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CHAPTER IX.

SOME LEADING RULES OF INTERPRETATION EPITOMIZED.

$ 78. Here—Elsewhere. For the convenience of the reader, the more common rules of interpretation will be collected into this chapter in a condensed form. Such of them as require, not all, will be further explained in subsequent chapters. And various rules, not mentioned here, will be brought to view fur

ther on.

Punctuation.— The statutes in England are not punctuated in the original rolls;? but more or less marks of punctuation appear in them as printed by authority. With us, the punctuation is the work of the draftsman, the engrosser, or the printer. In the legislative body, the bill is read; so that the ear, not the eye, takes cognizance of it. Therefore the punctuation is not, in either country, of controlling effect in the interpretation. Still a judge cannot avoid seeing the marks, and they seem to have been permitted to turn the scale in an evenly balanced case.

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1 Barrow v. Wadkin, 24 Beav. 327. v. Wright, 1 Cush. 46, 65. [For a ? Barrow v. Wadkin, supra; Shried- valuable monograph on punctuation, ley v. S., 23 Ohio St. 130, 140; Cush- see 45 Cent. L. J. 229; Union Co. v. ing v. Worrick, 9 Gray, 382, 385; U. 8. Lynch, 18 Utah, 378, 55 Pac. R. 639; v. Isham, 17 Wall. 496, 502.

Brown V. Turner, 174 Mass. 150; So quotation marks,- in an in. Tyrrell v. N. Y., 159 N. Y. 239; Stiles dictment, used in setting out the v. Guthrie, 3 Okl. 26, 41 Pac. R. 383; copy of an instrument relied on, were Murray v. S., 21 Tex. Ap. 620, 1 S. W. held not to show that the tenor, R. 522; Albright v. Payne, 43 Ohio rather than the purport, was in- St. 8, 1 N. E. R. 16; Archer v. Ellison, tended. Forbes, J., observed: “The 28 s. C. 238, 5 S. E. R. 713; U. S. v. practice in arraignments is to read Lacher, 134 U. S. 624, 33 L. ed. 1080; the indictment to the prisoner

, and Martin v. Gleason, 139 Mass. 183, 29 then to receive his plea. His knowl. N. E. R. 664; Baker v. Payne, 22 Oreg. edge of the charge against him is de 335, 29 Pac. R. 787; Manger v. Board rived ordinarily from hearing the (Md.), 45 Atl. R. 891; Cook v. S., 110 indictment read, and not from the Ala. 40; Ford v. Delta Co., 164 U. S. inspection of it. But these indica- 662, 41 L. ed. 1095; Ward v. Beale, tions of the meaning of the pleader 91 Ky. 60, 14 S. W. R. 967; Gwathmey are addressed to the eye: they are

v. Clisby, 31 Fed. R. 220.) not perceptible to the ear,” etc. Com.

3 Cummings v. Akron Cement, etc.

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$ 79. Clerical errors.— As in an indictment,' so in a statute, clerical errors do not avoid what to the common understanding is plain. If the true reading is evident, and the meaning is, notwithstanding the errors, certain, the statute stands, and is to be interpreted as though they were corrected.? Still this doctrine cannot be carried to all lengths; but,

$ 80. To be accepted as enacted.- Except as thus pointed out, a statute must be taken to be what the authoritative record makes it. We cannot, to bring it to our views, import into it words not used by the law-makers; or control it, when unambiguous, though we think it is not what it should be;s and, in those cases in which we may bend the meaning of particular words and phrases to the general intent or the like, there is a degree beyond which the process cannot be carried. The degree differs with the circumstances; and to ascertain both is a leading object of these chapters on interpretation. Again,

$ 81, False grammar.--Like an indictment,' a statute is not rendered inoperative by false grammar,' and inelegancies and impurities of expression. For example,

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Co., 6 Blatch. 509, 511; U. S. v. Three 542, 14 8. E. R. 135; 8. v. Stillman, 81
Railroad Cars, 1 Abb. (U. S.) 196; Ran. Wis. 124, 51 N. W. R. 260; In re Frey
dolph v. Bayue, 44 Cal. 366; Morrill (Pa. St.), 18 Atl. R. 478; Com. v. Grim-
v. S., 38 Wis. 428. [20 Am. R. 12.] stead (Ky.), 55 S. W. R. 720.]
1 Crim. Pro., I, S 357.

3 Ante, & 72; post, SS 145, 146.
2 See, and compare, Moody v. Ste. 4 Dwar. Stat. (2d ed.) 579; King 0.
phenson, 1 Minn. 401; Stoneman v.' Burrell, 12 A. & E. 460, 468; Lamond
Whaley, 9 Iowa, 390; Bostick v. S., v. Eiffe, 3 Q. B. 910; Rex v. Vandeleer,
34 Ala. 266; Gardner v. S., 25 Md. 146; 1 Stra. 69; Rex v. Pereira, 2 A. & E.
Nazro v. Merchants' Mutual Insur- 375, 380; Bloxam v. Elsee, 6 B. & C.
ance Co., 14 Wis. 295; Sparrow v. Da. 169, 176.
vidson College, 77 N. C. 35; Tollett v. 5 Bidwell v. Whitaker, 1 Mich. 469;
Thomas, Law Rep. 6 Q. B. 514, 518; Bartlett v. Morris, 9 Port. 266; Sibley
Graham v. Charlotte, etc. R. R. Co., v. Smith, 2 Mich. 486; Green v. Cheek,
64 N. C. 631; Rolland v. Com., 82 Pa. 5 Ind. 105.
St. 306, 326, [22 Am. R. 758;] Angell 6 Putnam v. Longley, 11 Pick. 487,
v. Angell, 9 Q. B. 328, 360; Haney v. 490; Pitman v. Flint, 10 Pick. 504,
S., 34 Ark. 263; Turner v. S., 40 Ala. 506; Reg. v. Simpson, 10 Mod. 341, 344;
21; Lindsley v. Williams, 5 C. E. Rex v. The Poor Law Commissioners,
Green, 93; [Landrum v. Flannigan, 6 A. & E. 1,7; Rex v. Stoke Dameral,
60 Kan. 436; Paxton v. Farmers Co., 7 B. & C. 563; Dwar. Stat. (2d ed.)
45 Neb. 884, 64 N. W. R. 343; Hooper 583 et seq., 595, 598; U. S. v. Warner,
V. Birchfield, 115 Ala. 226; Hutch. 4 McLean, 463.
ings v. Bank (Va. Ap.), 20 8. E. R. 7 Crim. Pro., I, SS 348–355.
950; Western Co. v. Murray (Ariz), 8 Garrigus v. Parke, 39 Ind. 66.
56 Pac. R. 728; S. v. Swift, 35 W. Va. [Grammatical accuracy not so im-

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Disjunctive and conjunctive.— Conjunctive sentences, de scribing different branches of the same offense, will be construed as conjunctive or disjunctive according to the evident meaning of the law-makers.' And –

Inaccurate.Words and expressions inaccurately used will be given the sense intended where it appears on the whole face of the act. Even in opposition to the strict letter, the clear purpose of the legislature, as apparent on inspection of the statute itself, will be carried out. But

Limit.- This doctrine applies only where the true intent is manifest in the act itself, or in it compared with other acts on the same subject. Now,

$ 82. Group of doctrines.- Bearing in mind the cardinal purpose of all interpretation,-namely, to ascertain the true legislative intent,' — and remembering that each particular rule stands in subordination to this purpose, and is to be followed only when and so far as it contributes to this result, let us arrange around it, as in a cluster, some of the subordinate rules. Thus,

Harmony with intent. The statute should, if possible, be construed in a way to render each separate provision harmonious with its general intent. portant as apparent intent. Pease v. Mich. 148; Encking v. Simmons, 28 Fish, 70 III. Ap. 138. Mere grammat- Wis. 272, 276; Frye v. Chicago, etc. ical errors will not vitiate a law; and R. R. Co., 73 Ill. 399; Sussex Peera transposition of words and clauses age, 11 Cl. & F. 85; (Miller v. S., 106 may be invoked to furnish mean. Ind. 415, 7 N. E. R. 209; Anderson v. ing. Murray v. S., 21 Tex Ap. 620, Railroad Co., 117 IIL 26, 7 N. E. R. 2 S. W. R. 757; Leavitt v. Lovering, 129; Selden v. Hall, 21 Mo. Ap. 452; 64 N. H. 607, 15 Atl. R. 414.)

Middleton v. Greeson, 106 Ind. 18, 5 Post, § 243; 8. v. Myers, 10 Iowa, N. E. R. 755; Boody v. Watson, 64 448.

N. H. 162, 9 Atl. R. 794; U. S. v. Mor. * Rex v. Bullock, 1 Taunt. 71; rissey, 32 Fed. R. 147; Power v. Cho Crocker v. Crane, 21 Wend. 211, [34 teau, 7 Mont. 82, 14 Pac. R. 658; S. v. Am. D. 228;) Alexander v. Worthing- Hayes, 61 N. H. 264; Vermont Loan ton, 5 Md. 471; Erwin v. Moore, 15 Ga. Co. v. Whithed, 2 N. Dak. 82, 49 N. 361. See P. v. Clute, 12 Abb. Pr. (N. S.) W. R. 318; Columbus Co. v. Wright, 399; Thorp v. Schooling, 7 Nev. 15; 89 Ga. 574, 15 S. E. R. 293; St. Louis Nichols v. Halliday, 27 Wis. 406. v. Lane, 110 Mo. 254, 19 S. W. R. 553;

