MANN ACT GIVEN WIDE SCOPE
BY SUPREME COURT
Held to Cover Private Escapades as Well as Commercialized Vice.
Washington, D. C., Jan. 15. — The federal white slave law was construed by the Supreme court today to prohibit interstate transportation of women for any immoral purpose, including private escapades as well as commercialized vice.
In three test cases the court in a divided opinion affirmed the convictions of F. Drew Caminetti and Maury I. Diggs of Sacramento, Cal., and L. T. Hays of Alva, Okla. Their imprisonment sentences and fines will become effective within thirty days.
The court divided five to three in broadly interpreting the law, enacted in 1910. Chief Justice White and Justice McKenna and Clarke in a minority opinion held that congress intended to have the law apply only to actual "traffic" in women and not to personal immoralities. Justice McReynolds, who was attorney general during prosecution of Caminetti and Diggs, took no part in the cases.
Affects Many Cases
The majority opinion, given by Justice Day, held that while congress may have intended the law to prohibit only traffic in women for pecuniary gain. its plain terms include interdiction of their transportation "for any other immoral purpose." If it was not so intended, the majority said, it was congressí function — not the courtís — to amend the law.
Wider scope in enforcing the law now is open to the department of justice, which contended for the broader interpretation. The ruling affects many pending cases, including that of Jack Johnson, the Negro pugilist, who is a fugitive from justice.
Whether the law makes "accomplices" of women involved in personal escapades was not definitely decided by the court, but their testimony against men indicted was upheld as permissible.
In the test cases Caminetti was sentenced to eighteen monthsí imprisonment and fined $1,500; Diggs to two years and a $2,000 fine, and Hays to eighteen months in prison. These sentences will go into operation when the courtís mandate is issued, under the rules within thirty days.
Rail May Pay Ruling
Ruling also were handed down in test cases regarded as decisive of the 800 railroad claims against the government for approximately $55,000,000 additional compensation for carrying the mails from 1907 to 1911. The verdict was against the railroads.
Agents of the Chicago and Alton and Kansas and Iazoo and Mississippi railroads from rejection of test claims were dismissed. The Chicago and Alton claimed $116,500 and the Iazoo and Mississippi Valley $26,800.
The claims for extra mail pay from 1907 to 1911 were based on the ground that the postmaster general exceeded his authority in 1907 in changing the "devisor," by which the average daily weight of mail carried was ascertained, so as to include Sundays, which previously had been excluded from the computation, because little mail was formerly carried on Sunday.