Guire v. United States, No. 85

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSTONE
Citation71 L.Ed. 556,273 U.S. 95,47 S.Ct. 259
PartiesMcGUIRE v. UNITED STATES
Decision Date03 January 1927
Docket NumberNo. 85

273 U.S. 95
47 S.Ct. 259
71 L.Ed. 556
McGUIRE

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 85.
Argued and Submitted Nov. 24, 1926.
Decided Jan. 3, 1927.

Mr. Ransom H. Gillett, of Albany, N. Y., for McGuire.

Page 96

The Attorney General and Mr. Alfred A. Wheat, of Washington, D. C., for the United States.

Mr. Justice STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.

McGuire was convicted in the District Court for northern New York of the crime of possessing intoxicating liquor in violation of the National Prohibition Act (Comp. St. § 10138 1/4 et seq.), 300 F. 98. On review of the judgment of conviction, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit certified to this court two questions concerning which it desires instructions. 6 F.(2d) 576; section 239, Judicial Code (Comp. St. § 1216).

The certificate states that before the filing of the information on which McGuire was convicted, a search warrant was issued by a United States commissioner com-

Page 97

manding certain revenue agents to enter and search described premises for liquors alleged to be posessed by McGuire. The officers named, acting under the warrant, searched the premises, discovering several gallons of intoxicating liquor which they seized. While there, they destroyed without court order or other legal authority all the seized liquor, except one quart of whisky and one quart of alcohol, which they retained as evidence. On the trial the liquor retained was received in evidence over the objection that it was inadmissible because of the destruction of the other liquor. The questions certified are:

'(1) Were the officers of the law by reason of their action in destroying the liquors seized trespassers ab initio?

'If the answer to the first question is in the affirmative, we ask

'(2) Was the admission in evidence of the samples of liquor unlawful?'

It is contended that the officers by destroying the seized liquor became trespassers ab initio; that they thus lost the protection and authority conferred upon them by the search warrant; that therefore the seizure of the liquor, both that destroyed and that retained as evidence, was illegal and prohibited by the Fourth Amendment; and that the reception of the liquor in evidence violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. This conclusion has received some support in judicial decisions. United States v. Cooper (D. C.) 295 F. 709; cf. Godat v. McCarthy (D. C.) 283 F. 689. But the weight of authority is against it. Hurley v. United States (C. C. A.) 300 F. 75 (overruling United States v. Cooper, supra); Giacolone v. United States (C. C. A.) 13 F.(2d) 108; In re Quirk (D. C.) 1 F.(2d) 484; United States v. Clark (D. C.) 298 F. 533; People v. Schregardus, 226 Mich. 279, 197 N. W. 573.

Page 98

That the destruction of the liquor by the officers was in itself an illegal and oppressive act is conceded.1 But it does not follow that the seizure of the liquor which was retained violated constitutional immunities of the defendant or that the evidence was improperly received. The arguments advanced in behalf of the accused concern primarily the personal liability of the officers making the search and seizure for their unlawful destruction of a part of the liquor seized. They have at most a remote and artificial bearing upon the right of the government to introduce in evidence the liquor seized under a proper warrant.

The doctrine of trespass ab initio, chiefly relied upon, is usually traced to the Case of the Six...

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68 practice notes
  • Irvine v. People of State of California, No. 12
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • February 8, 1954
    ...evidence not open to officers of the law. Burdeau v. McDowell, 256 U.S. 465, 41 S.Ct. 574, 65 L.Ed. 1048; see McGuire v. United States, 273 U.S. 95, 99, 47 S.Ct. 259, 260, 71 L.Ed. 556; cf. Feldman v. United States, 322 U.S. 487, 64 S.Ct. 1082, 88 L.Ed. 1408; Lustig v. United States, 338 U.......
  • Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, No. 301
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 21, 1971
    ...Fourth Amendment claims despite facts demonstrating that federal agents were acting in violation of local law. McGuire v. United States, 273 U.S. 95, 47 S.Ct. 259, 71 L.Ed. 556 (1927) (trespass ab initio); Hester v. United States, 265 U.S. 57, 44 S.Ct. 445, 68 L.Ed. 898 (1924) ('open fields......
  • Blanton v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • August 29, 2003
    ...But petitioner's argument comes a quarter of a century too late: this contention was decided adversely to him in McGuire v. United States, 273 U.S. 95, 98, 100, [47 S.Ct. 259, 260, 261, 71 L.Ed. 556 (1927),] where Mr. Justice Stone, speaking for a unanimous Court, said of the doctrine of tr......
  • Hess v. Ryan, No. CV-06-1639-PHX-PGR (JI).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • August 25, 2009
    ...because its officers have not played according to rule." Ceccolini, 435 U.S. at 279, 98 S.Ct. 1054 (quoting McGuire v. United States, 273 U.S. 95, 99, 47 S.Ct. 259, 71 L.Ed. 556 Thus, the Arizona trial court properly determined that the incriminating statements "were not the fruit......
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70 cases
  • People v. Perry, Cr. 5517
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 26, 1969
    ...and the game lost merely because its officers have not played according to rule.' Mr. Justice Stone in McGuire v. United States, 273 U.S. 95, 99, 47 S.Ct. 259, 260, 71 L.Ed. 556.' (45 Cal.2d at p. 783, 291 P.2d at p. 473.) To paraphrase the rest of the statement it may be said here that whe......
  • Crews v. United States, No. 8507.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • June 14, 1978
    ...improper suggestivity. 3. In Ceccolini, the Court specifically reaffirmed what it said more than 50 years ago in McGuire v. United States, 273 U.S. 95, 99, 47 S.Ct. 259, 71 L.Ed. 556 A criminal prosecution is more than a game in which the Government may be checkmated and the game lost merel......
  • Himmelfarb v. United States, No. 11662
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • August 1, 1949
    ...heard. The court had reason to be fearful of prejudice detrimental to the defendants. Apropos, it was said in McGuire v. United States, 273 U.S. 95, 99, 47 S.Ct. 259, 260, 71 L.Ed. 556; "A criminal prosecution is more than a game in which the government may be checkmated and the game lost m......
  • Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, No. 301
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 21, 1971
    ...Fourth Amendment claims despite facts demonstrating that federal agents were acting in violation of local law. McGuire v. United States, 273 U.S. 95, 47 S.Ct. 259, 71 L.Ed. 556 (1927) (trespass ab initio); Hester v. United States, 265 U.S. 57, 44 S.Ct. 445, 68 L.Ed. 898 (1924) ('open fields......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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