Hill v. United States Wampler, No. 847

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCARDOZO
Citation80 L.Ed. 1283,298 U.S. 460,56 S.Ct. 760
Decision Date18 May 1936
Docket NumberNo. 847
PartiesHILL, Warden, v. UNITED STATES ex rel. WAMPLER

298 U.S. 460
56 S.Ct. 760
80 L.Ed. 1283
HILL, Warden,

v.

UNITED STATES ex rel. WAMPLER.

No. 847.
Argued May 4, 1936.
Decided May 18, 1936.

Messrs. Homer S. Cummings, Atty. Gen., and

Page 461

Gordon Dean, of Washington, D.C., for Hill, Warden.

Mr. Robert E. Lynch, of Washington, D.C., for the United States ex rel. Wampler.

Mr. Justice CARDOZO delivered the opinion of the Court.

By an indictment in two counts the relator Wampler was charged with an attempt to evade and defeat the payment of his income tax under the laws of the United States through the filing in the years 1930 and 1931 of false and fraudulent returns. He was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. On December 28, 1933, the judgment of the court was pronounced as follows: 'Fine five thousand dollars and eighteen months in penitentiary on each count of the indictment, said terms of imprisonment to be computed as beginning this 28th day of December 1933; fines to be cumulative and terms of imprisonment to run concurrently and that traverser pay costs of proceedings.' On the same day the clerk of the court issued and forwarded to the United States Northeastern Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pa., a commitment in which the judgment was set out as follows: 'That the traverser pay a fine of Five Thousand Dollars and be imprisoned in the United States Northeastern Penitentiary at Lewis-

Page 462

burg, Pennsylvania, for eighteen months on each count of the indictment; said term of imprisonment to be computed as beginning this 28th day of December 1933; the fines to be cumulative and the terms of imprisonment to run concurrently; and that the traverser pay the costs of prosecution; and in default of payment of said fines and costs, he stand further committed until the payment of said fines and costs or until discharged by due process of law.'

On April 21, 1935, when the term of eighteen months was approaching an end, Wampler filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland a petition directed to the judge of that court in which he alleged that the court had not adjudged or ordered that he was to stand committed until the payment of the fine and costs; that this provision had been inserted in the commitment by the clerk; and that it was no part of the sentence. He prayed for an order amending the commitment by striking therefrom the words so added.

On April 25, 1935, the petition for amendment was denied, the judge filing an opinion in which he pointed out that Maryland is a common law state; that the practice in the state courts is not to include in the judgment of the court the express direction that the defendant stand committed until the fines are paid; that it has always been the practice in the District Court for the District of Maryland to follow the procedure in the state court, but that the clerk of the court has instructions from the court to include in the commitment the express provision that the defendant stand committed until the fines are paid, unless otherwise directed.* There was no appeal from that decision.

On July 23, 1935, the relator filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania a petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging that the

Page 463

proper term of his imprisonment had expired and that his detention had become unlawful. The petition was granted, and the relator discharged. Wampler v. Hill, 11 F.Supp. 540. The warden of the penitentiary appealed to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. That court, after certifying the facts substantially as summarized above, requested our instructions upon the following questions (Judicial Code, § 239, as amended, 28 U.S.C. § 346 (28 U.S.C.A. § 346)):

'1. Was the provision in the commitment for imprisonment for nonpayment of fine and costs which was inserted by the Clerk but not included in the sentence orally pronounced by the judge, (a) void? or (b) merely irregular?

'2. Was the determination of the District Court on the petition to correct the commitment, a final judgment conclusive on the issue as to the validity of such commitment until reversed by appropriate proceedings for review?

'3. Will haheas corpus lie in one court to correct the commitment of another court which certainly, definitely, and specifically directs the imprisonment of relator for nonpayment of fine and costs on the ground that such provision was inserted by the Clerk, but was not the sentence orally pronounced by the court?'

