232 U.S. 563 (1913), Wilson v. United States

Citation:232 U.S. 563, 34 S.Ct. 347, 58 L.Ed. 728
Party Name:Wilson v. United States
Case Date:February 24, 1914
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 563

232 U.S. 563 (1913)

34 S.Ct. 347, 58 L.Ed. 728



United States

United States Supreme Court

February 24, 1914




The White-Slave Act of June 25, 1910, has been sustained as constitutional. Hoke v. United States, 227 U.S. 308.

Although the constitutional question on which a case has been brought to this Court on direct writ of error has been decided since the writ of error was sued out, this Court must retain jurisdiction for the purpose of passing upon the other questions in the record.

Under the White-Slave Act, the prohibition is not in terms confined to transportation by common carrier, nor need such a limitation be implied in order to sustain the constitutionality of the act.

The White-Slave Act has the quality of a police regulation although enacted in the exercise of the power to regulate interstate commerce, and it is wholly within the power of Congress to determine whether the prohibition should extend to transportation by others than common carriers.

The agency of one employed to bring prostitutes from one state to another without definite instructions includes power to decide upon the mode and route of transportation.

The cross-examination of a defendant in regard to taking morphine held in this case to be proper as it related not to general character, but to the condition of the witness at the moment.

Cross-examination as to the domestic difficulties of one of two defendants married to each other held in this case to have been material in order to corroborate the evidence of an accomplice and in other respects relevant to the testimony in chief.

Cross-examination of a defendant in a white slave case in regard to payments made to police officers held in this case to have been competent

Page 564

and material to show the character of the house occupied by defendant.

In this case, held that the charge of the trial court in regard to presumptions of innocence of the accused and their right to acquittal in case of reasonable doubt was sufficiently favorable to the accused.

The offense under the White-Slave Act is complete when the transportation in interstate commerce has been accomplished. There is no locus poenitentiae thereafter.

The facts, which involve the validity of convictions and sentences under the White-Slave Act, are stated in the opinion.

Page 565

PITNEY, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE PITNEY delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case comes here upon two separate writs of error allowed upon the same record, to review judgments of the district court imposing fine and imprisonment upon each of the plaintiffs in error, upon their conviction on an indictment founded upon the Act of Congress of June 25, 1910, commonly known as the White Slave Act (36 Stat. 825, c. 395).

The case was brought directly to this Court because the constitutionality of the statute was drawn in question. This question has since been settled adversely to plaintiffs in error. Hoke v. United States, 227 U.S. 308. Nevertheless, we must retain jurisdiction for the purpose of passing upon the other questions in the record. Horner

Page 566

v. United States, 143 U.S. 570, 576; Burton v. United States, 196 U.S. 283, 295; Williamson v. United States, 207 U.S. 425, 432.

There were numerous counts in the indictment and a general verdict of guilty. The...

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