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State v. Davis

Supreme Court of Arizona

January 12, 1942

THE STATE OF ARIZONA, Plaintiff,
v.
E. V. DAVIS and NAOMI DAVIS, Defendants

On certification from the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa. J. C. Niles, Judge. Question answered in the affirmative.

Mr. Richard F. Harless, County Attorney, and Mr. Harold R. Scoville, Deputy County Attorney, for Plaintiff.

Mr. Charlie W. Clark, for Defendants.

OPINION

Page 809

[58 Ariz. 446] LOCKWOOD, C.J.

E. V. Davis and Naomi Davis, his wife, defendants, were charged by an information filed in the superior court with the crime of contributing to the delinquency of minors. The information, so far as material for the purposes of this case, reads as follows:

"The said E. V. Davis and Naomi Davis... did did then and there, by their wrongful and improper acts and conduct, wilfully and unlawfully encourage and contribute to the delinquency of Thelma Davis and Wayne Davis, who were then and there children under the age of eighteen years, to-wit: of the age of eleven years and nine years respectively, which said wrongful and improper acts on the part of the defendants were as follows, to-wit:

"That the said defendants being then and there adult persons and being the natural parents of the said children, and being members of a religious sect known as Jehovah's Witnesses,... they the said defendants did then and there teach, instruct, direct and command the said Thelma Davis and Wayne Davis not to and to refuse to pledge allegiance to and salute the flag of the United States of America at all times and while they, the said Thelma Davis and Wayne Davis were attending the public schools of the State [58 Ariz. 447] of Arizona, for the reason that to salute the flag of the United States of America was contrary to the religious belief of the said sect known as Jehovah's Witnesses and the religious beliefs of them, the said defendants and of the said Thelma Davis and Wayne Davis; and they the said defendants then and there well knowing that under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Arizona,... the said Thelma Davis and the said Wayne Davis and all other pupils attending school therein were required to salute the said flag of the United States of America; and the said defendants then and there well knowing that by the refusal of the said Thelma Davis and the said Wayne Davis to salute the flag of the United States of America they, the said Thelma Davis and Wayne Davis would thereupon be lawfully barred and expelled from attendance in the said public school provided for the education of the said children,... and... that the said Thelma Davis and the said Wayne Davis could not in fact in any other manner obtain educational instruction, either at public or private schools as provided by the laws of the State of Arizona.

"That the said minor children acted in obedience to the said instruction of the said defendants to refuse to salute the said flag of the United States, and that the said minor children were on that account and therefor barred and expelled from attendance in the said public schools, and that said minor children cannot otherwise obtain educational instruction as provided by the laws of the State of Arizona;..."

Defendants moved to quash the information on the ground that it did not charge them with a public offense, and the trial court being of the opinion that the question raised was so doubtful and important as to require the decision of this court before further proceedings were had, certified to us the following question: "Does the amended information on file herein state a public offense under Section 43-1008, Arizona Code Annotated, 1939, or under any other law in force in the State of Arizona?"

[58 Ariz. 448] Section 43-1008, Arizona Code 1939, which defendants are charged with violating, reads so far as material as follows:

"Contributing to delinquency and dependency -- Penalty -- Procedure. -- Any person who shall

Page 810

by any act, cause, encourage or contribute to the dependency or delinquency of a child, as these terms with reference to children are defined by the preceding section, or who shall for any cause be responsible therefor, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon trial and conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed three hundred and fifty dollars ($350) or by imprisonment in the ...


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