Injunctions stopping crim. proc. enforcing illegal demands
But a distinction obtains when it is found to be essential to the protection of the property rights, as to which the jurisdiction of a court of equity has been invoked, that it should restrain the defendant from instituting criminal actions involving the same legal questions. This is illustrated in the decisions of this court in which officers have been enjoined from bringing criminal proceedings to compel obedience to unconstitutional requirements. Davis & Farnum Mfg. Co. v. Los Angeles, 189 U.S. 207, 217, 218; Dobbins v. Los Angeles, 195 U.S. 223, 241; Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 161, 162; Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Andrews, 216 U.S. 165. In this, there is no attempt to restrain a court from trying persons charged with crime, or the grand jury from the exercise of its functions, but the injunction binds the defendant not to resort to criminal procedure to enforce illegal demands. Philadelphia Co. v. Stimson, 223 US 605, 621 (1912).
Where the officer is proceeding under an unconstitutional act, its invalidity suffices to show that he is without authority, and it is this absence of lawful power and his abuse of authority in imposing or enforcing in the name of the State unwarrantable exactions or restrictions, to the irreparable loss of the complainant, which is the basis of the decree. Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. p. 159. And a similar injury may be inflicted, and there may exist ground for equitable relief, when an officer, insisting that he has the warrant of the statute, is transcending its bounds, and thus unlawfully 622*622 assuming to exercise the power of government against the individual owner, is guilty of an invasion of private property. Philadelphia Co. v. Stimson, 223 US 605, 621-2 (1912).
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