Ingraham v. Speed, 30 Miss. 410. Barnard v. Gall, 43 La. An. 959, 10 * Ante, & 72; Ezekiel v. Dixon, 3 S. R. 5; S. v. Moore, 45 Neb. 12, 63 N. Kelly, 146: Swift v. Luce, 27 Me. 285; W. R. 130; Re Salisbury, 44 N. Y. Riddick v. Walsh, 15 Mo. 519. Supp. 291; Hooper v. Creager, 84 Md.

• Ante, $ 70; Mardre v. Felton, Phil. 195.) lips (N. C.), 279; Leoni v. Taylor, 20 6 Dwar. Stat. (2d ed.) 582, 597;

Every word and clause a meaning.- Every word and clause should, if possible, have assigned to it a meaning, leaving no useless words. And,

Giving effect to whole.- A fortiori, the construction should be such as will not leave the entire enactment without effect.?

Repugnancy.— Nor should an interpretation be admitted, if avoidable, which will render one clause repugnant to another, but all should stand.

Absurdity-Injustice- Inconvenience. The interpretation should lean strongly to avoid absurd consequences,' injustice,

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Arthur v. Bokenham, 11 Mod. 148, 484; Root v. Sinnock, 24 IIL Ap. 537; 161; Mendon v. Worcester, 10 Pick. S. v. Babcock, 21 Neb. 599, 33 N. W. 235, 242; Com. v. Cambridge, 20 Pick. R. 247.] 267, 271; U. S. v. Fisher, 2 Cranch, 2 Nichols v. Halliday, 27 Wis. 406; 358, 399; S. v. Stinson, 17 Me. 154; Bailey v. Com., 11 Bush, 688; Manis Holbrook v. Holbrook, 1 Pick. 248; v. S., 3 Heisk. 315, 316. [That conLivingston v. Indianapolis Ins. Co., 6 struction will always, where possible, Blackf. 133; Scofield v. Collins, 3 be given to a statute which will Cow. 89, 96; S. v. Smith, Cheves, 157; make it valid. Cole Mfg. Co. v. Falls, Com. v. Slack, 19 Pick. 304; Wilson 90 Tenn. 466, 16 S. W. R. 1045; Ferguv. Biscoe, 6 Eng. 44; George v. Board son v. Stanford, 60 Conn. 432, 22 Atl. of Education, 33 Ga. 344; (Cincin. R. 782; 8. v. Williams, 35 Mo. Ap. nati v. Guckenberger, 60 Ohio St. 227; Chapman v. State, 16 Tex. Ap. 353, 54 N. E. R. 376; P. v. Town Clerk, 76; Ter. v. Ashenfelter (N. M.), 12 56 N. Y. Supp. 64; School Board v. Pac. R. 879.] Board of Education, 157 N. Y. 566, 52 3Dwar. Stat. (2d ed.) 568, 577, 578, N. E R. 583; Hall v. S., 39 Fla. 637; 594; 1 Bl. Com. 89; San Francisco v. Johnson v. Schlosser, 146 Ind. 509; Hazen, 5 Cal. 169; Brooks v. Mobile, Crete Bank v. Bartley, 39 Neb. 353, 31 Ala. 227; [Bernier v. Bernier, 147 58 Fed. R. 172.]

U. S. 242, 37 L. ed. 152; Kane v. Rail. 1 Bac. Abr., Statute, I, 2; Powlter's road Co., 112 Mo. 34, 20 S. W. R. 532; Case, 11 Co. 290, 34a; Rawson v. S., Burlington R. R. Co. v. Dey, 82 Iowa, 19 Conn. 292; Wilson v. Biscoe, 6 312, 48 N. W. R. 98; Ex parte Joffee, Eng. 44; U. S. v. Warner, 4 McLean, 46 Mo. Ap. 360.] 463; Opinion of Justices, 22 Pick. 571, 4 1 Bl. Com. 91; Dwar. Stat. (2d ed.) 573; Att. Gen. U. Detroit & Erin 587; Bailey v. Com., 11 Bush, 688; Plank Road, 2 Mich. 138; James v. Rex v. Banbury, 1 A. & E. 136, 142; Dubois, 1 Harrison, 285; Hutchen v. Com. v. Loring, 8 Pick, 370; JefferNiblo, 4 Blackf. 148; Green v. Cheek, sonville v. Weems, 5 Ind. 547; Henry 5 Ind. 105; Gates v. Salmon, 35 Cal. v. Tilson, 17 Vt. 479; S. v. Clark, 5 576, (95 Am. D. 139); Hagenbuck v. Dutcher, 96; [Lau Ou Ben v. U. S., Reed, 3 Neb. 17; P. v. Burns, 5 Mich. 144 U. S. 47, 36 L. ed. 340; Hawthorn 114; Lacy v. Moore, 6 Coldw. 348; P. v. County, 5 Ind. Ap. 280, 30 N. E. R. v. King, 28 Cal. 265; [McIntosh v. 16; Haggerty v. Wagner, 148 Ind. 625, Johnson, 51 Neb. 33; S. v. Mitchell, 48 N. E. R. 366, 39 L R. A. 384.] 50 Kan. 289, 33 Pac. R. 104; Jackson 5 Magdalen College Case, 11 Co. 666, v. Kittle, 34 W. Va. 207, 12 S. E. R. 73b; Co Lit. 360; Com. v. Slack, 19

