Dodge v. United States the Ray of Block Island, 341

Decision Date23 November 1926
Docket NumberNo. 341,341
Citation47 S.Ct. 191,71 L.Ed. 392,272 U.S. 530
PartiesDODGE et al. v. UNITED STATES. THE RAY OF BLOCK ISLAND
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Mr. Daniel T. Hagan, of Providence, R. I., for petitioners.

The Attorney General and Mrs. Mabel Walker Willebrandt, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the United States.

Mr. Justice HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

This was a proceeding in the District Court of the United States for the condemnation of the motorboat Ray of Block Island. The owners appeared as claimants and moved that the libel be dismissed on the ground that the facts alleged did not warrant a condemnation. The district Court granted the motion. 7 F.(2d) 189. The Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decree. 11 F. (2d) 522. As there was a conflict of decisions between different Circuit Courts of Appeals a writ of certiorari was granted by this Court. 271 U. S. 655, 46 S. Ct. 489, 70 L. Ed. 1134.

The libel was brought under the National Prohibition Act October 28, 1919, c. 85, title 2, § 26, 41 Stat. 305, 315 (Comp. St. § 10138 1/2 mm). It alleged that police officers of the city of Providence, Rhode Island, discovered a man named, seemingly one of the claimants, in the act of transporting contrary to said law intoxicating liquors in the Ray of Block Island, over navigable waters of the United States; that the officers seized the liquors and the boat and arrested the man; that he subsequently was arrested by officers of the United States, was convicted of transporting intoxicating liquors in violation of said law and was fined; that the motorboat was now in custody of a federal prohibition director for the District of Rhode Island; and that by reason of the premises the motorboat was subject to condemnation and sale. The ground on which the libel was dismissed by the District Court was that the language of section 26, making it the duty of 'the Commissioner, his assistants, inspectors, or any officer of the law' to seize the liquor and vehicle, did not extend to the police officers of the City, who had no authority from the State to take these steps. It is stated in argument and perhaps fairly might be assumed, if we thought it important, that when the vessel was handed over to the prohibition director the liquor was no longer aboard and that the man arrested was not present at the scene. See United States v. One Reo Motor Truck (D. C.) 6 F. (2d) 412. The Circuit Court of Appeals while agreeing with the above construction of section 26 held that the Government might adopt the seizure and give it retroactive effect. This is in accord with United States v. Story, 294 F. 517 (C. C. A. Fifth Circuit) but contrary to United States v. Loomis, 297 F. 359 (C. C. A. Ninth Circuit); this last decision being considerably qualified however by the same Court in the later case of United States v. One Studebaker Seven Passenger Sedan, 4 F. (2d) 534.

The Circuit Court of Appeals relied on the often quoted language of Mr. Justice Story in The Caledonian, 4 Wheat. 100, 4. L. Ed. 523, to the effect that anyone may seize any property for a forfeiture to the Government, and...

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    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • October 8, 1974
    ...from a violation of its laws, the fact that the possession was acquired by a wrongful act is immaterial. Dodge v. United StatesUNK, 272 U.S. 530, 532 [47 S.Ct. 191, 71 L.Ed. 392]. Compare Ker v. IllinoisUNK, 119 U.S. 436, 444 [7 S.Ct. 225, 30 L.Ed. 421]. The doctrine rests primarily upon th......
  • United States v. Leon
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    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • July 5, 1984
    ...the Constitution those rights would be infringed yet further if the evidence were allowed to be used." Dodge v. United States, 272 U.S. 530, 532, 47 S.Ct. 191, 192, 71 L.Ed. 392 (1926). As the Court further explained in Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 48 S.Ct. 564, 72 L.Ed. 944 "Th......
  • Jeffers v. United States
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    • December 7, 1950
    ...may be introduced in evidence in a criminal proceeding. The authorities are clearly to the contrary. Dodge v. United States, 272 U.S. 530, 47 S.Ct. 191, 71 L.Ed. 392 (1926); United States v. Maggio, D.C., 51 F.2d 397 (S.D.N.Y.1931); United States v. Eight Boxes, etc., 105 F.2d 896 (2 In Dod......
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    • June 4, 1928
    ...23 S. Ct. 593, 47 L. Ed. 900; O'Reilly de Camara v. Brooke, 209 U. S. 45, 52, 28 S. Ct. 439, 52 L. Ed. 676; Dodge v. United States, 272 U. S. 530, 532, 47 S. Ct. 191, 71 L. Ed. 392; Gambino v. United States, 275 U. S. 310, 48 S. Ct. 137, 72 L. Ed. 293, and if this court should permit the go......
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