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ST. LOUIS v. STATE ARKANSAS.

decided: April 3, 1916.

ST. LOUIS, IRON MOUNTAIN & SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS.



ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS.

Author: Mckenna

[ 240 U.S. Page 519]

 MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.

An act of the State of Arkansas, entitled "An act for the better protection and safety of the public," provides as follows:

"Section 1. That no railroad company or corporation owning or operating any yards or terminals in the cities within this State, where switching, pushing or transferring of cars are made across public crossings within the city limits of the cities, shall operate their switch crew or crews with less than one engineer, a fireman, a foreman and three helpers.

"Section 2. It being the purpose of this act to require all railroad companies or corporations who operate any yards or terminals within this State who do switching, pushing or transferring of cars across public crossings within the city limits of the cities to operate said switch crew or crews with not less than one engineer, a fireman, a foreman and three helpers, but nothing in this act shall be so construed as to prevent any railroad company or corporation

[ 240 U.S. Page 520]

     from adding to or increasing their switch crew or crews beyond the number set out in this act.

"Section 3. The provisions of this act shall only apply to cities of the first and second class, and shall not apply to railroad companies or corporations operating railroads less than one hundred miles in length.

"Section 4. Any railroad company or corporation violating the provisions of this act shall be fined for each separate offense not less than fifty dollars, and each crew so illegally operated shall constitute a separate offense,"

The railroad company violated the terms of the statute for a day in the City of Hot Springs, and being convicted thereof was sentenced to pay the minimum fine imposed by the statute. The judgment which was entered upon the sentence was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the State. This writ of error was then granted.

The railroad company contends that the statute violates (1) the due process and equality clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, (2) that it operates as an interference with interstate commerce and (3) prevents a contest of its validity by the excess of its penalties. Of the last ground it may be immediately said that it is without merit.

The other grounds are in effect disposed of by prior decisions.

In the case of Chicago, Rock Island & Pac. Ry. v. Arkansas, 219 U.S. 453, a statute of Arkansas was considered which required freight trains to be equipped with crews consisting of an engineer, a foreman, a conductor, and three brakemen, "regardless of any modern equipment or automatic couplings and air brakes. . . ." The statute did not apply to railroads whose line or lines did not exceed fifty miles in length, nor to any railroad, regardless of length of its line, where the freight train ...


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