270 F.2d 179 (9th Cir. 1959), 15843, Chaunt v. United States

Docket Nº15843.
Citation270 F.2d 179
Party NamePeter CHAUNT, Defendant-Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee.
Case DateSeptember 22, 1959
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 179

270 F.2d 179 (9th Cir. 1959)

Peter CHAUNT, Defendant-Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee.

No. 15843.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

September 22, 1959

Page 180

John W. Porter, San Diego, Cal., for appellant.

Laughlin E. Waters, U.S.Atty., Arline Martin, Richard A. Lavine, Asst. U.S.Attys., Los Angeles, Cal., for appellee.

Before STEPHENS, MARIS and BARNES, Circuit Judges.

MARIS, Circuit Judge.

The defendant, Peter Chaunt, appeals from a judgment entered in the District Court for the Southern District of California which revoked a prior order admitting him to citizenship and cancelled his certificate of naturalization on the grounds that his naturalization had been procured by concealment of material facts and by willful misrepresentations. The record, which consists largely of testimony and documents offered by the Government, discloses the following pertinent facts:

The defendant, a native of Hungary, came to the United States in 1921 at the age of 22. During 1928 he worked on a Hungarian Communist daily paper, Uj Elore, and with the Young Communist League in Akron, Ohio. In 1929 and 1930 he had been arrested three times in the City of New Haven, Connecticut, charged in the first two instances with the violation of city ordinances and in the third with a general breach of the peace.

During 1930 and 1931 his name appeared in the Daily Worker in connection with some of his activities. On June 21, 1930 an article entitled, 'For Offensive Strategy, by Peter Chaunt, District Organizer, District 15', appeared in the Daily Worker. In 1931 he taught the subject 'Leninism' at a Communist training school in Ontario, Canada. From 1930 to 1940 he acted as District Organizer for the Communist Party in certain districts located in Connecticut, New York and Missouri. Also, during some of those years he attended conventions and meetings of the Communist Party.

In November 1939 the defendant filed an application for a certificate of arrival and a preliminary form for petition for naturalization with the Immigration and Naturalization Service in New York. He was orally examined under oath on June 27, 1940 by two examiners of the Immigration and Naturalization Service

Page 181

as to the questions and answers appearing on his petition, as well as on supplementary questions. His formal petition for naturalization was thereupon filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The petition was granted and the defendant was naturalized on November 28, 1940. Thirteen years later the Government brought the present action for defendant's denaturalization under § 340(a) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952, 8 U.S.C.A. § 1451(a), charging that, in answering the questions propounded to him, the defendant had concealed material facts and had made willful misrepresentations.

The gravamen of the amended complaint was that prior to and at the time of naturalization the defendant intentionally concealed the facts that he was an active member and officer of the Communist Party, and that he had been arrested, and intentionally and falsely represented that the only organization to which he belonged was the 'Fraternal Benefit Society of International Workers Order', that he was attached to the principles of the Constitution and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States, and that he had never been arrested, whereas in fact he was a member and officer of the Communist Party and by reason thereof and of his knowledge of the nature and principles of that Party was not attached to the principles of the Constitution or well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States, and had been arrested three times. The amended complaint further asserted that as a result of these concealments and misrepresentations the Immigration and Naturalization Service did not make a further investigation as to whether the defendant for five years immediately preceding his application had behaved as a person of good moral character attached to the principles of the Constitution and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States and whether he could take the oath of allegiance without mental reservation or purpose of evasion, all as required by section 4 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1906, 34 Stat. 596, 8 U.S.C.A. § 1448(a). The district court found that the evidence supported the claims made by the Government and entered judgment revoking the order admitting defendant to citizenship and cancelling Certificate of Naturalization No. 4785200. This appeal followed.

The defendant contends that the findings of the district court must be set aside as erroneous and that, in any event, the issues are res judicata between him and the Government. In reviewing the findings of the district court in denaturalization cases we must scrutinize the record with utmost care to determine whether the Government had carried its burden of proving by 'clear, unequivocal, and convincing' evidence, which does not leave 'the issue in doubt', that the citizen who is sought to be returned to the status of an alien obtained his naturalization certificate illegally. Suchneiderman v. United States, 1943, 320 U.S. 118, 158, 63 S.Ct. 1333, 1352, 87 L.Ed. 1796; Baumgartner b. United States, 1944, 322 U.S. 665, 670, 64 S.Ct. 1240, 88 L.Ed. 1525; Knauer v. United States, 1946, 328 U.S. 654, 657-658, 66 S.Ct. 1304, 90 L.Ed. 1500; Nowak v. United States, 1958, 356 U.S. 660, 663, 78 S.Ct. 955, 2 L.Ed.2d 1048; Maisenberg v. United States, 1958, 356 U.S. 670, 78 S.Ct. 960, 2 L.Ed.2d 1056.

We consider first the defendant's contention that the district court erred in finding that he intentionally concealed the fact of his arrests and willfully misrepresented that he had never been arrested. In his preliminary form for petition for naturalization the defendant answered 'No' to Question...

To continue reading

Request your trial