United States v. Angeline Lombardo

Decision Date24 April 1916
Docket NumberNo. 830,830
Citation60 L.Ed. 897,241 U.S. 73,36 S.Ct. 508
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Assistant Attorney General Wallace for plaintiff in error.

No appearance for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice McKenna delivered the opinion of the court:

Error under the criminal appeals act (34 Stat. at L. 1246, chap. 2564, Comp. Stat. 1913, § 1704) to review a decision of the district court for the western district of Washington (228 Fed. 980), sustaining a demurrer to an indictment founded on the 'white slave traffic act' (36 Stat. at L. 826, chap. 395, Comp. Stat. 1913, § 8817).

Section 6 of that act provides that everyone 'who shall keep, maintain, control, support or harbor in any house or place, for the purpose of prostitution, . . . any alien woman . . . within three years after she shall have entered the United States . . . shall file with the Commissioner General of Immigration a statement in writing setting forth the name of such alien woman, . . . the place at which she is kept, and all facts as to the date of her entry into the United States, the port through which she entered, her age, nationality, and parentage, and concerning her procuration to come to this country, within the knowledge of such person; and any person who shall fail within thirty days after such person shall commence to keep, etc. . . . any alien woman, . . . to file such statement concerning such alien woman, . . . with the Commissioner General of Immigration, or who shall knowingly and wilfully state falsely, or fail to disclose in such statement any fact within his knowledge or belief with reference to the age, nationality, or parentage of any such alien woman, . . . or concerning her procuration to come to this country, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, etc., . . .'

The statement is not excused because it may have incriminating character, but it is provided that the person making it shall not be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture under any law of the United States for or on account of any transaction, matter, or thing concerning which he may truthfully report in such statement as required by the provisions of the act.

The indictment charged that one Jessie Milos, an alien woman and a citizen and subject of the Kingdom of Great Britain, had entered the United States in the month of May, 1914, and that Angeline Lombardo, knowing these facts, did, in a house in the city of Seattle, northern division of the western district of Washington, keep, maintain, control, and harbor Jessie Milos for the purpose of prostitution and for other immoral purposes, and unlawfully, knowingly, and wilfully failed to file with the Commissioner General of Immigration a statement in writing as required by the statute, or any statement concerning Jessie Milos.

It was alleged that the United States and Great Britain are parties to an agreement or project or arrangement for the suppression of the white slave traffic, adopted July 25, 1902.

There were two grounds of demurrer: (1) Section 6 of the white slave act is unconstitutional in that it contravenes rights guaranteed by the 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. (2) The court was without jurisdiction of the subject- matter as the prosecution is in contravention of rights guaranteed by the 6th Amendment.

The district court sustained the demurrer on both grounds. We, however, shall confine our decision to the second ground, as that attacked the jurisdiction of the court, in that the offense was not committed in the district in which the indictment was found. Passing on it the court said:

'The gist of the offense is the failure 'to file with the Commissioner General of Immigration' a statement, etc. By act of March 3, 1891, chap. 551, § 7, 26 Stat. at L. page 1085, Comp. Stat. 1913, § 954, as amended by act of March 2, 1895, chap. 177, 28 Stat. at L. page 780, Comp. Stat. 1913, § 955, the office of the Commissioner of Immigration was created and his office fixed at Washington, District of Columbia. The government contends that the offense was a continuing one and extended from this district to Washington, District of Columbia, and that the filing of the statement need not be at the office in Washington, but may be deposited in the postoffice of the United States, addressed to the Commissioner General, and this forwarding through the usual course of mail should be considered as 'filing,' and that the failure to post within thirty days would commence the offense, which would be continuous. This contention cannot be reconciled with the language employed in the act. The word 'file' was not defined by Congress. No definition having been given, the etymology of the word must be considered and ordinary meaning applied. The word 'file' is derived from the Latin word 'filum,' and relates to the ancient practice of placing papers on a thread or wire for safe-keeping and ready reference. Filing, it must be...

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    • United States
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    ...whole may be tried where any part can be proved to have been done." Id. at 281, 119 S.Ct. 1239 (quoting United States v. Lombardo, 241 U.S. 73, 77, 36 S.Ct. 508, 60 L.Ed. 897 (1916) ); see also Salinas, 373 F.3d at 164. And under the federal statute governing venue for "[o]ffenses begun in ......
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    ...only by actual physical delivery to the government—a principle commonly called the "physical delivery rule." United States v. Lombardo, 241 U.S. 73, 76 (1916). When the Tax Court receives a petition prior to the 90th day, the physical delivery rule is satisfied. However, if the petition is ......
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