The payment of a fine imposed by a court of the United States in a criminal prosecution may be enforced by execution against property in like manner as in civil cases. R.S. § 1041, 18 U.S.C. § 569 (18 U.S.C.A. § 569). In the discretion of the court the judgment may direct also that the defendant shall be imprisoned until the fine is paid. Ibid.; and see R.S. § 1042, 18 U.S.C. § 641 (18 U.S.C.A. § 641). Ex parte Jackson, 96 U.S. 727, 737, 24 L.Ed. 877; Ex parte Barclay (C.C.) 153 F. 669; Haddox v. Richardson (C.C.A.) 168 F. 635, 639. If the direction for imprisonment is omitted, the remedy by execution is exclusive. Imprisonment does not follow automatically upon a showing of default in payment. It follows, if at all,

Page 464

...

To continue reading

Request your trial
352 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Broncheau, No. 5:06–HC–2219–BO
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Eastern District of North Carolina
    • 29 Octubre 2010
    ...across this country, judgments which only the courts of imposition have the power to modify. See, e.g., Hill v. U.S. ex rel. Wampler, 298 U.S. 460, 464–65, 56 S.Ct. 760, 80 L.Ed. 1283 (1936) (a “warrant of commitment [prepared by the clerk of court] departing in a matter of substance from t......
  • Francis v. Fiacco, No. 18-1011-cv
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • 12 Noviembre 2019
    ...district court largely rejected the State Defendants’ qualified immunity defense, holding that Hill v. United States ex rel. Wampler , 298 U.S. 460, 56 S.Ct. 760, 80 L.Ed. 1283 (1936), and Earley v. Murray , 451 F.3d 71 (2d Cir. 2006), had clearly established the principle that "a criminal ......
  • U.S. v. Villano, No. 85-2535
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 5 Agosto 1986
    ...from the terms of the judgment behind it, the order was void." Baca, 383 F.2d at 157 (citing Hill v. United States ex rel. Wampler, 298 U.S. 460, 465, 56 S.Ct. 760, 762-63, 80 L.Ed. 1283 (1936)). The rationale behind the rule evidently focuses on the necessity for the defendant's presence a......
  • U.S. v. Villano, No. 85-2535
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 21 Abril 1987
    ...before the promulgation of Rule 32(b)(1), requiring a written order setting forth the sentence. See Hill v. United States ex rel. Wampler, 298 U.S. 460, 465, 56 S.Ct. 760, 762, 80 L.Ed. 1283 (1936). As the majority notes, a primary rationale for the rule is the necessity for the defendant's......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
352 cases
  • U.S. v. Broncheau, No. 5:06–HC–2219–BO
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Eastern District of North Carolina
    • 29 Octubre 2010
    ...across this country, judgments which only the courts of imposition have the power to modify. See, e.g., Hill v. U.S. ex rel. Wampler, 298 U.S. 460, 464–65, 56 S.Ct. 760, 80 L.Ed. 1283 (1936) (a “warrant of commitment [prepared by the clerk of court] departing in a matter of substance from t......
  • Francis v. Fiacco, No. 18-1011-cv
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • 12 Noviembre 2019
    ...district court largely rejected the State Defendants’ qualified immunity defense, holding that Hill v. United States ex rel. Wampler , 298 U.S. 460, 56 S.Ct. 760, 80 L.Ed. 1283 (1936), and Earley v. Murray , 451 F.3d 71 (2d Cir. 2006), had clearly established the principle that "a criminal ......
  • U.S. v. Villano, No. 85-2535
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 5 Agosto 1986
    ...from the terms of the judgment behind it, the order was void." Baca, 383 F.2d at 157 (citing Hill v. United States ex rel. Wampler, 298 U.S. 460, 465, 56 S.Ct. 760, 762-63, 80 L.Ed. 1283 (1936)). The rationale behind the rule evidently focuses on the necessity for the defendant's presence a......
  • U.S. v. Villano, No. 85-2535
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 21 Abril 1987
    ...before the promulgation of Rule 32(b)(1), requiring a written order setting forth the sentence. See Hill v. United States ex rel. Wampler, 298 U.S. 460, 465, 56 S.Ct. 760, 762, 80 L.Ed. 1283 (1936). As the majority notes, a primary rationale for the rule is the necessity for the defendant's......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT