Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company v. Platt, No. 13902.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtHASTINGS, , and DUFFY and SCHNACKENBERG, Circuit
Citation314 F.2d 369
PartiesMINNESOTA MINING AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY, a Delaware corporation, Petitioner, v. Hon. Casper PLATT, Chief Judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of Illinois, Respondent.
Decision Date27 February 1963
Docket NumberNo. 13902.

314 F.2d 369 (1963)

MINNESOTA MINING AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY, a Delaware corporation, Petitioner,
v.
Hon. Casper PLATT, Chief Judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of Illinois, Respondent.

No. 13902.

United States Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit.

February 27, 1963.


314 F.2d 370

John T. Chadwell, Chicago, Ill., Robert Z. Hickman, Danville, Ill., John L. Connolly, St. Paul, Minn., Chadwell, Keck, Kayser, Ruggles & McLaren, Chicago, Ill., of counsel, for petitioner.

Earl A. Jinkinson, Raymond P. Hernacki, Chicago, Ill., Theodore T. Peck, Leon E. Lindenbaum, Chicago, Ill., for respondent.

Before HASTINGS, Chief Judge, and DUFFY and SCHNACKENBERG, Circuit Judges.

SCHNACKENBERG, Circuit Judge.

Petitioner, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company a Delaware corporation, having filed in this court its petition for the issuance of a writ of mandamus directed to Honorable Casper Platt, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois, respondent, commanding him to vacate an order which he entered on August 31, 1962, denying petitioner's motion under 18 U.S.C.A. Rule 21(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, to transfer Criminal Action No. 61-73-D then pending in said district court, to the district court in the District of Minnesota, described as the home district of petitioner, the sole defendant in that proceeding, and also commanding him to transfer the action to the said District of Minnesota, we ordered respondent to show cause why the writ should not issue as prayed.

In his answer respondent informed us that he held hearings and that, after examining all the relevant factors, he was not satisfied the petitioner had established that the "interest of justice" would be promoted by the transfer.

In a memorandum accompanying his order, respondent discussed the term "in the interest of justice" and completed an analysis of the facts produced before him, by stating:

"There is one other item which cannot be overlooked in passing upon this motion. For more than 50 years 3M has had many employees and stockholders in the St. Paul area. 3M has grown from a small corporation to an industrial giant while located in the St. Paul area. Its officers and employees have been active in civic affairs. They hold official positions in over thirty-three financial, civic, and educational institutions. All of these activities are to the credit of 3M, but at the same time when one considers the number of contacts that its employees and stockholders have made over the area, and the pride that the community in that area would have, and should have, in 3M, there might exist a very severe influence on any citizen in the area called for jury service. It also must be noted that the charge in the indictment is a misdemeanor, and that the Government and the defendant each have but three peremptory challenges. Rule 24(b), Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, 18 U.S.C.A. Counsel for the defendant, in his argument, has made the suggestion that the jury might be drawn from outside the counties of Ramsey and Hennepin where there isn\'t the concentration
314 F.2d 371
of officers, employees, and stockholders of 3M. The influence of 3M and its personnel would probably make itself felt among the citizens in the counties adjacent to Ramsey County where St. Paul is located and to Hennepin County where Minneapolis is located. These facts are material in determining where the cause should be tried. See United States v. Hoffa, D.C.S.D.Fla., 1962, 205 F.Supp. 710, 722. It would be more difficult to get a fair and impartial jury in the Minnesota District than in the Eastern District of Illinois.
"This Court has carefully reviewed the facts and circumstances relating to the transfer of this case `in the interest of justice.\' Some facts mentioned by counsel have not been noted in order not to lengthen this memorandum. The Court has concluded that `in the interest of justice\' the cause should be tried in the Eastern District of Illinois." (Italics supplied.)

In his answer, respondent asserts that his

"* * * conclusion that it would be more difficult for the Government to obtain an impartial jury in the District of Minnesota * * * was but one of a number of factors, * * * which led respondent to this conclusion. * * *"1

1. Rule 21(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, 18 U.S.C.A., provides:

"* * * The court upon motion of the defendant shall transfer the proceeding as to him to another district or division, if it appears from the indictment or information or from a bill of particulars that the offense was committed in more than one district or division and if the court is satisfied that in the interest of justice the proceeding should be transferred to another district or division in which the commission of the offense is charged."

It was stipulated that venue for the offense charged in the indictment lay in both the Eastern District of Illinois and the District of Minnesota. Therefore, it was the duty of the court to transfer the case to the District of Minnesota if it was satisfied that in the "interest of justice" the proceedings should be transferred. No question of venue is before us. The sole question for respondent was whether the transfer to the District of Minnesota would be in the "interest of justice".

While we would not be justified in overriding a denial of transfer based upon a valid exercise by the court of its discretion, it is nevertheless true that we may set aside its action if there is an abuse of discretion, such as its reliance upon an improper factor in determining how the "interest of justice" would be affected by the proposed transfer. Chicago, R. I. & P. R. Co. v. Igoe, 7 Cir., 212 F.2d 378; 220 F.2d 299.

The courts have repeatedly recognized the considerations of historic experience and policy which underlie those safeguards in the Constitution against opening the door to needless hardship to an accused by prosecution remote from home and from appropriate facilities for defense. It has been pointed out that such leeway leads to the appearance of abuses if not to abuses, in the selection of what may be deemed a tribunal favorable to the prosecution, United States v. Johnson, 323 U.S. 273, 275, 65 S.Ct. 249, 89 L.Ed. 236. At 276, 65 S.Ct. at 250, the court said:

"These are matters that touch closely the fair administration of criminal justice and public confidence
314 F.2d 372
in it, on which it ultimately rests. These are important factors in any consideration of the effective enforcement of the criminal law. They have been adverted to, from time to time, by eminent judges; and Congress has not been unmindful of them. Questions of venue in criminal cases, therefore, are not merely matters of formal legal procedure. They raise deep issues of public policy in the light of which legislation must be construed. If an enactment of Congress equally permits the underlying spirit of the constitutional concern for trial in the vicinage to be respected rather than to be disrespected, construction should go in the direction of constitutional policy even though not commanded by it."

