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CHAPTER XXII.

TO WHAT STATUTES AND UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES THE

PROCESSES OF CONTRACTION AND EXPANSION OF MEAN.
INGS ARE APPLIED.

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$ 191. Meaning plain.— When the meaning of a statute of any sort is plain on its face, it can be extended or shortened by the courts only in its effects. They are not justified in interpreting what needs no interpretation;? their duty is simply to carry out the expressed legislative purposes and intent.

Elsewhere - Here.— It was deemed that the perspicuity and usefulness of these discussions would be promoted by presenting this subject of the strict and liberal interpretation under various aspects, from diverse points of observation. Therefore the general doctrine and distinctions were stated in a chapter a considerable way back. And in the last chapter the topic was further and differently unfolded. The title of this chapter has informed the reader, that in it a third aspect of the doctrine will be presented.

$ 192. Things odious – Things favored — (Strict — Liberal).- There are things which the law deems odious; not as being unnecessary, but in the sense in which a father feels it odious to inflict needful chastisement on a child; and, on the other hand, there are things in which the law delights. To things odious is applied the strict interpretation; to things favored, the liberal: as a father, in chastising his child, would keep within the necessity of the case to the letter;s while, in bestowing a merited reward, he would cast in something also from affection. For example,

Instances of liberal—(Remedial Suppressing fraud-Beneficial).— The law loves harmony and right; therefore it construes remedial statutes, made to amend defects in the prior law, liberally; 8 it loves honesty and fair dealing, so construes lib1 Ante, S 122 et seq.

4 Ante, SS 119, 120. 2 Ante, SS 72, 116 and note.

5 Ante, $ 190e. 3 Ante, $ 70. And see Cearfoss v. S., 6 Ante, § 189d; 1 Bl. Com. 86, 87; 42 Md. 403.

Broom, Leg. Max. (2d ed.) 60; S. v.

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erally statutes to suppress frauds,' as far as they annul the fraudulent transaction; and, generally, it employs a liberal interpretation for such written laws as operate beneficially for those whom they immediately concern. On the other hand,

Strict (Hardships Forfeitures Depriving of rights).— Enactments of the opposite tendency, taking away rights, working forfeitures,' or creating hardships of any kind, it construes strictly. Again,

$ 193. In deprivation, strict—Penal-Forfeiture, againAgainst liberty — Summary process).- The law delights in the life, liberty and happiness of the subject; consequently it deems statutes which deprive him of these, or of his property, however necessary they may be, in a sense odious. For which and for kindred reasons, as well as because every man should Stephenson, 2 Bailey, 334; Neal v. L. ed. 624. Mechanics’ lien laws are Moultrie, 12 Ga. 104; Brown r. Thomp to be strictly construed. Williams son, 14 Bush, 538, [29 Am. R. 416;] S. v. Vanderbilt, 145 Ill. 238, 34 N. E. R. v. Blair, 32 Ind. 313; ante, $ 120. 476. Contra, Kendall v. Hymes, 96

1 Twyne's Case, 3 Co. 806, 82a; Cad. Wis. 659, 71 N. W. R. 1039; Pinkerton ogan v. Kennet, Cowp. 432, 434. v. Le Beau, 3 S. D. 440, 54 N. W. R.

2 “Statutes against frauds are to be 97. Homestead laws are to be liberliberally and beneficially expounded. ally construed. Wright v. Whittick, This may seem a contradiction to the 18 Colo. 54, 31 Pac. R. 490; Kolb v. last rule (that penal statutes are to Raisor, 17 Ind. Ap. 551, 47 N. E. R. 177. be construed strictly), most statutes So statutes relating to adoption of against frauds being in their conse children. Parsons v. Parsons, 101 quences penal. But this difference Wis. 76, 77 N. W. R. 147. So statutes is here to be taken: where the state allowing redemption of lands sold ute acts upon the offender, and in- for taxes. Poling v. Parsons, 38 W. flicts a penalty, as the pillory or a fine, Va. 80, 18 S. E. R. 379.] it is then to be taken strictly; but 4 Bac. Abr., Statutes, I, 6, 7; Saltwhen the statute acts upon the of- ers v. Tobias, 3 Paige, 338; Smith 1: fense, by setting aside the fraudulent Spooner, 3 Pick. 229; Sewall v. Jones, transaction, here it is to be construed 9 Pick. 412; Sullivan v. Park, 33 Me. liberally.” 1 Bl. Com. 88. To the last 438; post, $ 193. point is also Cumming v. Fryer, Dud- 5 See further, as to these distincley (Ga.), 182; Carey v. Giles, 9 Ga. tions, Jortin v. Southeastern Ry. Co., 253; Smith v. Moffat, 1 Barb. 65. And 3 Eq. R. 281, 24 Law J. (N. S.) 343, 1 see Ellis v. Whitlock, 10 Mo. 781. Jur. (N. S.) 433, 31 Eng. L. & Eq. 320.

3 Bac. Abr., Statutes, 1, 7, 9. [The 6 Ante, S 1896; Reg. v. Banes, Holt, statutes authorizing a recovery for 512, 515. [Statutes regulating prodeath by wrongful act are to be con- ceedings for the condemnation of strued as remedial acts, liberally. private property construed Hayes v. Williams, 17 Colo. 465, 30 strictly. Fork Ridge Ass'n v. Redd, Pac. R. 352. Assignment statutes 33 W. Va. 262, 10 S. E. R. 405.] need not be strictly construed. Cun- 7 “ The rule that penal laws are to ningham v. Norton, 125 U. S. 77, 31 be construed strictly is perhaps not

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be able to know certainly when he is guilty of crime,' statutes which subject one to a punishment or penalty,' or to forfeit

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much less old than construction ito those which are enumerated. If this self. It is founded on the tenderness principle has ever been recognized of the law for the rights of individ- 'in expounding criminal law, it has uals; and on the plain principle that been in cases of considerable irritathe power of punishment is vested in tion, which it would be unsafe to the legislative, not in the judicial, de consider as precedents forming a partment. It is the legislature, not general rule for other cases." Mar. the court, which is to define a crime shall, C. J., in U. S. v. Wiltberger, 5 and ordain its punishment. It is said Wheat. 76, 95, 96. “When a law imthat, notwithstanding this rule, the poses a punishment which acts upon intention of the law-maker must gov- the offender alone, and not as a repa. ern in the construction of penal as ration to the party injured, and well as other statutes. This is true, where it is entirely within the disBut this is not a new, independent cretion of the law.giver, it will not rule, which subverts the old. It is a be presumed that he intended it modification of the ancient maxim, should extend further than is exand amounts to this: that, though pressed; and humanity would repenallaws are to be construed strictly, quire that it should be so limited in they are not to be construed so the construction.” Johnson, J., in S. strictly as defeat the obvious in- V. Stephenson, 2 Bailey, 334, 335. tention of the legislature. The maxim And see Com. v. Loring, 8 Pick. 370; is not to be so applied as to narrow U. S. v. Wigglesworth, 2 Story, 369; the words of the statute to the ex. Strong v. Stebbins, 5 Cow. 210; Veclusion of cases which those words, rona Central Cheese Factory v. Murin their ordinary acceptation, or in taugh, 4 Lans. 17. that sense in which the legislature 1 Beccaria on Crimes, ch. 11; Liv. has obviously used them, would com- ingston, J., in The Enterprise, 1 prehend. The intention of the legis. Paine, 32. lature is to be collected from the 2 Ante, $ 119; Andrews v. U. S., 2 words they employ. Where there is Story, 202, 213; Com. v. Martin, 17 no ambiguity in the words, there is Mass. 589; Com. v. Keniston, 5 Pick. no room for construction. The case 420; Carpenter v. P., 8 Barb. 603, 605; must be a strong one, indeed, which S. v. Upchurch, 9 Ire. 454; Van Renswould justify a court in departing selaer v. Onondaga, 1 Cow. 443; Seasfrom the plain meaning of words, es- ing v. Brinkerhoff, 5 Johns Ch. 329; pecially in a penal act, in search of Courteen's Case, Hob. 270; Searle v. an intention which the words them. Williams, Hob. 288; Hall v. S., 20 selves did not suggest. To deter- Ohio, 7; Warner v. Com., 1 Pa. St. mine that a case is within the in- 154, [44 Am. D. 114;] S. v. Solomons, 3 tention of a statute, its language Hill (S. C.), 96; Bettis v. Taylor, 8 must authorize us to say so. It would Port. 564; Van Valkenburgh v. Torbe dangerous indeed to carry the rey, 7 Cow. 252; Hughes v. S., 1 Eng. principle, that a case which is within 131; Reed v. Davis, 8 Pick. 514, 517; the reason or mischief of a statute U. S. v. Starr, Hemp. 469; U. S. v. is within its provisions, so far as to Ramsay, Hemp. 481; U. S. v. Beaty, punish a crime not enumerated in Hemp. 487; U. S. v. Ragsdale, Hemp. the statute, because it is of equal 497; Lair v. Killmer, 1 Dutcher, 522; atrocity or of kindred character with Gunter v. Leckey, 30 Ala. 591; S. v.

