Williams v. State

Decision Date31 December 1880
CourtTennessee Supreme Court



Appeal in error from the Circuit Court of Giles county. W. S. MCLEMORE, J.

E. T. TALIAFERRO for Williams.

Attorney-General LEA of the State.

MCFARLAND, J., delivered the opinion of the court.

This is a conviction for horse stealing, in the county of Giles. The only question made for a reversal is upon the venue, which depends upon the validity of chapter 21 of the Acts of 1879, changing the line between the counties of Giles and Marshall. The proof tends to show that the animal was stolen from that part of the premises of D. W. Kincaid, the prosecutor, which, by the act referred to, was transferred from Marshall to Giles county, so that, if the act be valid, the prosecution was in the proper county, but if not valid, the territory still remained part of Marshall county, and the proof would fail to sustain the conviction in Giles.

It is argued here, as it was below, that the act was not passed by the General Assembly in the mode pointed out by sec. 18, art. 2, of the Constitution, in these words: “No bill shall become a law until it shall have been read and passed on three different days in each house, and shall have received, on its final passage, the assent of a majority of all the members to which that house shall be entitled under this Constitution, and shall have been signed by the respective speakers in open session, the fact of such signing to be noted on the journal, and shall have been approved by the Governor,” etc.

The objections are--1st. That the bill is not shown to have received the constitutional majority on its third reading in the House of Representatives. 2d. That the bill was amended in the Senate and was not returned to the House, where it originated, for action on the amendment, nor did the House take action on the amendment. 3d. That the journals do not note the signing of the bill by the respective speakers in open session.

The learned counsel for the prisoner, in his examination and citation of the printed journals, has been misled by some confusion in the numbering of the bills, and in one instance, by a discrepancy between the printed journal and the original. After a careful examination, we find the facts to be as follows: The bill was introduced into the House of Representatives, and designated as House Bill No. 50, to change the county lines between Giles and Marshall. The journal shows that it passed its three readings on three different days in that body, the entry as to the third reading being in these words: House Bill No. 50, to change county lines between Giles and Marshall counties, passed third reading, the author waiving call of the roll.” The bill was then transferred to the Senate, and the journal of that body shows that it passed its first and second readings on different days, and, on the 14th of February, was amended in a material respect, and, as amended, passed its third reading by the constitutional majority. The journal of the House shows that on the same day the clerk of the Senate returned to the House, among other bills, “House Bill No. ‘58,’ to change the county lines between Giles and Marshall counties, amended and passed by the Senate.

Although designated as House Bill No. 58, it was beyond doubt the bill in question, as its title shows. House Bill No. 58 proper was not to change the county lines between Giles and Marshall counties, but upon a wholly different subject, and there was no other House bill for the purpose of changing the lines between the two counties of Giles and Marshall that had passed and been amended in the Senate.


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