Boyle v. United States, No. 552

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHOLMES
Citation283 U.S. 25,51 S.Ct. 340,75 L.Ed. 816
Docket NumberNo. 552
Decision Date09 March 1931
PartiesMcBOYLE v. UNITED STATES

283 U.S. 25
51 S.Ct. 340
75 L.Ed. 816
McBOYLE

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 552.
Argued Feb. 26, 27, 1931.
Decided March 9, 1931.

Mr. Harry F. Brown, of Guthrie, Okl., for petitioner.

The Attorney General and Mr. Claude R. Branch, of Providence, R. I., for the United States.

Mr. Justice HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

The petitioner was convicted of transporting from Ottawa, Illinois, to Guymon, Oklahoma, an airplane that he knew to have been stolen, and was sentenced to serve three years' imprisonment and to pay a fine of $2,000. The judgment was affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. 43 F.(2d) 273. A writ of certiorari was granted by this Court on the question whether the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act applies to aircraft.

Page 26

Act of October 29, 1919, c. 89, 41 Stat. 324, U. S. Code, title 18, § 408 (18 USCA § 408). That Act provides: 'Sec. 2. That when used in this Act: (a) The term 'motor vehicle' shall include an automobile, automobile truck, automobile wagon, motor cycle, or any other self-propelled vehicle not designed for running on rails. * * * Sec. 3. That whoever shall transport or cause to be transported in interstate or foreign commerce a motor vehicle, knowing the same to have been stolen, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by imprisonment of not more than five years, or both.'

Section 2 defines the motor vehicles of which the transportation in interstate commerce is punished in Section 3. The question is the meaning of the word 'vehicle' in the phrase 'any other self-propelled vehicle not designed for running on rails.' No doubt etymologically it is possible to use the word to signify a conveyance working on land, water or air, and sometimes legislation extends the use in that direction, e. g., land and air, water being separately provided for, in the Tariff Act, September 21, 1922, c. 356, § 401(b), 42 Stat. 858, 948 (19 USCA § 231(b). But in everyday speech 'vehicle' calls up the picture of a thing moving on land. Thus in Rev. St. § 4 (1 USCA § 4) intended, the Government suggests, rather to enlarge than to restrict the definition, vehicle includes every contrivance capable of being used 'as a means of transportation on land.' And this is repeated, expressly excluding aircraft, in the Tariff Act, June 17, 1930, c. 497, § 401(b), 46 Stat. 590, 708 (19 USCA § 1401). So here, the phrase under discussion calls up the popular picture. For after including...

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559 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Weitzenhoff, Nos. 92-10105
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • August 8, 1994
    ..." Ratzlaf, --- U.S. at ----, 114 S.Ct. at 663. The reason is the need for "fair warning." Id. (quoting McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25, 27, 51 S.Ct. 340, 341, 75 L.Ed. 816 (1931) (Holmes, Instead of applying the rule of lenity, as it was required to do, the panel, after identifying th......
  • United States v. Rodriquez, No. 06–1646.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 19, 2008
    ...of the alternative in a good many other cases, as well. The “fair warning” that motivates the lenity rule, McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25, 27, 51 S.Ct. 340, 75 L.Ed. 816 (1931) (opinion of the Court by Holmes, J.), may sometimes be a benign fiction, see R.L.C., 503 U.S., at 309, 112 ......
  • U.S. v. Reid, No. CR.A. 02-10013-WGY.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • June 11, 2002
    ...as a means of transportation on land." 1 U.S.C. § 4 (emphasis added). In a Supreme Court case of some vintage, McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25, 51 S.Ct. 340, 75 L.Ed. 816 (1931), Justice Holmes wrote for the court that an individual could not be punished for stealing an airplane under......
  • United States v. Santos, No. 06–1005.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 2, 2008
    ...subjected to them. See United States v. Gradwell, 243 U.S. 476, 485, 37 S.Ct. 407, 61 L.Ed. 857 (1917); McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25, 27, 51 S.Ct. 340, 75 L.Ed. 816 (1931); United States v. Bass, 404 U.S. 336, 347–349, 92 S.Ct. 515, 30 L.Ed.2d 488 (1971). This venerable rule not on......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
555 cases
  • U.S. v. Weitzenhoff, Nos. 92-10105
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • August 8, 1994
    ..." Ratzlaf, --- U.S. at ----, 114 S.Ct. at 663. The reason is the need for "fair warning." Id. (quoting McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25, 27, 51 S.Ct. 340, 341, 75 L.Ed. 816 (1931) (Holmes, Instead of applying the rule of lenity, as it was required to do, the panel, after identifying th......
  • United States v. Rodriquez, No. 06–1646.
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • May 19, 2008
    ...of the alternative in a good many other cases, as well. The “fair warning” that motivates the lenity rule, McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25, 27, 51 S.Ct. 340, 75 L.Ed. 816 (1931) (opinion of the Court by Holmes, J.), may sometimes be a benign fiction, see R.L.C., 503 U.S., at 309, 112 ......
  • U.S. v. Reid, No. CR.A. 02-10013-WGY.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • June 11, 2002
    ...as a means of transportation on land." 1 U.S.C. § 4 (emphasis added). In a Supreme Court case of some vintage, McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25, 51 S.Ct. 340, 75 L.Ed. 816 (1931), Justice Holmes wrote for the court that an individual could not be punished for stealing an airplane under......
  • United States v. Santos, No. 06–1005.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 2, 2008
    ...subjected to them. See United States v. Gradwell, 243 U.S. 476, 485, 37 S.Ct. 407, 61 L.Ed. 857 (1917); McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25, 27, 51 S.Ct. 340, 75 L.Ed. 816 (1931); United States v. Bass, 404 U.S. 336, 347–349, 92 S.Ct. 515, 30 L.Ed.2d 488 (1971). This venerable rule not on......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 books & journal articles
  • THE FUTURE OF JUDICIAL DEFERENCE TO THE COMMENTARY OF THE UNITED STATES SENTENCING GUIDELINES.
    • United States
    • Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Vol. 45 Nbr. 1, January 2022
    • January 1, 2022
    ...a rule of lenity problem."). (190.) Nasir, 17 F.4th 459, 472-73 (Bibas, J., concurring). (191.) See, e.g. McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25, 27 (1931) ("Although it is not likely that a criminal will carefully consider the text of the law before he murders or steals, it is rea......
  • No-Poach, No Precedent: How DOJ's Aggressive Stance on Criminalizing Labor Market Agreements Runs Counter to Antitrust Jurisprudence.
    • United States
    • Missouri Law Review Vol. 87 Nbr. 2, March 2022
    • March 22, 2022
    ...States v. Williams, 553 U.S. 285, 304 (2008). (149) United States v. Bass, 404 U.S. 336, 348 (1971) (quoting McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25, 27 (150) See F.C.C. v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., 567 U.S. 239, 253 (2012) ("A conviction or punishment fails to comply with due proce......
  • The Ordinary Lawyer Corpus: The Federalist Papers Approach.
    • United States
    • Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Vol. 45 Nbr. 2, July 2022
    • July 1, 2022
    ...Criminal Law, LAWYERS.COM, https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/ [https://perma.cc/96BL-8EFF] (last visited June 9, 2022). (58.) 283 U.S. 25 (59.) 524 U.S. 125 (1998). (60.) 566 U.S. 560 (2012). (61.) Lee & Mouritsen, Judging Ordinary Meaning, supra note 6, at 837. (62.) Id. (emp......

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