIB, a Wis. corporation, Respondent (two cases). tate 64, 65.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin

Robert W. Warren, Atty. Gen., Betty R. Brown, Asst. Atty. Gen., Madison, for appellant.

Joseph P. Balistreri, Milwaukee, for respondent.


Are violations of the law governing beer credit 1 and liquor credit 2 'crimes?' That is the only question raised on this appeal.

The case for holding a violation of either of the two statutes involved a 'crime' rests squarely on the wording of the statutes involved. The first such is the statute defining a crime to be '. . . conduct which is prohibited by state law and punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. Conduct punishable only by a forfeiture is not a crime.' 3 This statutory definition of a crime applies to the beer and liquor credit statutes 4 involved in this appeal.

The penalty section of sec. 66.054, Stats., relating to beer credit, is sec. 66.054(15), Stats., and reads:

'(15) Penalties. (a) Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of not more than 90 days. . . .' (Emphasis supplied.)

However, there is a special limitation on the penalties that may be imposed under the above penalty section. It is contained in sec. 66.054(8a)(h), Stats., and reads:

'(h) Any retail licensee who violates this subsection shall be subject to the suspension or revocation of his retail license under sub. (17) and the penalties prescribed in sub. (15)(a), except that he shall not be imprisoned.' (Emphasis supplied.)

The situation is near identical as to the law restricting credit on purchase of intoxicating liquors. There the general penalty section, sec. 176.41, Stats., 5 provides for fine or imprisonment, and sec. 176.05(23)(g), Stats., provides 'except that he shall not be imprisoned.' 6

Violating either the beer credit or liquor credit laws subjects the violator only to the payment of a fine. However, the state argues, this does not erase from the penalty sections involved the reference in one to 'guilty of a misdemeanor,' 'upon conviction,' 'punished by a fine,' or from the other the references 'shall be fined' and 'convicted.' This is particularly so, the state argues, because the applicable definition of 'crime' is prohibited conduct punishable by fine or imprisonment of both.

The basis for the respondent's position that the 'fine' referred to in the two penalty sections is not a criminal fine, but a civil forfeiture, derives from language used in the Roggensack Case. 7 That case involved two tax law provisions, both prohibiting essentially the same conduct, to wit, failure to file tax returns and fraud. One section provided a violator would be subject to a 'penalty of not less than $100 and not to exceed $5,000.' 8 The other section provided that a violator could be 'fined not to exceed $500, or be imprisoned, not to exceed one year, or both.' 9 To the contention that different punishments were thus provided for the same act, this court held that the section, providing only for a monetary penalty, was not a criminal provision at all. The 'penalty' referred to was a civil forfeiture. The legislative history of the two sections was traced, and it was concluded that one section was civil in nature, the other criminal.

In Roggensack, this court noted '. . . that by c. 483, § 74, Laws of 1935, sec. 288.01 was amended to include the word 'fine' in the definition of the word 'forfeiture.' Consequently, where a statute provides only for a fine, it may be enforced under sec. 288.01. . . .' 10 However, it is to be kept in mind that the reference to forfeiture is to the word, as defined in sec. 288.01, and by statute this definition is applicable only to ch. 288. 11 In Roggensack, it was noted that it is common in tax statutes for the legislative body to provide both civil and criminal sanctions in the same act or piece of legislation. Such practice, the legislative history of the sections involved, and the precise wording of the two side-by-side provisions were all involved in the Roggensack reasoning and result. What was said in Roggensack of the civil liability section of the tax statute is not transferable to sec. 66.054(15), Stats., that refers to 'guilty of a misdemeanor,' 'upon conviction,' and 'punished by a fine.' If the two tax law provisions had both been identified by the legislature as 'misdemeanors,' 12 and a reference to 'conviction' 13 contained in both side-by-side provisions, the conclusion reached in Roggensack might well have been different.

As to violations of sec. 66.054(8a)(c) and (f) and sec. 176.05(23)(c), Stats., the sole question before us is whether, in light of the words and language used, the legislature intended that violations of these statutory provisions are to be crimes, punishable upon conviction by imposition of a fine. We hold that they are. Actually, this question was before this court on another occasion. In the Gecht Case, 14 dealing with whether retrial for a violation of sec. 66.054(8a)(c), Stats., constituted double jeopardy, as to the criminal or civil nature of the violation involved, in setting forth the facts this court stated: 'A violation of this subsection is deemed a criminal offense.' 15 So we deemed it then, and so we deem it now.

In State No. 64, judgment of circuit court reversing county court judgment of conviction reversed, and county court judgment reinstated.

In State No. 65, judgment of circuit court affirming county court order dismissing complaint reversed, and cause remanded to county court for trial.

1 Sec. 66.054(8a)(c), Stats., providing: 'No retail licensee shall receive, purchase or acquire fermented malt beverages directly or indirectly from any licensee if at the time of such receipt, purchase or acquisition he is indebted to any licensee for fermented malt beverages received, purchased, acquired or delivered more than 15 days prior thereto.'

Sec. 66.054(8a)(f), Stats., providing: 'No class 'A' or class 'B' retailer's license shall be issued for a term beginning on or after July 1, 1956, to any person having any indebtedness to any licensee of more than 15 days' standing. In each application for a license for a term beginning on or after July 1, 1956, the applicant shall state whether or not be has any indebtedness to any licensee which has been outstanding more than 15 days.'

2 Sec. 176.05(23)(c), Stats., providing: 'No retail licensee shall receive, purchase or acquire intoxicating liquors directly or indirectly from any permittee if at the time of such receipt, purchase or acquisition he is indebted to any permitted for intoxicating liquors received, purchased, acquired or delivered more than 30 days prior thereto.'

4 By virtue of sec. 939.20, Stats., providing: 'Sections 939.22 and 939.23 apply only to crimes defined in the criminal code. Other sections in ch. 939 apply to crimes defined in other chapters of the statutes as well...

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2 cases
  • State v. Hauk
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Court of Appeals
    • 1 August 2002
    ...Sveum, 2002 WI App 105, ¶ 10, 648 N.W.2d 496,review denied, 2002 WI 111 (July 26, 2002) (No. 01-0230); see also State v. Mando Enters., Inc., 56 Wis. 2d 801, 203 N.W.2d 64 (1973). Even assuming, however, that West was correct in applying a dictionary definition, we disagree that the definit......
  • State v. Sveum
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Court of Appeals
    • 18 April 2002
    ...However, that is the question with which we are presented here, and it was also the question addressed in State v. Mando Enters., Inc., 56 Wis. 2d 801, 203 N.W.2d 64 (1973). ¶ 9. In Mando, the supreme court applied WIS. STAT. § 939.12 to determine whether conduct proscribed by WIS. STAT. §§......

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