Scott Graves, Prosecuting Attorney Ottawa County, Port Clinton, Ohio
OF all the writing upon the prohibition question there has been no one who has treated the subject from a legal standpoint. We have all been looking for something difficult, something far off in the distance; let us throw away out binoculars and slip on our bi-focals; something may be seen near at hand.
In law crimes are divided into two classes, the first of which is malum per se. The malum per se crime is one which is wrong in itself; a few of the more common examples are murder, arson, burglary. All crimes of this nature are such a flagrant violation of an individual right that society has taken upon itself the task of punishing them in self-protection. The enforcement of these laws is fairly easy. Every one realizes that laws prohibiting such acts must be enforced or the individual will suffer. Nearly every one in our country thus acts as a detective or a policeman in reference to such crimes. Who would not call a policeman if he saw such a crime being committed or gladly give information leading to the arrest of such a criminal?
The other class of crime is malum prohibitum. It is wrong because the statute says so, but otherwise not. A few examples in Ohio are fishing on Sunday, keeping a moving picture show open on Sunday, and exceeding 35 miles per hour in an automobile. The streams of Ohio are lined with fishermen on Sunday, the movies are open