407 F.2d 214 (6th Cir. 1969), 18457, United States v. Essex

Docket Nº:18457.
Citation:407 F.2d 214
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Patricia Ann ESSEX, also known as Patricia Ann Clark, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:February 24, 1969
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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407 F.2d 214 (6th Cir. 1969)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Patricia Ann ESSEX, also known as Patricia Ann Clark, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 18457.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.

February 24, 1969

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John S. McLellan, Kingsport, Tenn., and Moses Krislov, Cleveland, Ohio, D. Bruce Shine, Kingsport, Tenn., Moses Krislov, Cleveland, Ohio, on brief, for appellant.

Thomas A. Williams, Asst. U.S. Atty., Chattanooga, Tenn., John H. Reddy, U.S. Atty., Chattanooga, Tenn., on brief, for appellee.

Before CELEBREZZE, McCREE and COMBS, Circuit Judges.

CELEBREZZE, Circuit Judge.

Patricia Ann Essex, Appellant, appeals her conviction for juvenile delinquency rendered in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee pursuant to the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act, 18 U.S.C. § 5031 et seq. The finding of juvenile delinquency was based on an information charging that Appellant violated the Federal Obstruction of Justice Statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1503. The charge stems from the aftermath of the trial and conviction of James R. Hoffa where, in Hoffa's third motion for new trial, Appellant, one Catherine Johnson, and two others, filed affidavits in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee alleging that they had had sexual intercourse with several petit jurors while the jury was sequestered for deliberations. The District Court, however, found the allegations of misconduct to be untruthful and rejected Hoffa's motion. United States v. Hoffa, 247 F.Supp. 692 (E.D.Tenn.1965); affirmed, 382 F.2d 856 (6th Cir. 1967), cert. denied, 390 U.S. 924, 88 S.Ct. 854, 19 L.Ed.2d 984. Johnson was subsequently indicted and convicted of perjury under 18 U.S.C. § 1621 for giving false testimony about her alleged relations with the Hoffa jurors before a grand jury convened to investigate alleged misconduct during the Hoffa trial. Her conviction is now on appeal to this Court, United States v.

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Johnson, Case No. 18,377. So far as the record discloses, Appellant did not appear before this grand jury.

Appellant, a minor was indicted under the Federal Obstruction of Justice Statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1503. When it appeared that Appellant was a juvenile and consented to trial as such the indictment was withdrawn and proceedings were then instituted against Appellant by information pursuant to the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act, 18 U.S.C. § 5031 et seq. The information charged that:

'(Appellant did) corruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct and impede the due administration of justice in the United States District Court (for the Eastern District of Tennessee) in that she wilfully caused to be filed and affidavit subscribed by her in support of (Hoffa's) motion for a new trial * * * which (was) false and known by her to be false when made. * * *'

After an in camera hearing Appellant was found to have violated the statute and sentenced. Her contention on appeal, raised below by motion to dismiss, is that the information does not state an offense under 18 U.S.C. § 1503.

Section 1503 of Title 18, 'influencing or injuring officer, juror or witness generally', 1 originated with the Act of March 2, 1831, 4 Stat. 487. The 1831 Act was intended to be 'declaratory of the law concerning contempts of court.' 2 The power of the United States courts to punish for contempt 'in any cause or hearing before the same' had been recognized earlier by the Judiciary Act of 1789, 1 Stat. 83. In Section 1 of the Act of March 2, 1831, Congress restricted contempt jurisdiction and its summary proceedings to misbehavior occurring only in the presence of courts 'or so near thereto, as to obstruct the administration of justice,' see Nye v. United States, 313 U.S. 33, 61 S.Ct. 810, 85 L.Ed. 1172 (1941). With Section 2 of the 1831 Act, 3 the predecessor of the statute before us, Congress provided that contempts occurring beyond the presence of courts should be punishable by indictment and trial, and with all the safeguards thereof. 4

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The end result was this...

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