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and even great inconvenience;' for the legislative meaning is to be carried out, and it cannot be supposed to be any of these. S0,

Doubtful power.— The exercise even of a doubtful power will not be attributed to the legislature; therefore construction will lean against it? And,

Expressed intent-Implied.-If the legislature has expressed its intent in the act, it will be carried out, though to the overriding of the ordinary rules of interpretation;i as, in like manner, will its intent in any other way sufficiently appearing:

Litigation.— An interpretation not opening the door to litigation will be preferred. Also,

Retrospective. Though statutes are often applied retrospectively, they are not so in general, and in most circumstances construction will lean against it. On the other hand,

Pick. 304; Meade v. Deputy Marshal, 279; [Stanley v. R. R. Co., 100 Mo. 435, 1 Brock. 324; Murray v. Gibson, 15 13 8. W. R. 709; Sykes v. Columbus, How. (U. S.) 421; Ham-v. McClaws, 55 Miss. 143.] 1 Bay, 93, 98; Robinson v. Varnell, 16 3 Farmers' Bank v. Hale, 59 N. Y. Tex. 382; The Ohio v. Stunt, 10 Ohio 63; Chapin v. Crusen, 31 Wis. 209. St. 582; (Lime City Ass'n v. Black, *Ante, $$ 70, 72, 81; Stowel v. Zouch, 136 Ind. 544, 35 N. E. R. 829; Carolina 1 Plow. 353, 365; Arthur v. BokenBank v. Evans, 28 S. C. 521, 6 S. E. R. ham, 11 Mod. 148, 161; McDermut v. 321.]

Lorillard, 1 Edw. Ch. 273, 276; Ayers TU. S. v. Fisher, 2 Cranch, 358, 386; v. Knox, 7 Mass. 306; Dwar. Stat. (2d Hughes v. Hughes, Carter, 125, 136; ed.) 593; S. v. Harkness, 1 Brev. 276; Ayers v. Knox, 7 Mass. 306, 310; Put- Castner v. Walrod, 83 Ill. 171, 179, [25 nam v. Longley, 11 Pick. 487, 490; Am. R. 369;] Smith v. P., 47 N. Y. 330; Associates of Jersey v. Davison, 5 S. v. King, 44 Mo. 283. Dutcher, 415. (A construction which Gale v. Laurie, 5 B. & C. 156, 164. would impose a vain and evidently [The courts will not impute to the unnecessary proceeding is unauthor- legislature a purpose to act against ized. People’s Bank v. Batchelder, 51 religion. Rector v. U. S., 92 U. S. 698, Fed. R. 130. A construction will not 23 L. ed. 690.] be adopted which would disfranchise 6 Post, SS 83-85b; Thompson v. Lack, a considerable number of voters, un. 3 C. B. 540, 551; 1 Bishop, Mar., Div. less such construction is unavoidable. & S., SS 99–103; Moon v. Durden, 2 S. v. Van Camp, 36 Neb. 9, 54 N. W. Exch. 22; 8. C. nom. Moore v. Durden, R. 113. Still no mere general notions 12 Jur. 138; Plumb v. Sawyer, 21 that the statute is unjust, im politic Conn. 351; Hooker v. Hooker, 10 Sm. or oppressive, or conflicts with the & M. 599; Bruce v. Schuyler, 4 Gilspirit of the constitution, will justify man, 221, [46 Am. D. 447;] Barnes v. the court in setting a statute aside. Mobile, 19 Ala. 707; Torrey v. Corliss, Sawyer v. Dooley, 21 Nev. 390, 32 Pac. 33 Me. 333; Murray v. Gibson, 15 How. R. 437.)

(U. S.) 421, 423; Pritchard v. Spencer, 2 Mardre v. Felton, Phillips (N. C.), 2 Ind. 486; Garrett v. Wiggins, 1

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