Friday, January 26, 2007

Archaic Laws 2

While we're waiting for the new omnibus bill to clear the midden pile of passé or dumb Massachusetts laws, we can revisit last year's version. Rep. Byron Rushing gets credit as generator of this session's. However, he benefited from the work of Sen. Cynthia Creem.

Her bill got sent to the Joint Judiciary Committee for study last session. It reemerged in the middle of the Senate docket. Rushing's version is similarly situated on the House docket. We certainly hope as they assign numbers to these bills, they move them up -- for entertainment value as well as good legislative sense.

Perhaps you can find out what the fascination with tramps and vagabonds was. Imagine also new laws that mirror these in featuring many causes for warrantless arrests for victimless crimes.

Format note: In the following, the capitalized SECTION listings are the bill items. The italicized text below that begins with Section is the actual text of the existing law. Also, if this drives you to browse the existing laws to find your own favorites, start here.

For those curious about what's on the books but not eager to dig into the general laws pages, the following includes last session's Senate bill 938 with annotations for the existing laws:


By Ms. Creem, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 938) of Cynthia S. Creem, Robert A. O'Leary, Michael E. Festa, David P. Linsky and other members of the General Court for legislation relative to archaic crimes. (2005)

AN ACT RELATIVE TO ARCHAIC CRIMES

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 14 of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 14. A married person who has sexual intercourse with a person not his spouse or an unmarried person who has sexual intercourse with a married person shall be guilty of adultery and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in jail for not more than two years or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.

SECTION 2. Section 18 of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 18. Whoever commits fornication shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three months or by a fine of not more than thirty dollars.

SECTION 3. Section 20 of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 20. Except as provided in section twenty-one A, whoever knowingly advertises, prints, publishes, distributes or circulates, or knowingly causes to be advertised, printed, published, distributed or circulated, any pamphlet, printed paper, book, newspaper, notice, advertisement or reference containing words or language giving or conveying any notice, hint or reference to any person, or to the name of any person, real or fictitious, from whom, or to any place, house, shop or office where any poison, drug, mixture, preparation, medicine or noxious thing, or any instrument or means whatever, or any advice, direction, information or knowledge may be obtained for the purpose of causing or procuring the miscarriage of a woman pregnant with child or of preventing, or which is represented as intended to prevent, pregnancy shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in jail for not more than two and one half years or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.

SECTION 4. Section 21 of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 21. Except as provided in section twenty-one A, whoever sells, lends, gives away, exhibits, or offers to sell, lend or give away an instrument or other article intended to be used for self-abuse, or any drug, medicine, instrument or article whatever for the prevention of conception or for causing unlawful abortion, or advertises the same, or writes, prints, or causes to be written or printed a card, circular, book, pamphlet, advertisement or notice of any kind stating when, where, how, of whom or by what means such article can be purchased or obtained, or manufactures or makes any such article shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or in jail or the house of correction for not more than two and one half years or by a fine of not less than one hundred nor more than one thousand dollars.

SECTION 5. Section 21A of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 21A. A registered physician may administer to or prescribe for any married person drugs or articles intended for the prevention of pregnancy or conception. A registered pharmacist actually engaged in the business of pharmacy may furnish such drugs or articles to any married person presenting a prescription from a registered physician.

A public health agency, a registered nurse, or a maternity health clinic operated by or in an accredited hospital may furnish information to any married person as to where professional advice regarding such drugs or articles may be lawfully obtained.

This section shall not be construed as affecting the provisions of sections twenty and twenty-one relative to prohibition of advertising of drugs or articles intended for the prevention of pregnancy or conception; nor shall this section be construed so as to permit the sale or dispensing of such drugs or articles by means of any vending machine or similar device.

SECTION 6. Said chapter 272 is hereby further amended by striking out section 34, (Section 34. Whoever commits the abominable and detestable crime against nature, either with mankind or with a beast, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than twenty years. ) as appearing in the 2002 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 34. Whoever commits a sexual act on an animal shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 20 years or in a house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years, or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

SECTION 7. Section 36 of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 36. Whoever wilfully blasphemes the holy name of God by denying, cursing or contumeliously reproaching God, his creation, government or final judging of the world, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching or exposing to contempt and ridicule, the holy word of God contained in the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good behavior.

SECTION 8. Section 63 of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 63. Whoever, not being under seventeen, or a person asking charity within his own town, roves about from place to place begging, or living without labor or visible means of support, shall be deemed a tramp. An act of begging or soliciting alms, whether of money, food, lodging or clothing, by a person having no residence in the town within which the act is committed, or the riding upon a freight train of a railroad, whether within or without any car or part thereof, without a permit from the proper officers or employees of such railroad or train, shall be prima facie evidence that such person is a tramp.

SECTION 9. Section 64 of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 64. A tramp shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than thirty days; and if he enters a dwelling house or other building without the consent of the owner or occupant thereof, or wilfully or maliciously injures or threatens to injure any person therein, or threatens to do any injury to any person, or to the property of another, or is found carrying a firearm or other dangerous weapon, he shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not less than one nor more than two and one half years, but notwithstanding the foregoing a tramp found carrying a firearm or other dangerous weapon in violation of section ten of chapter two hundred and sixty-nine may be prosecuted and punished thereunder.

SECTION 10. Section 65 of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 65. A sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable or police officer, upon view or information of an offence described in the two preceding sections, may, without a warrant, arrest the offender, and make complaint against him therefor; and the state police shall make such arrests and complaints. Mayors and selectmen shall appoint special police officers, who shall also make such arrests and complaints in their respective towns.

SECTION 11. Section 66 of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 66. Persons wandering abroad and begging, or who go about from door to door or in public or private ways, areas to which the general public is invited, or in other public places for the purpose of begging or to receive alms, and who are not licensed or who do not come within the description of tramps as contained in section sixty-three, shall be deemed vagrants and may be punished by imprisonment for not more than six months in the house of correction.

SECTION 12. Section 67 of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 67. Sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, constables and police officers, acting on the request of any person or upon their own information or belief, shall without a warrant arrest and carry any vagrant before a district court for the purpose of an examination, and shall make complaint against him.

SECTION 13. Section 68 of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 68. A person known to be a pickpocket, thief or burglar, if acting in a suspicious manner around any steamboat landing, railroad depot, or any electric railway station, or place where electric railway cars stop to allow passengers to enter or leave the cars, banking institution, broker’s office, place of public amusement, auction room, store, shop, crowded thoroughfare, car or omnibus, the dwelling place of another, or at any public gathering or assembly, shall be deemed a vagabond, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not less than four nor more than twelve months.

SECTION 14. Section 69 of chapter 272 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
Section 69. Sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, constables and police officers shall take any such vagabond into custody without a warrant and shall, within twenty-four hours after such arrest, Sundays and legal holidays excepted, take him before a district court, and shall make complaint against him.

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