298 F. 911 (5th Cir. 1924), 3994, Sneed v. United States

Docket Nº:3994.
Citation:298 F. 911
Party Name:SNEED et al. v. UNITED STATES.
Case Date:March 11, 1924
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 911

298 F. 911 (5th Cir. 1924)

SNEED et al.

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 3994.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

March 11, 1924

Rehearing Denied April 1, 1924.

W. P. McLean, Jr., of Fort Worth, Tex., and James E. Gresham, of Mexia, Tex. (McLean, Scott & McLean, of Fort Worth, Tex., James E. Gresham, of Mexia, Tex., and J. F. Cunningham, of Abilene, Tex., on the brief), for plaintiffs in error.

Henry Zweifel, U.S. Atty., of Fort Worth, Tex. (Henry Zweifel, U.S. Atty. and H. L. Arterberry, Sp. Asst. U.S. Atty., both of Fort Worth, Tex., on the brief), for the United States.

Page 912

Before WALKER and BRYAN, Circuit Judges, and SIBLEY, District Judge.

SIBLEY, District Judge.

Sneed and Renfroe were each convicted and sentenced to two years' imprisonment on the first and second counts of an indictment against them and one Posey, who was acquitted. The first count charges a conspiracy corruptly to influence, obstruct, and impede the due administration of justice in a court of the United States, in which was pending a civil case to which Sneed was the party defendant, by influencing and impeding one Patterson, a juror therein, by giving him whisky and offering him money to hang the jury and cause a mistrial, and that as overt acts in pursuance of the conspiracy Sneed and Renfroe had given Patterson whisky and offered him $1,000 to hang the jury, had caused Patterson to spend the night with Renfroe, and Sneed had then paid for the whisky and lodging. The second count charges that the defendants did corruptly influence, obstruct, and impede the due administration of justice in said trial, and did endeavor so to do, in that they had plied the juror Patterson in the manner above set forth, and charges further that by reason thereof Patterson did influence, obstruct, and impede the jury in arriving at a verdict, and did endeavor to hang the jury.

Arrest of judgment was moved because no crime was alleged in either count, and because the conspiracy charged in the first count was merged in the accomplishment of the crime which was the object of the conspiracy as established by the verdict on the second count. The sentence of two years is also excepted to, in that the limit of punishment under the second count is one year.

Criminal Code, Sec. 135 (Comp. St. Sec. 10305), makes punishable whoever corruptly or by threat or force endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede, among others, witnesses and jurors in the discharge of their duty in a federal court, and, more broadly, whoever by such means shall influence, obstruct, or impede, or endeavor to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice therein. The things alleged to have been done concerning the juror Patterson undoubtedly constitute a corrupt endeavor to influence and impede him in his duty, and through him to impede the administration of justice in a court of the United States, and such success is alleged as to show actual impediment both of the juror Patterson and of the other eleven. The second count therefore charges a crime within both branches of section 135. A conspiracy to commit such a crime is a conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, under section 37 (Comp. St. Sec. 10201). That the United States was not a party to the civil cause in which Patterson was a juror makes no difference. The justice being administered was the justice of the United States, and its purity and freedom is to be protected by federal law. Wilder v. United...

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