265 U.S. 57 (1924), 243, Hester v. United States

Docket Nº:No. 243
Citation:265 U.S. 57, 44 S.Ct. 445, 68 L.Ed. 898
Party Name:Hester v. United States
Case Date:May 05, 1924
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 57

265 U.S. 57 (1924)

44 S.Ct. 445, 68 L.Ed. 898

Hester

v.

United States

No. 243

United States Supreme Court

May 5, 1924

Submitted April 24, 1924

ERROR TO THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA

Syllabus

1. In a prosecution for concealing spirits, admission of testimony of revenue officers as to finding moonshine whiskey in a broken jug and other vessels near the house where the defendant resided and as to suspicious occurrences in that vicinity at the time of their visit, held not violative of the Fourth or Fifth Amendments, even though the witnesses held no warrant and were trespassers on the land, the matters attested being merely acts and disclosures of defendant and his associates outside the house. P. 58.

2. The protection accorded by the Fourth Amendment to the people in their "persons, houses, papers, and effects," does not extend to open fields. Id.

Affirmed.

Error to a judgment of the District Court sentencing the plaintiff in error, who was convicted by a jury of concealing distilled spirits in violation of Rev.Stats. § 3296.

HOLMES, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

The plaintiff in error, Hester, was convicted of concealing distilled spirits, etc., under Rev.St. § 3296. The case is brought here directly from the District Court on the single ground that, by refusing to exclude the testimony of two witnesses and to direct a verdict for the defendant, the plaintiff in error, the Court violated his

Page 58

rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States.

The witnesses whose testimony is objected to were revenue officers. In consequence of information, they went toward the house of Hester's father, where the plaintiff in error lived, and, as they approached, saw one Henderson drive near to the house. They concealed themselves from fifty to one hundred yards away, and saw Hester come out and hand Henderson a quart bottle. An alarm was given. Hester went to a car standing near, took a gallon jug from it, and he and Henderson ran. One of the officers pursued, and fired a pistol. Hester dropped his jug, which broke, but kept about a quart of its contents. Henderson threw away his bottle also. The jug and bottle both contained what the officers, being experts, recognized as moonshine...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP