Increased Penalties Act

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For other uses, see Jones Act.
Increased Penalties Act
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titles
  • Jones Act
  • Jones–Stalker Act
Long title An Act to amend the National Prohibition Act, as amended and supplemented.
Nicknames Prohibition Penalties Act
Enacted by the 70th United States Congress
Effective March 2, 1929
Citations
Public law 70-899
Statutes at Large 45 Stat. 1446
Codification
Acts amended National Prohibition Act
Titles amended 27 U.S.C.: Intoxicating Liquors
U.S.C. sections created 27 U.S.C. ch. 4 §§ 91, 92
Legislative history

The Increased Penalties Act was a bill that increased the penalties for violating prohibition. Enacted on March 2, 1929, it is also called the "Jones–Stalker Act" or the "Jones Act". The legislation was sponsored by two Republicans, Sen. Wesley L. Jones of Washington and Rep. Gale H. Stalker of New York City. It stipulated that wherever any penalty was prescribed for the illegal manufacture, sale, transportation, importation, or exportation of intoxicating liquor as defined in the Volstead Act of 1919, the penalty imposed for each such offense should be a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed five years, or both. The Act did not repeal any minimum penalties then prescribed by law. It further declared that it was the intent of Congress that the courts in passing sentence should discriminate between "casual and slight" violations and habitual sales of intoxicating liquor or attempts to commercialize violations of the law.

The bill passed the Senate on February 19, 1929, by a vote of 65 to 18.[1] On February 28 the House passed it by a vote of 283 to 90.[2] President Calvin Coolidge signed the legislation on March 2, 1929.[3]

The Jones Law affects primarily the punishment provision of the Volstead Law, and might as a matter of technique have been made an amendment thereof. Its legal consequences are very considerable, since it materially changes the substantive nature of liquor law violations, and the procedural problems of those charged with punishment thereof. Its influence will even be felt in the state courts. Finally, it vests in the judges of the federal courts a wide and very important discretion.[4]

The Jones Law does not alone increase maximum penalties, it makes an important change in the classification. A judge sentencing a violator of the Volstead Act is now faced with the following admonition: "That wherever a penalty or penalties are prescribed in a criminal prosecution by the National Prohibition Act, as amended and supplemented, for the illegal manufacture, sale, transportation, importation, or exportation of intoxicating liquor, as defined by Section 1, Title II, of the National Prohibition Act, the penalty imposed for each such offense shall be a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed five years, or both: Provided, That it is the intent of Congress that the court, in imposing sentence hereunder, should discriminate between casual or slight violations and habitual sales of intoxicating liquor, or attempts to commercialize violations of the law. "Sec. 2. This Act shall not repeal nor eliminate any minimum penalty for the first or any subsequent offense now provided by the said National Prohibition Act.” [5]

Its purpose, as explained by its sponsor, Senator Jones of Washing ton, is to stiffen the penalties against those who are convicted of engaging in violation of the law for commercial purposes.[6]

Under the new classification transportation, import and export of intoxicating liquor are aligned with manufacture and sale in the group of major offenses, so that the acts expressly forbidden by the 18th Amendment are threatened with the same punishment. The former law was severe against manufacture and sale, but treated with leniency transportation and even importation.[7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ New York Times: "Dry Penalties Bill Passed by Senate," February 20, 1929, accessed June 24, 2011
  2. ^ New York Times: Dry Penalties Bill with 5-Year Term Passed by House," March 1, 1929, accessed June 24, 2011
  3. ^ New York Times: "Coolidge Signs Bill for Stiff Dry Penalties," March 3, 1929, accessed June 24, 2011
  4. ^ DEPARTMENT OF CURRENT LEGISLATION: The Jones-Stalker Law—Its Legal Consequences. (1929). American Bar Association Journal, 15(5), 276-278, 296.
  5. ^ DEPARTMENT OF CURRENT LEGISLATION: The Jones-Stalker Law—Its Legal Consequences. (1929). American Bar Association Journal, 15(5), 276-278, 296.
  6. ^ DEPARTMENT OF CURRENT LEGISLATION: The Jones-Stalker Law—Its Legal Consequences. (1929). American Bar Association Journal, 15(5), 276-278, 296.
  7. ^ DEPARTMENT OF CURRENT LEGISLATION: The Jones-Stalker Law—Its Legal Consequences. (1929). American Bar Association Journal, 15(5), 276-278, 296.