United States v. B. & O. S.W. R. Co., 222 U.S. 8 (1911)
U.S. Supreme CourtUnited States v. B. & O. S.W. R. Co., 222 U.S. 8 (1911)
United States v. Baltimore and Ohio
Southwestern Railroad Company
Argued October 19, 1911
Decided October 30, 1911
222 U.S. 8
Courts are not inclined to make constructive crimes, and in this case, the general rule that penal statutes must be strictly construed applies.
If there be ambiguity, the character of the statute determines for strict or liberal construction, but where there is no ambiguity, the words of the statute are the measure of its meaning.
A penal statute should not be construed as confounding unwillful with willful acts by uniting in criminality and penalties parties to whom no notice need be given with those to whom notice must be given.
The provisions of § 2 of the Act of March 3, 1905, 33 Stat. 1264, c. 1496, forbidding receipt for transportation of livestock from quarantined points in any state or territory into any other state or territory do not apply to the receipt of livestock by a connecting carrier for transportation wholly within the state in which it is received, even though the shipment originated at a quarantined point in another state.
The facts, which involve the construction of the Cattle Quarantine Act of March 3, 1905, 33 Stat. 1264, are stated in the opinion.