289 U.S. 159 (1933), 683, United States v. Burroughs

Docket Nº:No. 683
Citation:289 U.S. 159, 53 S.Ct. 574, 77 L.Ed. 1096
Party Name:United States v. Burroughs
Case Date:April 10, 1933
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 159

289 U.S. 159 (1933)

53 S.Ct. 574, 77 L.Ed. 1096

United States

v.

Burroughs

No. 683

United States Supreme Court

April 10, 1933

Argued March 14, 15, 1933

CERTIFICATE FROM THE COURT OF APPEALS

OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Syllabus

1. Under § 935 of the Code of Laws for the District of Columbia, passed in 1901, the Court of Appeals of the District has jurisdiction of an appeal by the United States from a judgment of the Supreme Court of the District which sustained a demurrer to an indictment on two grounds, one involving a construction of the statute on which the indictment was founded and the other a construction of the indictment, and, on such appeal, the ruling of the trial court based on the construction of the statute is reviewable. P. 161.

2. The Criminal Appeals Act, passed in 1907, providing for direct review by this Court of decisions of the "district or circuit courts" quashing indictments when based upon the invalidity or construction of the statutes upon which the indictments are founded, etc.,

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is not to be construed as applicable to the court of the District of Columbia and as working an implied repeal of the appellate system established under § 935 of the D.C. Code. P. 161.

3. Implied repeals are not favored, and if effect can reasonably be given to both statutes, the presumption is that the earlier is intended to remain in effect. P. 164.

4. The declarations of the District Code (Title 18, § 43) that the Supreme Court of the District is to be "deemed a court of the United States," and "shall possess the same powers and exercise the same jurisdiction a district courts of the United States," do not make that court a district court of the United States. P. 163.

Response to questions certified by the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia upon appeal by the United States from a judgment sustaining a demurrer to an indictment for violation of the Federal Corrupt Practices Act.

ROBERTS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia has certified the following questions:

Question No. 1: Where, on a criminal indictment, a demurrer is sustained and the indictment quashed on two grounds, one involving a construction of the statute and the other the interpretation of the indictment as a pleading, will an appeal lie at the instance of the United States from the trial court of the District of Columbia to the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia?

If Question No. 1 be answered in the affirmative, then

Question No. 2: May the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia on such appeal review the ruling of the trial court based on the construction of the statute?

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We are advised by the certificate that the defendants were indicted by a grand jury of the District of Columbia for violation of the Federal Corrupt Practices Act.1 They interposed a demurrer asserting that the conduct imputed to them did not constitute the offense defined by the Act, and that, in any event, the indictment was insufficient as a pleading in omitting to aver knowledge on the part of the defendants, which was claimed to be an essential element of the crime. From a judgment of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia sustaining the demurrer and quashing the indictment, the Government appealed to the Court of Appeals. The appellees contended that...

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