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BRODNAX v. STATE MISSOURI.

decided: January 9, 1911.

BRODNAX
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI.



ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI.

Author: Harlan

[ 219 U.S. Page 289]

 MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the court.

This is an indictment in the Criminal Court of Jackson County, Missouri, against the defendants in error Brodnax and Essex. It is based on a statute of Missouri, approved March 8th, 1907, (Mo. Sess. Acts, 1907, pp. 392-393; Mo. Rev. Stat., 1909, §§ 10228, 10229 and 10230), which declares it to be "unlawful for any corporation, association, copartnership or person to keep, or cause to be kept, in this State, any office, store or other place wherein is permitted the buying or selling the shares of stocks or bonds of any corporation, or petroleum, cotton, grain, provisions or other commodities, either on margins or otherwise, where the same is not at the time actually paid for and delivered, without at the time of the sale the seller shall cause to be made a complete record of the thing sold, the purchaser and the time of delivery in a book kept for that purpose; and at the time the seller shall deliver to the purchaser a written or printed memorandum of said sale, on which he shall place, or cause to be placed, a stamp of the value of twenty-five cents, which the seller shall purchase of the State Auditor, and have on hand before making such sale; and it shall be the duty of the State Auditor, upon the passage of this act, to have printed or engraved stamps for this purpose, of such design as he may select; and on application and

[ 219 U.S. Page 290]

     payment for said stamps, to immediately furnish the same to the applicants applying therefor: Provided, further, and it shall be unlawful for the purchaser to receive the memoranda aforesaid until it bears the stamp above provided for. § 2. The fund arising from the sale of the stamps provided for in section one of this act shall, in the hands of the State Auditor, constitute a road fund; and it shall be the duty of the said Auditor to distribute said fund, annually, to the counties in the State and the city of St. Louis, in the same proportion and in like manner as the State school funds are now distributed by him. § 3. Any person, whether acting individually or as a member, or as an officer, agent or employe of any corporation, association or copartnership, who shall be guilty of violating any of the provisions of section one, shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined in any sum not less than fifty, nor more than one thousand dollars, and in addition thereto may be imprisoned in the county or city jail for a period of not less than thirty days, nor to exceed one year."

The indictment charges that the defendants, being officers and agents of the Board of Trade of Kansas City, Missouri, did, at a time specified, willfully and unlawfully keep and cause to be kept a place commonly called the trading floor of the Board of Trade of Kansas City, wherein was permitted the buying and selling of grain, provisions and other commodities, on margins and otherwise, and where at the time of such sales, so permitted the grain, provisions and other commodities so sold, were not actually paid for and delivered, and at such time and place the sellers, or any of them, of the grain, provisions and other commodities, so sold on margins and otherwise, did not then and there cause to be made a complete record of the commodities sold and the time of delivery in a book kept for that purpose, and at said time and place neither the sellers, nor any of them, delivered to the purchasers

[ 219 U.S. Page 291]

     a written or printed memoranda of said sales, on which they, the sellers, or any of them, had placed or caused to be placed a stamp of the value of twenty-five cents, which they had purchased of the State Auditor and had on hand before making such sales; contrary to the statutes, etc.

The defendants demurred to the indictment on the ground, among others, that the statute was in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as of the commerce provision of the Constitution of the United States. The demurrer was overruled and the defendants excepted. A jury was waived, and the case was tried by the court.

Before the introduction of evidence the defendants objected to any proof, resting their objection upon these grounds: 1. That the statute was discriminatory, abridged the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, deprived defendants of their property without due process of law, and denied to them the equal protection of the law, contrary to the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. 2. That it was an unwarranted attempt to regulate interestate commerce.

The objection was also made that the statute was in violation of certain alleged provisions of the Constitution of Missouri. But with the latter ground we have, for obvious reasons, no concern on this writ of error from the state court. The above objections to the evidence were overruled, the defendants duly excepting.

For the purpose of the case, and subject to such objections as might be thereafter stated, facts were admitted which brought the case within the provisions of the statute and the averments of the indictment.

The defendant objected to these facts as incompetent and inconsistent with the Constitutions both of the United States and of Missouri. The objections were overruled and ...


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