Silverthorne Lumber Co v. United States, No. 358

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHOLMES
Citation64 L.Ed. 319,251 U.S. 385,40 S.Ct. 182
Docket NumberNo. 358
Decision Date26 January 1920
PartiesSILVERTHORNE LUMBER CO., Inc., et al. v. UNITED STATES

251 U.S. 385
40 S.Ct. 182
64 L.Ed. 319
SILVERTHORNE LUMBER CO., Inc., et al.

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 358.
Argued Dec. 12, 1919.
Decided Jan. 26, 1920.

Messrs. Frederic D. McKenney and Myer Cohen, both of Washington, D. C., and William D. Guthrie, of New York City, for plaintiffs in error.

Mr. Assistant Attorney General Stewart, for the United States.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 385-390 intentionally omitted]

Page 390

Mr. Justice HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a writ of error brought to reverse a judgment of the District Court fining the Silverthorne Lumber Company two hundred and fifty dollars for contempt of court and ordering Frederick W. Silverthorne to be imprisoned until he should purge himself of a similar contempt. The contempt in question was a refusal to obey subpoenas and an order of Court to produce books and documents of the company before the grand jury to be used in regard to alleged violation of the statutes of the United States by the said Silverthorne and his father. One ground of the refusal was that the order of the Court infringed the rights of the parties under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

The facts are simple. An indictment upon a single specific charge having been brought against the two Silverthornes mentioned, they both were arrested at their homes early in the morning of February 25, and were detained in custody a number of hours. While they were thus detained representatives of the Department of Justice and the United States marshal without a shadow of authority went to the office of their company and made a clean sweep of all the books, papers and documents found there. All the employes were taken or directed to go to the office of the District Attorney of the United States to which also the books, &c., were taken at once. An application was made as soon as might be to the District

Page 391

Court for a return of what thus had been taken unlawfully. It was opposed by the District Attorney so far as he had found evidence against the plaintiffs in error, and it was stated that the evidence so obtained was before the grand jury. Color had been given by the District Attorney to the approach of those concerned in the act by an invalid subpoena for certain documents relating to the charge in the indictment then on file. Thus the case is not that of knowledge acquired through the wrongful act of a stranger, but it must be assumed that the Government...

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1842 practice notes
  • United States v. Medina, EP-19-CR-3333-PRM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • July 20, 2020
    ...search constitutes "fruit of the poisonous tree," and must be excluded. Reply 2; Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States , 251 U.S. 385, 40 S.Ct. 182, 64 L.Ed. 319 (1920). After due consideration, the Court is of the opinion that the Government has met its burden of establishing that Defen......
  • U.S. v. Bin Laden, No. S(7) 98 CR.1023(LBS).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • December 5, 2000
    ...93 L.Ed. 1782 (1949). Accord Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081 (1961). Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, 40 S.Ct. 182, 64 L.Ed. 319 (1920), extends Weeks to prevent police from using the fruits of illegally seized evidence. See id. at 392, 34 S.......
  • U.S. v. Hoang Anh Thi Duong, No. CR. 01-126-A.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • July 24, 2001
    ...violation." Nix v. Williams, 467 U.S. 431, 443, 104 S.Ct. 2501, 81 L.Ed.2d 377 (1984); see Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, 392, 40 S.Ct. 182, 64 L.Ed. 319 (1920). In the context of a tainted affidavit, the affidavit essentially is regarded to be an independent lawful......
  • Williams v. State, No. 4 Sept. Term, 2002.
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • December 19, 2002
    ...307 (1939)(finding that attenuation can purge evidence of the taint of government illegality); Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, 392, 40 S.Ct. 182, 183, 64 L.Ed. 319 (1920)(finding that illegally obtained evidence can be admitted if an independent source also led polic......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1838 cases
  • United States v. Medina, EP-19-CR-3333-PRM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • July 20, 2020
    ...search constitutes "fruit of the poisonous tree," and must be excluded. Reply 2; Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States , 251 U.S. 385, 40 S.Ct. 182, 64 L.Ed. 319 (1920). After due consideration, the Court is of the opinion that the Government has met its burden of establishing that Defen......
  • U.S. v. Bin Laden, No. S(7) 98 CR.1023(LBS).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • December 5, 2000
    ...93 L.Ed. 1782 (1949). Accord Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081 (1961). Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, 40 S.Ct. 182, 64 L.Ed. 319 (1920), extends Weeks to prevent police from using the fruits of illegally seized evidence. See id. at 392, 34 S.......
  • U.S. v. Hoang Anh Thi Duong, No. CR. 01-126-A.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • July 24, 2001
    ...violation." Nix v. Williams, 467 U.S. 431, 443, 104 S.Ct. 2501, 81 L.Ed.2d 377 (1984); see Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, 392, 40 S.Ct. 182, 64 L.Ed. 319 (1920). In the context of a tainted affidavit, the affidavit essentially is regarded to be an independent lawful......
  • Williams v. State, No. 4 Sept. Term, 2002.
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • December 19, 2002
    ...307 (1939)(finding that attenuation can purge evidence of the taint of government illegality); Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, 392, 40 S.Ct. 182, 183, 64 L.Ed. 319 (1920)(finding that illegally obtained evidence can be admitted if an independent source also led polic......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • A SOLUTION FOR THE THIRD-PARTY DOCTRINE IN A TIME OF DATA SHARING, CONTACT TRACING, AND MASS SURVEILLANCE.
    • United States
    • Notre Dame Law Review Vol. 97 Nbr. 2, January 2022
    • January 1, 2022
    ...274 U.S. 559, 563 (1927)). (301) Id, at 359. (302) Id. at 352 (footnotes omitted) (first citing Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385 (1920); then citing Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257 (1960); and then citing Rios v. United States, 364 U.S. 253 (303) Smith, 442 U.S. a......
  • The American Exclusionary Rule
    • United States
    • International Criminal Justice Review Nbr. 22-3, September 2012
    • September 1, 2012
    ...Comparative analysis of the exclusionary rule and its alternatives. Tulane Law Review,57,648–681.Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385 (1920).Smith, C. E., & Hurst, J. (1997). The forms of judicial policymaking: Civil liability and criminal justice policy.Justice System Jou......

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