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U.S. Supreme Court

Shevlin-Carpenter Co. v. Minnesota, 218 U.S. 57 (1910)

Shevlin-Carpenter Co. v. Minnesota

No. 139

Argued April 6, 1910

Decided May 31, 1910

218 U.S. 57


Where the purpose of a state statute does not depend upon the inseparableness of its punishments the fact that a statute provides both double damages and fine and imprisonment does not necessarily prevent a construction that the provisions are independent.

There must be a first jeopardy before there can be a second, and on the first, the defense of second jeopardy cannot be raised in anticipation of deprivation of the constitutional immunity on a subsequent trial.

Page 218 U. S. 58

Quaere, whether a state statute which inflicts two punishments in separate proceedings for the same act is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment.

The mere fact that a state police statute punishes an offense actually committed without regard to intent does not render the statute unconstitutional under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Constitution declares the principle upon which the public welfare is to be promoted and opposing ones cannot be substituted. Connolly v. Union Sewer Pipe Co., 184 U. S. 540, 184 U. S. 558.

A state does not offend the equality clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by taking as a basis of classification the ways by which a law may be defeated. St. John v. New York, 201 U. S. 633.

Innocence cannot be asserted as to an action which violates existing law, and ignorance of law will not excuse.

Courts cannot set aside legislation simply because it is harsh.

The statute of Minnesota punishing the cutting and removal of timber on state lands and imposing double or triple damages and fine and imprisonment for violation, whether the offense be willful or not, is not unconstitutional under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment either as putting one violating it in second jeopardy or because inflicting the penalties upon him regardless of his intent.

102 Minn. 470 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of a statute of Minnesota regulating cutting timber on the public lands of the state and fixing penalties therefor, are stated in the opinion.

Page 218 U. S. 62

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