Criminal Courts Avoided: Civil Action Will Determine Constitutionality of New York Laws, Daily Racing Form, 1910-08-23


view raw text

CRIMINAL COURTS AVOIDED CIVIL ACTION WILL DETERMINE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF NEW YORK LAWS. Trial of Suit Brought Against Directors of Westchester Racing Association by Minority Stockholders to Be Expedited. New York. August 22. — In the trial of the suit which minority stockholders have brought ■■■l—l tin directors of the Westchester Bactag Association. It is understood that there will come a test of the new laws, operative on September 1, which make more stringent the betting restrictions at race tracks anil make trustees anil directors of rtekg corporations equally guilty anil subject to imprisonment with anyone who is convicted of violation of the betting law on the corporations property. It is the expectation of the persons interested in racing that the suit will he expedited and that a final decision :is to the const itut ionality of the new law will lie olitained by early spring in time for the racing men to alter or enlarge their plans for the season of 11»11. It is a civil action and dilatory tactics will not l e resorted to by either party to the suit. In some quarters it is regarded as a friendly suit brought for the purpose of getting a ruling on the new laws, which several lawyers of prominence have declared to be plainly unconstitutional in that they make persons responsible for crimes committed by others and amenable to punishment by iuiprisou-lm nt. As soon as the traeteos liability law was passed by the Legislature, announcement was made that a test of the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of it would lie made, but it was thought it would be a criminal action. No one volunteered, however, to tie a defendant in a test case with the possibility of imprisonment staring him in the face. When the ti-ustees liability bill was before Hie committee during the closing days of the Legislature, prominent men representing racing interests, among them Andrew Miller. Joseph Auerbach and others, declared that if it were enacted into law It would gradually but surely destroy racing in the state of New York. They declared further that the measure was plainly au invasion of the liberty and lights of the men who had money invested in race tracks and added that were passed they would seek at once to have its constitutionality tested. The trustees law is the one to which most serious objection was made. In brief, it repeals the section of the law which exempts trustees from punishment so long as they post notices ou their premises prohibiting gambling. The suit was started after the directors of the Westcliester Racing Association had decided not to hold a meeting at Itelmont Park this fall. Some of the minority stockholders insist that the meeting should be held and that failure to hold it deprives them of au opportunity to realize dividends on their stock. They also contend that in taking action the directors exceeded their rights and practically confiscated the interests of the minority stockholders. The directors answer was that they were compelled to abandon the meeting or expose themselves to criminal prosecution under a law which made imprisonment mandatory. They declared that they could not prevent oral betting. It would go on no matter how vigilant they might be. It was incidental to racing the world over, they averred, and always would be.

Persistent Link:
Local Identifier: drf1910082301_1_2
Library of Congress Record: