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Dissenting Opinion: Brown, J.
should have felt much less hesitation in acceding to the views of the majority of the court, since the name of the prosecutor can easily be ascertained, either from the original complaint, by an inspection of the record, or from the testimony upon the trial, and I have no doubt that it is within the competency of the legislature to make him responsible for such costs.
But the difficulty with the statute in question is that it makes him responsible only upon the contingency that the prosecution was instituted without probable cause and froin malicious motives, and authorizes the jury to find this fact from the testimony introduced upon the trial of the principal case, without giving the prosecutor any opportunity of rebutting such testimony, by proving that the prosecution was instituted in good faith, and with probable cause to beliere that the defendant was guilty. Such evidence would be obviously incompetent in the principal case, since the very testimony that would tend to show probable cause and acquit him of malicious motives would also tend to the prejudice of the defendant, and would be inadmissible against him. For example, suppose A should make a complaint against B for larceny, and upon the trial, either by reason of the death, illness or absence of his witnesses, or through the efforts of B and his friends to spirit them away, he might be unable to offer any testimony against him, of course B would be acquitted ; and A would be adjudged guilty of having instituted the prosecution maliciously and without probable cause, notwithstanding that he might have been able to show that he had made the complaint upon the statement of these witnesses that they had seen B take the property, and had afterwards seen it in his possession. Such testimony would obviously not have been admissible upon the trial of B, since it would not only have been hearsay, but it would have seriously prejudiced him in the eyes of the jury. At the same time, it would be obviously necessary to the exoneration of A.
It is a fatal objection to the statute that it undertakes to settle in one trial the rights of two parties to a criminal cause whose interests are adverse, and to try two distinct and dis. connected issues, viz., the guilt of the principal defendant and
Dissenting Opinion: Brown, J.
the innocence of the prosecutor upon testimony applicable to but one of such issues. It seems to me entirely clear that, if the prosecutor can be subjected to a judgment for costs and to imprisonment, without being able to lay before the jury the testimony which would tend to his acquittal, he is deprived of his liberty and property without due process of law, within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Notwithstanding that this was a prosecution for libel, in which it might be expected that the motives of the prosecutor would appear more clearly than in ordinary prosecutions, the statute appears to have worked a peculiar hardship upon the defendant. As stated in the opinion of the court, after the verdict was rendered, Lowe moved to set the same aside so far as it bore against him, upon the ground that he had not been heard, and could not be heard, in his own defence, and also moved in arrest of judgment upon the same ground, but the court denied both motions, and upon appeal to the Supreme Court, that court held, following in that particular State v. Zimmerman, 31 Kansas, 85, that, under section 326 of the Criminal Code, above cited, the court had no power to set aside a verdict of acquittal, and that it was equally powerless to set aside the verdict against the prosecutor, inasmuch as it was a part of the verdict of acquittal. In delivering the opinion, the court says: “The force of another universal practice of courts everywhere ought to be adverted to, and that is that when a jury returns a verdict of not guilty in a criminal case the trial court has no power to set it aside or modify it in any respect. These findings against the prosecuting witness were a part of a verdict of a jury in.a criminal case, wherein express power by statutory enactment is given a jury to determine both the law and the facts. The trial court has no power to interfere with that verdict in any prejudicial respect, and this court is as powerless as the court below.” In neither the principal opinion nor in the opinion upon motion for a rehearing was there any intimation that the prosecutor had been or could be heard in his own defence, notwithstanding his whole case was rested upon that ground.
't l'esults then that, under the construction given by the
Dissenting Opinion: Brown, J.
Supreme Court to this statute, the verdict and judgment against the prosecutor, however unjust it may be, is one which no court has power to set aside, because it is a part of the verdict of acquittal of the defendant in the principal action, and the court cannot set aside one part of the verdict without setting aside the whole. If any further argument were needed to satisfy one of the great injustice of this statute, it would seem that this construction supplied it.
