267 U.S. 432 (1925), 286, Brooks v. United States

Docket Nº:No. 286
Citation:267 U.S. 432, 45 S.Ct. 345, 69 L.Ed. 699
Party Name:Brooks v. United States
Case Date:March 09, 1925
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 432

267 U.S. 432 (1925)

45 S.Ct. 345, 69 L.Ed. 699

Brooks

v.

United States

No. 286

United States Supreme Court

March 9, 1925

        Argued January 30, 1925

        ERROR TO THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

        FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH DAKOTA

        Syllabus

        1. The Act punishing the transportation of stolen motor vehicles in interstate or foreign commerce is within the power of Congress. P. 436.

        2. The third section of this act punishes anyone who transports or causes to be transported in interstate or foreign commerce a motor vehicle knowing it to have been stolen, and the fourth section punishes the acts of receiving, storing, concealing, disposing of, etc., "any motor vehicle, moving as, or which is a part of, or which constitutes interstate or foreign commerce, knowing the same to have been stolen." Held that § 4 is constitutional, since its purpose is merely to make more effective the regulation of § 3, and it applies only where the act of storing, concealing, etc., is a final step in the use of interstate (or foreign) transportation to promote the scheme of unlawfully disposing of the stolen vehicle and of withholding it fro its owner. P. 439.

        3. When the constitutional question upon which a writ of error from this Court to the district court was founded is decided against

Page 433

the plaintiff in error, nonfederal questions arising in the record must also be decided. P. 439.

        4. In an indictment charging that defendant knowingly, unlawfully, and feloniously transported and caused to be transported in interstate commerce, between places designated, a touring automobile (stating its value), the property of A, which said automobile theretofore (stating a time) had been stolen from A, and that the defendant did not have A's consent to transport it between the places named, "all of which he," the defendant, "then and there well knew," the concluding allegation of scienter is to be applied to the whole narrative preceding, so that the charge that defendant knew, when he transported it, that the automobile was stolen is sufficiently definite. P. 439.

        5. Where a defendant is convicted by a general verdict upon several counts of an indictment, and is given the same term of imprisonment under each count, to run concurrently, error in the court's charge applicable to only one of the counts is not ground for reversing sentence on the others. P. 440.

        Affirmed.

        Error to judgment and sentence imposed by the district court for violation of the "National Motor Vehicle Theft Act."

Page 435

        TAFT, J., lead opinion

        MR. CHIEF JUSTICE TAFT delivered the opinion of the Court.

        This is a writ of error to the District Court for the District of South Dakota brought by Rae Brooks to reverse a judgment against him of conviction under two indictments for violation of the Act of Congress of October, 1919, and known as the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act. The writ of error issued under § 238 of the Judicial Code because the case involves the construction or application of the Constitution, in that the chief assignment of error is the invalidity of the Act. The Act became effective October 29, 1919 (41 Stat. 324), and is as follows:

Chap. 89. -- An act to punish the transportation of stolen motor vehicles in interstate or foreign commerce.

Page 436

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that this Act may be cited as the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act.

Sec. 2. That when used in this Act:

(a) The term "motor vehicle" shall include an automobile, automobile truck, automobile wagon, motorcycle, or any other self-propelled vehicle not designed for running on rails;

(b) The term "interstate or foreign commerce" as used in this Act shall include transportation from one state, territory, or the District of Columbia, to another state, territory, or the District of Columbia, or to a foreign country, or from a foreign country to any state, territory, or the District of Columbia.

Sec. 3. That whoever shall transport or cause to be transported in interstate or foreign commerce a motor vehicle, knowing the same to have been stolen, shall be punished...

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