227 U.S. 308 (1913), 381, Hoke v. United States

Docket Nº:No. 381
Citation:227 U.S. 308, 33 S.Ct. 281, 57 L.Ed. 523
Party Name:Hoke v. United States
Case Date:February 24, 1913
Court:United States Supreme Court

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227 U.S. 308 (1913)

33 S.Ct. 281, 57 L.Ed. 523



United States

No. 381

United States Supreme Court

February 24, 1913

Argued January 7, 8, 1913




The power given to Congress by the Constitution over interstate commerce is direct, without limitation, and far-reaching. Hipolite Egg Co. v. United States, 220 U.S. 45.

Commerce among the states consists of intercourse and traffic between their citizens, and includes the transportation of persons as well as property.

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While our dual form of government has its perplexities, state and Nation having different spheres of jurisdiction, we are one people, and the powers reserved to the states and those conferred on the Nation are adapted to be exercised, whether independently or concurrently, to promote the general welfare, material and moral.

While women are not articles of merchandise, the power of Congress to regulate their transportation in interstate commerce is the same, and it may prohibit such transportation if for immoral purposes.

The right to be transported in interstate commerce is not a right to employ interstate transportation as a facility to do wrong, and Congress may prohibit such transportation to the extent of the White Slave Traffic Act of 1910.

Congress may adopt not only the necessary, but the convenient, means necessary to exercise its power over a subject completely within its power, and such means may have the quality of police regulations. Gloucester Ferry Co. v. Pennsylvania, 114 U.S. 196.

The White Slave Traffic Act of June 25, 1910, c. 395, 36 Stat. 825, is a legal exercise of the power of Congress under the commerce clause of the Constitution, and does not abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the states or interfere with the reserved powers of the states, especially those in regard to regulation of immoralities of persons within their several jurisdictions.

A variance which is merely verbal as to the name of the railroad over which transportation was obtained in violation of the White Slave Traffic Act and which did not prejudice the defense, held in this case not to be reversible error.

It is for the jury to determine the sufficiency of the evidence tending to show that defendants induced women to become passengers in interstate commerce in violation of the act, and in this case it does not appear that their judgment was not justified.

One can violate the White Slave Traffic Act through a third party acting for him.

Evidence of acts of defendants after the end of the journey held in this case to be admissible to show the action of defendants in inducing the transportation of women in interstate commerce in violation of the White Slave Traffic Act.

There was no error in the various instructions of the court in this case.

187 F. 992 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under various provisions of the federal Constitution of the Act of June 25, 1910, prohibiting transportation in interstate and

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foreign commerce of women and girls for immoral purposes, known as the White Slave Act, are stated in the opinion.

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MCKENNA, J., lead opinion

[33 S.Ct. 282] MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the Court.

Error to review a judgment of conviction under the Act of Congress of June 25, 1910, entitled, "An Act to

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Further Regulate Interstate and Foreign Commerce by Prohibiting the Transportation Therein for Immoral Purposes of Women and Girls, and for Other Purposes." 36 Stat. 825, c. 395. It is commonly known as the White Slave Act.

The constitutionality of the act was assailed by demurrer, and as its sufficiency otherwise was not questioned, a brief summary of its allegations is all that is necessary.

The charge against Effie Hoke is that she

did, on the fourteenth day of November, A.D.1910, in the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana, unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly persuade, induce, and entice one Annette Baden, alias Annette Hays, a woman, to go from New Orleans, a city in the State of Louisiana, to Beaumont, a city in the State of Texas, in interstate commerce, for the purpose of prostitution,


The charge against Basile Economides is that he

did unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly aid and assist the said Effie Hoke to persuade, induce, and entice the said Annette Baden . . . to go in interstate commerce . . . for the purpose of prostitution,

with the intent and purpose that the said woman "should engage in the practice of prostitution in the said City of Beaumont, Texas."

The second and third counts make the same charge against the defendants as to another woman, the one named in the third count being under eighteen years.

The demurrers were overruled, and after trial the defendants were convicted and sentenced, each to two years' imprisonment on each count. 187 F. 992.

The indictment was drawn under §§ 2, 3, and 4 of the act, which sections are as follows:

SEC. 2. That any person who shall knowingly transport or cause to be...

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