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FLANIGAN v. SIERRA COUNTY.

decided: February 20, 1905.

FLANIGAN
v.
SIERRA COUNTY.



CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.

Author: Mckenna

[ 196 U.S. Page 557]

 MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.

This action was brought by respondent against petitioner in the Superior Court of the County of Sierra, State of California, and removed on his motion to the United States Circuit Court.

The action was brought to recover the amount of license ordained under an ordinance passed May 31, 1900, by the supervisors of the respondent county, under what is known as "The County Government Act." California Stat. 1897, c. CCLXXVII. The act gave power to the boards of supervisors of counties as follows:

"To license for regulation and revenue, all and every kind of business not prohibited by law, and transacted and carried on in such county, and all shows, exhibitions, and lawful games carried on therein, to fix the rates of license tax upon the same, and to provide for the collection of the same, by suit or otherwise." Sec. 25, subd. 25.

In pursuance of the power conferred the ordinance in controversy was enacted, section 1 of which is as follows:

"Each and every person, copartnership, firm or corporation engaged in the business of raising, grazing, herding or pasturing sheep in the county of Sierra, State of California, must annually procure a license therefor from the license collector, and must pay therefor the sum of ten (10) cents for each sheep or lamb owned by, in the possession of, or under the control of such person, copartnership, firm or corporation, and used in such business in said county."

[ 196 U.S. Page 558]

     Application for a license is required to be made by affidavit, stating the number of sheep owned by and in possession of the applicant. "The license tax," it is provided, "shall be deemed a debt due to the county," which the district attorney of the county is directed to sue for; and a judgment is authorized. In case of recovery by the county, $50 damages and costs must be added to the judgment. All money collected for license, less a fee of ten per cent for collection, "shall be paid over to the county treasurer, as other moneys are, and be placed to the credit of the general funds of the county." Years within the meaning of the ordinance shall commence on the first day of January and end on the thirty-first day of December.

The petitioner between the first of May and the twenty-fifth of June, 1900, engaged in the business described in the ordinance, and had in his possession and under his control 25,000 sheep. He failed to apply for a license, and became, it is alleged, indebted to the county for the sum of $2,500, and became further indebted to the sum of $50 by way of damages for his neglect. Payment of both sums was demanded.

Petitioner demurred to the complaint, which, being overruled, and he having declined to answer, judgment was taken against him. It was affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals. 58 C.C.A. 340.

The ordinance was passed on the thirty-first day of May, 1900, and suit was brought on the twenty-fifth day of June of that year. On March 23, 1901, by an amendment to the Political Code of the State of California, section 3366, Stat. Cal. 1900, 1901, p. 635, the authority of the board of supervisors to license for revenue was repealed. The repealing provision is as follows:

"Boards of supervisors of the counties of the State, and the legislative bodies of the incorporated cities and towns therein, shall, in the exercise of their police powers, and for the purpose of regulation, as herein provided, and not otherwise, have power to license all and every kind of business not ...


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