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State v. Gastelum

Supreme Court of Arizona

March 30, 1953

STATE
v.
GASTELUM.

[75 Ariz. 272] Rosenberg & La Vetter, of Tucson, for appellant.

Fred O. Wilson, Atty. Gen., Newman W. White, Asst. Atty. Gen., Robert Morrison, Pima County Atty., and Robert F. Miller, Deputy Co. Atty., Tucson, for appellee.

PHELPS, Justice.

Defendant was convicted in the superior court of Pima County, Arizona, of the violation of the Uniform Narcotics Act of 1935, A.C.A.1939, § 68-801 et seq., to wit, that he wilfully and unlawfully had in his possession and under his control certain narcotic drugs commonly known as marijuana. From the judgment entered thereon defendant appeals.

Two assignments of error have been presented for consideration:

'1. The court erred in denying defendant's motion, before trial, to quash the information for the reason that the Uniform Narcotics Act of 1935 under which defendant was charged is unconstitutional in that it violates article 4, part 2, section 13, of the constitution of Arizona.

'2. The court erred in denying defendant's motion for a new trial based upon the misconduct of counsel for the state, the assistant county attorney, in continuously propounding to the defendant, on cross-examination, over the objections of defendant's counsel, questions which were entirely improper and incompetent and in violation of

Page 204

section 43-1004 [44-1004], A.C.A.1939. The questions are set forth in designated lines and pages of the transcript [75 Ariz. 273] of the evidence, which questions it is claimed were asked solely for the purpose of prejudicing the jury against the defendant and which did prejudice the jury.

Counsel for defendant contend that the title of the act falls far short of the constitutional requirements of article 4, part 2, section 13. This section of the constitution provides that:

'Every act shall embrace but one subject and matters properly connected therewith, which subject shall be expressed in the title; but if any subject shall be embraced in an act which shall not be expressed in the title, such act shall be void only as to so much thereof as shall not be embraced in the title.'

The title of the Arizona Uniform Narcotics Act of 1935 reads as follows:

'An act relating to narcotic drugs, and to make uniform the law with reference thereto.'

The above provision of the constitution has been considered by us in a number of cases, from the case of Laney v. State, 20 Ariz. 416, 181 P. 186, to State v. Harold, 74 Ariz. 210, 246 P.2d 178, and we have said that we would not declare a legislative act unconstitutional unless satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of its unconstitutionality, and as we said in State v. Davey, 27 Ariz. 254, 232 P. 884, 885:

'* * * The burden therefore is upon the appellee [appellant here] in this case to convince us that the subject of the act is not reasonably embraced in the title thereof, by as great a weight of evidence and reasoning as would be required to be presented by the state to convict a defendant of murder. Every intendment and every presumption is in favor of the law, and if on ...


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