Berman v. United States

Decision Date06 December 1937
Docket NumberNo. 26,26
Citation82 L.Ed. 204,302 U.S. 211,58 S.Ct. 164
PartiesBERMAN v. UNITED STATES
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Mr. Samuel H. Kaufman, of New York City, for petitioner.

Messrs. Homer S. Cummings, Atty. Gen., and Mr. Wm. W. Barron, of Washington, D.C., for the United States.

Mr. Chief Justice HUGHES delivered the opinion of the Court.

On conviction upon an indictment containing several counts for using the mails to defraud (18 U.S.C. § 338 (18 U.S.C.A. § 338)) and for conspiracy to that end (18 U.S.C. § 88 (18 U.S.C.A. § 88)), petitioner was sentenced on each count to serve a year and a day the terms of imprisonment to run concurrently. Execution of the sentence was suspended and petitioner was placed on probation for two years. Petitioner appealed from the sentence.

While the appeal was pending and without its withdrawal, petitioner, fearing its dismissal, applied to the District Court for resentence. That court reimposed the prior sentence of imprisonment, again supending its execution, and added a fine of $1 upon each count. The court did not vacate the prior sentence. Petitioner then appealed from the second sentence.

The Circuit Court of Appeals held that, by reason of suspension of its execution, the first sentence was interlocutory and dismissed the first appeal. Assuming that appeal to be a nullity, the Court of Appeals thought that the District Court had power to resentence; that petitioner could not complain of the fine as it was imposed at his request; and that the second sentence of imprisonment, if taken alone, was interlocutory. The judgment imposing the fine was affirmed and the appeal from the second sentence of imprisonment was dismissed. 88 F.2d 645.

We are of the opinion that the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the first appeal as interlocutory. Petitioner was convicted and sentenced. Final judgment in a criminal case means sentence. The sentence is the judgment. Miller v. Aderhold, 288 U.S. 206, 210, 53 S.Ct. 325, 77 L.Ed. 702; Hill v. United States ex rel. Wampler, 298 U.S. 460, 464, 56 S.Ct. 760, 762, 80 L.Ed. 1283. Here, the imposition of the sentence was not suspended, but only its execution. The sentence was not vacated. It stood as a final determination of the merits of the criminal charge. To create finality it was necessary that petitioner's conviction should be followed by sentence (Hill v. Wampler, supra) but when so followed the finality of the judgment was not lost because execution was suspended. In criminal cases, as well as civil, the judgment is final for the purpose of appeal 'when it terminates the litigation between the parties on the merits' and 'leaves nothing to be done but to enforce by execution what has been determined.' St. Louis, Iron Mountain & S.R.R. Co. v. Southern Express Co., 108 U.S. 24, 28, 2 S.Ct. 6, 8, 27 L.Ed. 638; United States v. Pile, 130 U.S. 280, 283, 9 S.Ct. 523, 32 L.Ed. 904; Heike v. United States, 217 U.S. 423, 429, 30 S.Ct. 539, 54 L.Ed. 821.

Petitioner stands a convicted felon and unless the judgment against him is vacated or reversed he is subject to all the disabilities flowing from such a judgment. The record discloses that petitioner is a lawyer and by reason of his conviction his license was subject to revocation (and petitioner says that he has been disbarred) without inquiry into his guilt or innocence. Matter of Ackerson, 218 App.Div. 388, 392, 218 N.Y.S. 654. His civil rights may be determined solely by reference to the judgment.

Placing petitioner upon probation did not affect the finality of the judgment. Probation is concerned with rehabilitation, not with the determination of guilt. It does not secure reconsideration of issues that have...

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641 cases
  • Esty v. Jones
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Florida
    • June 4, 2015
    ...in a criminal case means sentence. The sentence is the judgment.'" Burton, 549 U.S. at 156 (quoting Berman v. United States, 302 U.S. 211, 212, 58 S. Ct. 164, 82 L. Ed. 204 (1937)); see also id., 549 U.S. at 156 (defining "judgment" as "the judgment pursuant to which [the petitioner] [i]s b......
  • State v. Patrick
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court
    • December 22, 2020
    ...St. 563, 564, 197 N.E.2d 197 (1964) ("the sentence is the judgment from which an appeal lies"); see also Berman v. United States , 302 U.S. 211, 212, 58 S.Ct. 164, 82 L.Ed. 204 (1937) ("Final judgment in a criminal case means sentence. The sentence is the judgment"). Thus, R.C. 2953.02 also......
  • United States v. Bescond
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • August 5, 2021
    ...final judgment rule "prohibits appellate review until conviction and imposition of sentence." Id. (citing Berman v. United States, 302 U.S. 211, 212, 58 S.Ct. 164, 82 L.Ed. 204 (1937) ). The rule "minimiz[es] appellate-court interference with the numerous decisions [trial judges] must make ......
  • United States v. Anthony
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • February 8, 2022
    ...that the "judgment of conviction" includes the defendant's sentence as well as his conviction. See Berman v. United States , 302 U.S. 211, 212, 58 S.Ct. 164, 82 L.Ed. 204 (1937) ("Final judgment in a criminal case means sentence. The sentence is the judgment."). Though Congress did not defi......
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3 books & journal articles
  • Expanding cause: how federal courts should address severe psychiatric impairments that impact state post-conviction review
    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review No. 60-1, January 2023
    • January 1, 2023
    ...(O’Connor, J., concurring))). 23. Id. 24. See Burton v. Stewart, 549 U.S. 147, 156 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Berman v. United States, 302 U.S. 211, 212 (1937)). 25. But see, e.g. , Allen v. Woodford, 395 F.3d 979, 1001 (9th Cir. 2005) (“[L]egal experts agree that preparation for the sent......
  • Review Proceedings
    • United States
    • Georgetown Law Journal No. 110-Annual Review, August 2022
    • August 1, 2022
    ...appealable as f‌inal order), abrogated on other grounds by Trump v. Haw., 138 S. Ct. 2392, 2423 (2018); see also Berman v. U.S., 302 U.S. 211, 212 (1937) (district court’s imposition of sentence appealable though execution of sentence suspended). An appeals court may dismiss the appeal of a......
  • The Final Countdown: Using Resentencing as Final Judgment in the Post-AEDPA Era.
    • United States
    • Suffolk University Law Review Vol. 52 No. 1, January 2019
    • January 1, 2019
    ...(10th Cir. 2017) (disagreeing with Fourth Circuit's rationale and arguing for claim-by-claim analysis). (11.) See Berman v. United States, 302 U.S. 211, 212 (1937) (maintaining criminal cases finalized by sentence rather than judgment); see also Burton v. Stewart, 549 U.S. 147, 156-57 (2007......

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