State v. Malm

143 Conn. 462, 123 A.2d 276 (1956)

 

RULE:

While Conn. Gen. Stat. § 8269 should receive an equitable construction, courts cannot read into the terms of a statute something which manifestly is not there in order to reach what the court thinks would be a just result. An offer of reward is not the recognition of an equitable duty of the government to the informer, but a mere act of public policy, the giving or withholding of which, and whose terms, are wholly within the discretion of the government. Whoever claims under such an offer must bring himself within its terms. Failing to do that, his compensation is the consolation which comes to every citizen from the discharge of a public duty, which is the common obligation of all. In the field of legislation, the legislature is supreme. Courts must apply legislative enactments according to their plain terms.

FACTS:

Plaintiff provided information to police, and the assailant was placed under arrest and confessed to the murder. Plaintiff then sought the reward offered under the statute from defendant State. The trial court concluded that plaintiff failed to comply with the terms of the offer. On review, the state supreme court agreed.

ISSUE:

Was plaintiff entitled to the reward under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 8269 for information leading to an arrest and conviction of a guilty person?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The statutory reward was offered on a prospective basis, meaning that the information provided must "lead" to an arrest and conviction. There was no basis for claiming a reward under the terms of the statute because the information provided by plaintiff was provided prior to defendant State actual offer of a reward.

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