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ure,' or a summary process ? calculated to take away his opportunity of making a full defense, or in any way deprive him of his liberty,' are to be construed strictly. And the degree of strictness will depend somewhat on the severity of the punishment they inflict..

Derogation of common law - (Testify for self).– Though a statute in derogation of the common law—as, for example, permitting a party to testify for himself in his own cause &– is to be construed strictly, the reason for this, we have seen,” is different.

Whetstone, 13 La. An. 376; Gibson V. S. v. Bland, 144 Mo. 534, 46 S. W. R. S., 38 Ga. 571.

440, 41 L R. A. 297.] Double damages.- A statute give * Pierce's Case, 16 Me. 255. (A stating a party double damages is to be ute giving to the state a right of construed strictly. Smith v. Causey, appeal in a criminal case is to be 22 Ala. 568; Bay City, etc. R. R. Co. strictly construed. S. v. Clipper, 142 V. Austin, 21 Mich. 390; Cohn v. Mo. 474, 44 S. W. R. 264.] Neeves, 40 Wis. 393. And see fur. * See Randolph v. S., 9 Tex. 521; ther as to this class of statutes, Le post, $ 199. Forest v. Tolman, 117 Mass. 109, [19 sSibley r. Smith, 2 Mich. 486; Sugar Am. R. 400;] Swift v. Applebone, 23 v. Sackett, 13 Ga. 462; Rathbun v. Mich. 252; post, & 1950. [Statutes Acker, 18 Barb. 393; ante, $ 155. imposing a penalty on common car- 6 Hotaling v. Cronise, 2 Cal 60; riers for overcharges in freight are Warner v. Fowler, 8 Md. 25. subject to rigid construction Hall 7 Ante, 8 189a. t. R. R. CO., 44 W. Va. 36, 28 S. E. R. 8 Granting franchise.— A statute 754, 41 L R. A. 669. “Citizen" in granting a franchise, as a turnpike penal statute. Baldwin v. Franks, charter, is to be construed strictly. 120 U. S. 678, 30 L. ed. 766.)

Ante, 8 119; S. v. Clarksville & R. T. | Ante, $ 192; U. S. v. Eighty-four P. Co., 2 Sneed, 88. See also Academy Boxes of Sugar, 7 Pet. 453; S. v. Dill, of Fine Arts v. Philadelphia, 22 Pa. 2 Sneed, 414.

St. 496. (Statutes conferring power ? Ante, $ 119; Logwood r. Planters' to impose taxes must be construed & Merchants' Bank, Minor, 23; Chil. strictly, and delegated corporate dress v. McGehee, Minor, 131; Craw- powers to municipalities — particuford v. S., Minor, 143; Yancey v. larly those that are out of the usual Hankins, Minor, 171; Hale v. Burton, range, or which touch the right of Dudley (Ga.), 105.

the citizen to liberty, property or any Contempts of court.— Statutes common-law rights — must be conagainst contempts are strictly inter- strued strictly. Ex parte Sims, 40 preted. Maxwell v. Rives, 11 Nev. Fla. “-, 25 S. R. 280; Ex parte Flor213. [Attachment laws are strictly ence, 78 Ala. 419; Kirkham v. Rusconstrued Lederer v. Rosenthal, 99 sell, 76 Va. 956; Brenham v. Water Wis. 235, 74 N. W. R. 971. A corrupt Co., 67 Tex. 542, 4 S. W. R. 143; Corpractice act providing for forfeiture vallis v. Carlile, 10 Oreg. 139, 45 Am. of office and criminal punishment R. 134; Barber v. Asphalt Co., 51 La. must be given strict construction. An. 1345, 26 S. R. 70; Ratan Co. v.

