272 U.S. 312 (1926), 24, Hebert v. Louisiana

Docket NºNo. 24
Citation272 U.S. 312, 47 S.Ct. 103, 71 L.Ed. 270
Party NameHebert v. Louisiana
Case DateNovember 01, 1926
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Page 312

272 U.S. 312 (1926)

47 S.Ct. 103, 71 L.Ed. 270




No. 24

United States Supreme Court

November 1, 1926

Submitted October 13, 1926



1. The Eighteenth Amendment contemplates that the manufacture of intoxicating liquor for beverage purposes may be denounced as a criminal offense by both federal and state law; and that these laws may not only coexist but be given full operation, each independently of the other. P. 314.

2. Where such manufacture is thus doubly denounced, one who engages therein commits two distinct offenses, one against the United States and one against the State, and may be subjected to prosecution and punishment in the federal courts for one and in the state courts for the other without any infraction of the constitutional rule against double jeopardy, it being limited to repeated prosecutions " for the same offense." P. 314.

3. The provision of § 256, Jud. Code, giving the District Courts exclusive jurisdiction of offenses, relates only to offenses under the federal law, and does not affect the authority of a state court over an offense against the state law, although the same act was an offense against federal law as well. P. 314.

4. The power of a State to declare criminal the manufacture of intoxicating liquor for beverage purposes and to prosecute offenders is not derived from the Eighteenth Amendment. P. 314.

5. In the absence of objection by the United States, persons under federal indictment and on bail awaiting trial for violations of the federal prohibition law may be arrested and tried by the state courts for the same acts constituting violations of the state prohibition law. P. 315.

6. A decision of a state supreme court construing state penal statutes in such wise as to impose a heavier sentence than would be valid under the construction advanced by the accused is not reviewable here as a denial of due process of law, under the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 316.

7. The due process of law clause in the Fourteenth Amendment does not take up the statutes of the several States and make them the test of what it requires; nor does it enable this Court to revise the decisions of the state courts on questions of state law. What it does require is that state action, whether through one agency or another, shall be consistent with the fundamental

Page 313

principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of al our civil and political institutions and not infrequently are designated as " law of the land." Those principles are applicable alike in all the States, and do not depend upon or vary with local legislation. P. 316.

158 La. 209 affirmed.

Error to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Louisiana affirming a sentence for violation of the state law against manufacture of intoxicating liquor for beverage purposes.

VANDEVANTER, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

The state of Louisiana, like the United States, has a statute making it a criminal offense to manufacture intoxicating liquor for beverage purposes. A judgment of the Supreme Court of the state, affirming a conviction under this statute (158 La. 209, 103 So. 742), is presented for review by this writ of error. The writ was sued out before the Act of February 13, 1925, c. 229, 43 Stat. 936, and falls within the saving clause in the last section.

When the accusation was preferred in the state court, and when the accused were arrested thereon, they already were under indictment in the federal District Court for the same acts as an offense against the federal statute, and were on bail awaiting trial in that court. When taken before the state court, they interposed a plea, first, that it was without authority to entertain the accusation, because the acts charged constituted an offense against the United States of which the federal District Court was

Page 314

given exclusive jurisdiction by section 256 of the federal Judicial Code (Comp.St. § 1233); and, second, that, even if the accusation could be entertained, their arrest under state process while they were on bail awaiting trial in the federal District Court was in derogation of the authority of...

To continue reading

Request your trial