The unnecessary hardship of the statute is the more manifest when compared with certain sections of the Revised Statutes of the United States, having a similar object. Thus, by section 970, when, in certain prosecạtions instituted by a collector of customs or other officer, judgment is rendered for the claimant, but it appears to the court that there was reason. able cause for the seizure, the court shall cause the proper certificate thereof to be entered, and the claimant shall not be entitled to costs nor the prosecutor be liable to suit. In such case the certificate is granted or refused by the court upon a hearing of both parties subsequent to the trial of the main issue and upon motion of the United States for such certificate. Averill v. Smith, 17 Wall. 82; United States v. Abatoir Place, 106 U. S. 160; United States v. Frerichs, 16 Blatch. 547; The City of Mexico, 25 Fed. Rep. 924.
A similar procedure is contemplated by section 975, making the informer or plaintiff in a penal statute liable for costs, anless he be an officer of the United States authorized to commence such prosecution, and the court, at the trial in open court, certifies upon the record that there was reasonable cause for commencing the same. So also, by section 989, it is made the duty of the court to certify that there was probable cause for certain acts done by the collector or other officer, under which it has been decided that the certificate may be granted by another judge than the one before whom the verdict was rendered, and after an execution has issued, as well as before. Cox v. Barney, 14 Blatch. 289. In all these cases a separate finding by the court is evidently contemplated.
Indeed, in section 327 of the Criminal Procedure of Kansas, immediately following the section by authority of which
Dissenting Opinion: Brown, J.
judgment was entered in this case, it is provided that “if a person cbarged with a felony shall be discharged by the officer taking his examination, or if recognized or committed for any such offence, and no indictment or information be preferred against him, the cost shall be paid by the prosecuting witness, unless the court shall find that there was probable cause for instituting the prosecution, and that the same was not instituted for malicious motives.” This section is apparently not obnoxious to the objection above made, since it contemplates a hearing by the court upon the question of probable cause and the motive for the prosecution.
In State v. Ensign, 11 Neb. 529, the Supreme Court of Nebraska, construing a statute similar to the one in question, held that the legislature had exceeded its power. “The mere failure," said the court, " to prove the charge made in a complaint is not conclusive evidence of the want of probable cause or of malice. A party may be convinced of the exist ence of a tippling or gambling shop at a certain place, or of other means by which the morals of the community are corrupted or debased, and yet upon the trial, from the peculiar or secret nature of the business, may be unable to prove the charge. Does such a case upon the trial assume the form of a contest between the accused and the accuser as to which shall be imprisoned? We think not."
I do not think it constitutional to so frame a criminal law as to make it incumbent upon the prosecutor to enter plaint at the peril of being mulcted in costs in case the prosecution was malicious, without giving him an opportunity of showing that the complaint was in good faith and with probable cause to believe that the defendant was guilty.
For these reasons I am unable to concur in the opinion of the court.
Opinion of the Court.
NORTHERN PACIFIO RAILROAD COMPANY v.
ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH
No. 288. Argued and submitted April 20, 1896. - Decided May 18, 1896.
When, in an action by a railroad employé against the company to recover
damages for injuries suffered while on duty, the inference to be drawn from the facts is not so plain as to make it a legal conclusion that the plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence, the question whether he
was or was not so guilty must be left to the jury. The defendant in error, plaintiff below, was a common laborer in the employ
of the plaintiff in error. When returning from his work on a train, the conductor ordered him and others to jump off at a station when the train was moving about four mlles an hour. The platform was about a foot lower than the car step. His fellow-laborers jumped and were landed safely. He jumped and was seriously injured. He sued to recover damages for those injuries. Held, that the court below rightly left it to the jury to determine whether he was guilty of contributory negligence.
The case is stated in the opinion.
This action was brought in the United States Circuit Court for the District of Minnesota, Fourth Division, by the plaintiff against the railroad company to recover damages which he alleged he had sustained by reason of the neglect of the agents and servants of the company. The plaintiff had a verdict, and the judgment entered thereon was affirmed by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. 12 U. S. App. 271.
The questions in the case arise on the exceptions taken to the refusal of the court to instruct the jury as follows:
“ First. That there is no negligence shown on the part of