At 277, 65 S.Ct. at 251, the court distinguished a provision of the Elkins Act relied on in Armour Packing Co. v. United States, 209 U.S. 56, 28 S.Ct. 428, 52 L.Ed. 681, which made a venue provision dependent upon transportation of goods, not their sending or bringing, pointing out that transportation is a continuing phenomenon. Transportation is not a critical element in the case at bar.

In Travis v. United States, 364 U.S. 631, 634, 81 S.Ct. 358, 5 L.Ed.2d 340 (1961), the court explicitly admitted awareness that the venue provisions in acts of Congress should not be so freely construed as to give the Government the choice of "a tribunal favorable" to it.

In 1958, the Supreme Court, in determining the proper venue in a criminal case, United States v. Cores, 356 U.S. 405, at 407, 78 S.Ct. 875, at 877, 2 L.Ed. 2d 873, said:

"* * * In ascertaining this locality we are mindful that questions of venue `raise deep issues of public policy in the light of which legislation must be construed.\' United States v. Johnson, * * *."

2. At the hearing on petitioner's motion for transfer, the facts related in the italicized portion of respondent's memorandum, ante 2, were established either by affidavits, a letter of petitioner's attorney addressed to respondent, or an answer by petitioner's attorney to a question put in open court. Furthermore, we believe that the statement that its officers and employees have been active in civic affairs is a reasonable inference. However, aside from a mere unsworn statement by government counsel, there is no evidentiary basis for the statement that they held official positions in over 33 financial, civic and educational institutions. We do infer and believe that it would be probable that they would be active in such manner to some degree. We draw from these facts, for the purpose of argument, every reasonable inference to support the denial of transfer to the District of Minnesota, and yet we arrive at the conclusion that petitioner has been an exemplary citizen of that district. We cannot agree that, for that reason, it is not entitled to be tried in the vicinage of its home office. Otherwise we would be arbitrarily denying to it a right first established in 1215 when the Magna Charta was wrung from the hands of King John at Runnymede.

3. In this case, we are also confronted with the question as to whether a district court, created for and sitting in the State of Illinois, may assume the function of deciding whether, in the criminal case at bar, it would be difficult to get a fair and impartial jury if the case were transferred, as prayed by petitioner in reliance on rule 21(b), to a Minnesota district, where petitioner has from a small beginning grown to be a large corporation with many employees and stockholders living in the area. Briefly stated,...

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10 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Keuylian, No. 925
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • June 14, 1979
    ...which might affect the transfer." Platt v. Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co., supra, 376 U.S. at 244, 84 S.Ct. at 771, quoting from 314 F.2d 369, 377 (7th Cir. 1963) (Hastings, C. J., dissenting). The decision to transfer rests in the discretion of the trial judge. Platt v. Minnesota Min......
  • US v. Aronoff, No. 78 Cr. 713 (JMC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • December 8, 1978
    ...involved; and (10) any 463 F. Supp. 458 other special elements which might affect the transfer. 376 U.S. at 244, 84 S.Ct. at 771 (quoting 314 F.2d 369, 371 n. 1). Although the Court did not expressly approve them, these criteria appear to be generally applicable, and have been employed in m......
  • Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company v. Platt, No. 14725.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 20, 1965
    ...motion in the light of proper criteria of the "interest of justice" under Criminal Rule 21(b).1 Following a review of our prior decision, 314 F.2d 369 (1963), the Supreme Court, 376 U.S. 240, 84 S.Ct. 769, 11 L.Ed.2d 674 (1964), noted that the government had not challenged our striking of a......
  • United States v. Barrientos, Crim. No. 79-180.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • January 23, 1980
    ...a case, to conjecture about how a case would be conducted if tried in another district. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. v. Platt, 314 F.2d 369, 375 (7th Cir. 1963). "We believe," said the Court of Appeals, "it would be an unsound and dangerous innovation in our federal court system f......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • U.S. v. Keuylian, No. 925
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • June 14, 1979
    ...which might affect the transfer." Platt v. Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co., supra, 376 U.S. at 244, 84 S.Ct. at 771, quoting from 314 F.2d 369, 377 (7th Cir. 1963) (Hastings, C. J., dissenting). The decision to transfer rests in the discretion of the trial judge. Platt v. Minnesota Min......
  • US v. Aronoff, No. 78 Cr. 713 (JMC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • December 8, 1978
    ...involved; and (10) any 463 F. Supp. 458 other special elements which might affect the transfer. 376 U.S. at 244, 84 S.Ct. at 771 (quoting 314 F.2d 369, 371 n. 1). Although the Court did not expressly approve them, these criteria appear to be generally applicable, and have been employed in m......
  • Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company v. Platt, No. 14725.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 20, 1965
    ...motion in the light of proper criteria of the "interest of justice" under Criminal Rule 21(b).1 Following a review of our prior decision, 314 F.2d 369 (1963), the Supreme Court, 376 U.S. 240, 84 S.Ct. 769, 11 L.Ed.2d 674 (1964), noted that the government had not challenged our striking of a......
  • United States v. Barrientos, Crim. No. 79-180.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • January 23, 1980
    ...a case, to conjecture about how a case would be conducted if tried in another district. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. v. Platt, 314 F.2d 369, 375 (7th Cir. 1963). "We believe," said the Court of Appeals, "it would be an unsound and dangerous innovation in our federal court system f......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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