Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date

1911

Abstract

The Way of the Transgressor is Easy, if he is shrewd enough to take an immunity bath, or avail himself of any of a dozen other provisions of the law made with good intentions and left lying about loose enough to be misappropriated. One rule that has served him many a good turn, is that there is no contribution between tort-feasors. Another way of stating it is that the courts are not open to help rogues out of the predicaments into which their dishonest dealings placed them, and the counterpart of the doctrine in equity is that he who comes into equity must come with clean hands. So far therefore as civil liability is concerned, all that is necessary to protect the knave is to get his dupe to join in the knavery. This successfully done he may fleece his victim with impunity. This doctrine has even been applied to criminal liability, under the notion that the prosecution is in some way for the redress of the person injured (McCord v. People, 46 N. Y. 470; State v. Crowley, 41 Wis. 271), theerby extending the immunity to both civil and criminal liability; but at this, most of the courts have balked, saying that if both are guilty, that is no reason why each should not be punished, and pointing out that the doctrine is inapplicable, because, in the criminal suit, the state is seeking relief and is no party to the knavery. Criminals have never been allowed to escape by merely showing that others are guilty and have not been punished (Com. v. Morrill, 8 Cush. 571; In re Cummins, 16 Colo. 451, 27 Pac. 887, L. R. A. 752, 25 Am. St. Rep. 291). In this connection the thing desired by the professional criminal is something that will afford him ample protection against criminal prosecution; for he has sufficient civil protection in the doctrine above mentioned.


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