Bistram v. United States, Cr. No. 7885.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
Citation139 F. Supp. 922
Decision Date19 March 1956
Docket NumberCr. No. 7885.
PartiesCarl Harvey BISTRAM, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES of America, Respondent.

139 F. Supp. 922

Carl Harvey BISTRAM, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES of America, Respondent.

Cr. No. 7885.

United States District Court D. North Dakota, Southwestern Division.

March 19, 1956.

139 F. Supp. 923

DAVIES, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court upon the motion of Carl Harvey Bistram, a prisoner confined at Alcatraz, to vacate the sentence imposed upon him by a Judge of this Court on October 28, 1949, such motion being made pursuant to 28 U.S.C.A. § 2255.

Bistram was convicted on his plea of guilty to an indictment charging that on or about June 6, 1949, he (and two others) "knowingly transported in interstate commerce from Mandan, State and District of North Dakota, to the vicinity of Laurel, State and District of Nebraska, one Ralph Alex Senn who had theretofore been unlawfully seized, abducted and kidnaped, carried away and held by said defendants for the purpose of aiding said defendants to escape arrest."

The indictment was based upon the following statute:

"Whoever knowingly transports in interstate or foreign commerce, any person who has been unlawfully seized, confined, inveigled, decoyed, kidnaped, abducted, or carried away and held for ransom or reward or otherwise, except, in the case of a minor, by a parent thereof, shall be punished (1) by death if the kidnaped person has not been liberated unharmed, and if the verdict of the jury shall so recommend, or (2) by imprisonment for any term of years or for life, if the death penalty is not imposed." 18 U.S.C.A. § 1201(a). (Emphasis added.)

At his arraignment on September 27, 1949 (after postponements from June 28, 1949, to give him an opportunity to secure counsel), Bistram was represented by Court-appointed counsel. He pleaded guilty to the indictment and was sentenced to confinement for a period of 30 years. It is this sentence which Bistram has challenged by the present proceedings. The motion is grounded upon the theory that his conviction is null and void because the indictment failed to allege that he did not come within the statutory exception applicable to the parent of a minor child.

The question here presented is whether a kidnaping indictment which fails to negative an exception excluding a parent from operation of the kidnaping statute where the victim is his minor child, is so defective as to require a conviction under the indictment to be vacated on motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C.A. § 2255.

Bistram, in his memorandum in support of motion, argues that the indictment should have alleged he was not within the exception because it was in the "enacting clause" of the statute.1

Cursory reading of dicta from some opinions might seem to require the negativing of an exception contained in the enacting clause.2

139 F. Supp. 924
But a more accurate statement of the rule is that...

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2 cases
  • Bistram v. United States, Cr. No. 7885.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • February 8, 1960 negative an exception contained in Section 18 U.S.C.A. § 1201(a). The motion was overruled by this Court, Bistram v. United States, 139 F.Supp. 922, and the petitioner again filed a motion to vacate and set aside the judgment upon the grounds that his plea of guilty was coerced and obtai......
  • Bistram v. People of State of Minnesota, 17468.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • April 21, 1964
    ...28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate the kidnapping judgment on the ground that the indictment was defective. The trial court denied this motion. 139 F.Supp. 922 (D.N.D. 1956). Carl then filed a second § 2255 motion to vacate the same judgment on the grounds of coercion in his plea, deprival of effec......

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