$ 194. Meaning of strict interpretation.-- Such statutes are to reach no further in meaning than their words;? no person is to be made subject to them by implication, and all doubts concerning their interpretation are to preponderate in favor of the accused. Only those transactions are covered by them which are within both their spirit and their letter."

§ 195. Revenue laws, including taxation. It being the duty of all persons to bear their several proportions of the public burden, statutes imposing taxes are not penal, and they should be liberally interpreted. But connected with and aiding in the levying and collecting of taxes, there may be and are penal statutes, to be construed strictly. And so it is with the other classes of revenue laws. Their primary object being the collection of duties, not the punishment of crime, they are in the ordinary case construed liberally as being remedial. Ratan, 9 N. M. 70, 49 Pac. R. 898. * Post. SS 230, 232; Cearfoss v. S., 42 Aid grants to railroads are to be Md. 403. strictly construed against the com- 5 Cornwall v. Todd, 38 Conn. 443. pany. Demaree v. Johnson, 150 Ind. But see Daines v. Heath, 3 C. B. 938, 419, 49 N. E. R. 1062.)

941. And see Alter v. Shepherd, 27 Taking land.- So of one taking La. An. 207. the land of individuals for the public Special exemptions.-Corresponduse. Ante, $ 119; Sharp v. Speir, 4 ingly, therefore, statutes conferring Hill (N. Y.), 76; Sharp v. Johnson, 4 special exemptions from the general Hill (N. Y.), 92, [40 Am. D. 259.] See burdens should be strictly construed. also Rathbun v. Acker, 18 Barb. 393. S. v. Mills, 5 Vroom, 177; [Robertson

1 Ante, es 119, 189a, 190e; P. v. Pea- v. New Orleans, 45 La. An. 617, 12 S. cock, 98 III. 172.

R. 753; Louisville v. Bank, 174 U. S. 2 8. v. McOmber, 6 Vt. 215; Rex v. 439, 43 L. ed. 1039; P. v. Seminary, Mitchell, 2 East, P. C. 936, 937; Rex v. 174 Ill. 177, 51 N. E. R. 198; Ford v. Hammond, 2 East, P. C. 1119, 1 Leach, Delta Co., 164 U. S. 662, 41 L. ed. 590. 444; Leonard v. Bosworth, 4 Conn. Where two constructions are possible 421; S. v. Sumner, 10 Vt. 587, [33 Am. for a salary act, that most advantaD. 219;] S. v. Sanford, 1 Nott & Moc. geous to the state will be adopted. 512, 515; Rex v. Parker, 2 East, P. C. Madden v. Hardy, 92 Tex. 613, 50 S. 592, 1 Leach, 320, note; Rex v. HickW. R. 926; Tyrrell v. New York, 159 man, 1 Leach, 318, 2 East, P. C. 593; N. Y. 239, 53 N. E. R. 1111.) See also U. S. v. Wigglesworth, 2 Story, 369; Com. v. Maryland, 32 Md. 501. Rawson v. S., 19 Conn. 292; U. S. v. 6 Coleman v. Hart, 37 Wis. 180. Wilson, Bald. 78, 102; The Harriet, 1 ? U. S. v. Twenty-eight Packages, Story, 251; Bell v. Dole, 11 Johns. Gilpin, 306, 326. And see Attorney173; post, $ 220.

General v. Radloff, 10 Exch. 84, 26 3 The Enterprise, 1 Paine, 32; U. S. Eng. L. & Eq. 413. v. Wigglesworth, 2 Story, 369; P. v. 8 U. S. v. Hodson, 10 Wall. 395, 406; Howell, 4 Johns. 296; Com. v. Ma- Cliquot's Champagne, 3 Wall. 114, 145. comber, 3 Mass. 254; Kent v. S., 8 Blackf. 163; post, § 218.

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