237 U.S. 632 (1915), 685, Morgan v. Devine

Docket Nº:No. 685
Citation:237 U.S. 632, 35 S.Ct. 712, 59 L.Ed. 1153
Party Name:Morgan v. Devine
Case Date:June 01, 1915
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 632

237 U.S. 632 (1915)

35 S.Ct. 712, 59 L.Ed. 1153




No. 685

United States Supreme Court

June 1, 1915

Submitted April 7, 1915




Under §§ 190 and 192 of the Penal Code, two offenses, the one of breaking into a post office and the other of stealing property belonging to the Post Office Department, may be committed and separately charged and punished.

It is within the competency of Congress to say what shall be offenses against the law, and its purpose was manifest, in enacting §§ 190 and 192 of the Penal Code, to create separate offenses under each section.

The test of whether the breaking in and the larceny constitute two separate offenses is not whether the same criminal intent inspires the whole transaction, but whether separate acts have been committed with requisite criminal intent and such as are punishable by the statute. Burton v. United States, 202 U.S. 344.

The test of identity of offenses when double jeopardy is pleaded is whether the same evidence is required to sustain them, and if not, then the fact that both charges relate to and grow out of one transaction does not make a single offense where more than one are defined by the statute. Gavieres v. United States, 220 U.S. 33.

In this case, held that one who broke into a post office and also committed larceny therein, and who was convicted under separate counts of the same indictment for violation of §§ 190 and 192, of the Penal Code, and sentenced separately under each, was not, after having served the sentence under one count, entitled to be released on the ground of double jeopardy, because the several things charged were done at the same time and as a part of one transaction.

The facts, which involve the construction of §§ 190 and 192, Penal Code, and questions of separate offenses and punishment for breaking into a post office and committing larceny of property of the Post Office Department under

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the double jeopardy provision of the Fifth Amendment, are stated in the opinion.

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DAY, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case was submitted at the same time with Ebeling v. Morgan, just decided, ante, p. 625, and involves to a considerable extent the same questions. The appellees, Devine and Pfeiffer, pleaded guilty to an indictment containing two counts in the District Court of the United States for the Eastern Division of the Southern District of Ohio, the first count being under § 192 of the Penal Code, charging that the appellees did, on the 13th of January, 1911, in the County of Delaware, in the State of Ohio, unlawfully and forcibly break into and enter a building used in whole as a post office of the United States, with the intent then and there to commit larceny in such building and post office, to-wit, to steal and purloin property and funds then and there in use by and belonging to the Post Office Department of the United States. The second count was drawn under § 190 of the Penal Code, charging that the appellees, on the same date and at the same place, did unlawfully and knowingly steal, purloin, take, and convey away certain property and moneys of the United States, then and there in use by and belonging to the Post Office Department of the United States, to-wit, postage stamps and postal funds, etc. One was sentenced to...

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