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Ex Post Facto Law

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EX POST FACTO LAW. A statute which would render an act pinishable in a manner in which it was not punishable when it was committed. - Fletcher v. Peck, 6 Cra, (U. S.) 138, 3 L,' Ed..162; 1 Kent 408.

A 'law made to punish acts committed be fore the existence of such law, which had not been declared crimes 'bY preceding laws. Mass.. Declar.. of .Rights, • pt. 1, s„ 24 ; Md. Decl. of Rights, art. 15.

'. -A law passed' after the commission of the offence charged, which inflicts a greater pun ishment .than_ was annexed .to the crime at the time of -commission, or which alters the situation of the accused to his disadvantage: In. re 3 Wyo.,478, 27 pap. 565, 13 L. A: A, 748 St. Iten".' 94.

Which, in its operation, pakeS that eriminal',Wbic)i,', was so at the time the astion .performed; or which' increases the punialinient,' or, in short' whieh, in rela tion,tO ilie;;iftenee or: its consequences, alters atelituatiOli party to his diSadvantage, U. S. v. Hall, 2 Wash. C. C. 366, l'ect. Cas. Not 15,285 See Lliadzekv.-State, 65 Miss.' 542, 5 South; 99, 7 AM St. Rep. 674 ; Fletcher v. Peck, 6.Cra.;(1I. -S.) 87, 3 L. Ed. 162; Moore vy State, 43 J. L. 203, 39 Am. Rep. 558; Ratzky v. People; 29 N. Y. 124; ThoPpson v. Utah, 170, U. S. 343„1g Sup., Ct, 620, 42 L. Ed. 1061; In re Medley; S. 160;10 'Sup. Ct. 384,' 83 L. Ed.' 835.

Parli merit,' in virtue of its supreme pow er, may ia'ass such lawS, being sustained, by discretion alone; 1. Bla, Ceni. 46, isb: .

By the constitution Of the United St'ateS, congress is *bidden to 'pass em post facto laws. U. S. Const, art. 1, § 9. And by § 10 of the same Instrument, as well as by the constitutions Of 'Post; if not all, of the states, a similar restriction is imposed upon the State legislatures, Such an act IS' void as to those cases in whitb, if given effect, it would be ex post tato; _but so fai only. In cases arising after it, it may have effect ; for as a rule for the futUre,'it is not eX post facto.

There is a distinction between ex post fac to laws and retrospective or retroactive laws: every ex post facto law must necessa rily be retrospective, but not every retrospec tive law is an em post facto law; in general, ex post facto laws only are prohibited.

Ex post facto laws differ from retroactive laws. The latter, when imposing, taxes. or providing for their assessment and collection, are not forbidden by the constitution ; the former, in that constitution, has reference to criminal punishment only ; Kentucky Union Co. v. Kentucky, 219 U. S. 140, 31 Sup. Ct. 171, 55 L. Ed. 137. Retrospective laws are prohibited by the constitutions of the states of New Hampshire and Ohio. See Rairden v. Holden, 15 Ohio St. 207; John v. Bridg man, 27 Ohio St. 22; Blackburn v. State, 50 Ohio 428, 36 N. E. 18 ; Kring v. Missouri, 107 U. S. 221, 2 Sup. Ct. 443, 27 L. Ed. 506; White v. Wayne, T. U. P. Charlt. 94.

It is fully settled that the term em post facto, as used in the constitution, is to be taken in a limited sense as referring to crim inal or penal statutes alone, and that the policy, the reason, and the humanity of the prohibition against passing ex post' facto laws do not extend to did/ cases, to cases that merely affect the private property of citizens. ,But the prohibition cannot be evad ed by giving a civil form to what is, in sub stance, criminal ;' Cummings v. Missouri, 4 Wall. (U. S.) 277, 18 L. Ed. 356; In re Gar land, 4 Wall. (U. S.) 333, 18 L. Ed. 366; Bur gess v. Salmon, 97 U. S. 385, 24 L. Ed. 1104; Green v: Sliuniway, 39 N, Y. 418 ; Hare; Am, Const. L. 547. Divore not 'being a punish ment may Ve',authoriked for causes happen ing previous to the Ipassage;:of the divorce act; Carson v. Carson, 40 Miss. '349..

The constitution • does not the states from - passing retrospective laWs gen erally. Seine of the most necessary acts of legislation are, on the contrary, founded up on the principles that private rights must yield to public exigencies ; Carpenter V.Penn Sylvania, 17 How. •ttr. S.)463;15 L.' Ed. 127; Watson v. Mercer, 8 Pet. (U. S.) 8 L. Ed. 876 'Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge, 11 Pet. (U: S.) 421, 9 L: Ed. 773; Satterlee v: Matthewson, 2 Pet. (U. S,) 380, 7 L. Ed. 458 ; Bank of Hamilton v. Dudley, 2 Pei. (U. S.) 523, 7 L' Ed. 496; Dash v, Van Kleeck, 7 johns. (N. Y.) 488, 5 Am. Dec, 291; Com. v. Lewis, 6 Binn. (Pa.) 271; Wellshear v. Kel ley, 69 1Vio..843 ; tufted States Mortg. co: v. Gross, 93 Ill. 483 ; Cooley, Const Lim. 265; Callahan v. Callahan, 36 S. C. 454, 15 S. E. 727. See Drake v. Jordan, 73 Ia. 707, 36 N. W. 653 ; Campbell v. Manderscheid, 74 Ia. 708, 39 N. 92.z, Test oaths of past loyalty to the govern, pent have been held void as e; post facto; In re Garland, 4 Wall. '(15. S.) 333, 18 L. Ed. 366 ; except as Pre-requisites to the exercise of the elective franchise; Green v. Shum way, 39, N. Y. 418. A law prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors is' not ex post facto, State v. Paul, 5 R. I, 185 ; or a law a retrospective tax; Bonny v. Reed; 31 N. J. L, 133 ; Stoekdale Ins. Co., 20 Wall. (U. $.) 323, 22 L. Ed. 348 • see, Car penter v. Pennsylvania, 17 How. U. 16 L. , Ed. 127; Pujien v. C9n4s .04. County, 66 N. C. 361; or a law providing for the infliction of the death penalty by means of electricity which did not apply to crimes conuffitted before it took effect ; People v. Nolan, 115 N. Y. 660, 21 N. E. 1060 ; or a law authorizing a divorce for past offences ; Carson v. Carson, 40 Miss. 349 ; Clark v. Clark, 10 N. H. 380, 34 Am. Dec. 165 ; com pare Dickinson v. Dickenson, 7 N. C. 327, 9 Am. Dec. 608 ; or a law providing that the punishment of future crimes shall be in creased by reason of past offences ; State v. Woods, 68 Me. 409.

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