ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF INDIANA
White, McKenna, Holmes, Day, Van Devanter, Pitney, McReynolds, Brandeis, Clarke
MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.
A statute of Indiana provides as follows:
"Sec. 1. . . . That all railroad corporations doing
business in this State shall, between the first day of July and the twentieth day of August in each year, cause all thistles, burrs, docks and other noxious weeds growing on lands occupied by them in any city, village or township of this State, to be cut down and destroyed.
"Sec. 2. In case any railroad company shall refuse or neglect to comply with the requirements specified in the first section of this act, such company shall be liable in a penalty of twenty-five dollars, to be prosecuted for in an action of debt by any person feeling himself aggrieved. Said suit may be brought before any Justice of the Peace in the county, who shall require of the complainant surety to pay costs in case he fails to maintain his action. Summons may be served on any agent or officer of the company."
The company was proceeded against under this statute by defendant in error, who alleged that the railroad company is a corporation doing business in the State and that one of the branches of its railway lines intersects and runs through his land for a distance of 1/4 of a mile in the township of Curry, Sullivan County, Indiana, and that the company, between July 1, 1911, and August 20, 1911, refused and neglected to cause all noxious weeds (following the words of the statute) growing on lands occupied by it in the township and county designated above to be cut down and destroyed, and especially on its lands running through the lands of defendant in error. He also alleged that he felt himself aggrieved thereby and had been damaged in the sum of $25 and should receive the statutory penalty of $25.
The company demurred to the complaint for insufficiency to constitute a cause of action, filing therewith a memorandum alleging among other things that the act was unconstitutional.
The demurrer was overruled and the company filed a general denial of the allegations of the complaint.
After hearing a penalty was imposed upon the company in the sum of $25. It filed a motion in arrest of judgment in which it repeated that the law was unconstitutional. The motion was overruled and judgment entered against the company. It was affirmed by the Supreme Court. In that court the ground was specifically urged that the statute offended the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United ...