The home rule charter of the city of Lincoln, Nebraska at one time provided:
In addition to the powers hereinbefore enumerated, the city shall have power by ordinances:
50. To make all such ordinances, by laws, rules and regulations not inconsistent with the laws of the state as may be expedient, in addition to the special powers in this article enumerated, to maintain the peace, good government, and welfare of the city, its trade, commerce and manufactures, and to enforce all ordinances by imposing forfeitures, and by inflicting fines and penalties for the violation thereof not exceeding one hundred dollars for any one offense, recoverable with costs, and in default of payment, to provide for confinement in the city prison or county jail, with or without hard labor upon the city streets or elsewhere, for the benefit of the city, until said judgment and costs are paid.
On June 15, 1954 the charter was amended by striking the italicized portion of the charter and substituting instead:
. . . providing for imprisonment of those convicted of violations thereof at hard labor for a period of not to exceed six months and to impose forfeitures, fines and penalties . . .
This amendment raises the question whether a city has power, under a home rule charter, to enforce ordinances by providing for imprisonment at hard labor other than upon a default in payment of a fine. Determination of this question is dependent upon two other questions. First, can the power to create a crime be delegated to a city under a home rule charter, and, if the power can be delegated, has it been delegated to the city of Lincoln?
Clark Nichols Jr.,
Municipal Corporations—Home Rule Charter—Validity of Charter Amendment Authorizing Penalty of Imprisonment at Hard Labor for Violation of Municipal Ordinance,
34 Neb. L. Rev. 133
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol34/iss1/13