United States v. Cores, No. 455

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCLARK
Citation2 L.Ed.2d 873,356 U.S. 405,78 S.Ct. 875
Docket NumberNo. 455
Decision Date19 May 1958
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Appellant, v. Romualdo CORES

356 U.S. 405
78 S.Ct. 875
2 L.Ed.2d 873
UNITED STATES of America, Appellant,

v.

Romualdo CORES.

No. 455.
Argued March 13, 1958.
Decided May 19, 1958.

Mr. John F. Davis, Washington, D.C., for appellant.

Mr. Clark M. Clifford, Washington, D.C., as amicus curiae, in support of the judgment, by invitation of the Court.

Mr. Justice CLARK delivered the opinion of the Court.

The sole issue in this appeal is whether an alien crewman who willfully remains in the United States in excess of the 29 days allowed by his conditional landing permit, in violation of § 252(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act,1 is guilty of a continuing offense which may

Page 406

be prosecuted in the district where he is found. Discovering that appellee's permit had expired before he entered the district where he was apprehended and where the prosecution was begun, the District Court dismissed the criminal information, holding that a violation of s 252(c) was not a continuing crime. The Government brought direct appeal, 18 U.S.C. § 3731, 18 U.S.C.A. § 3731, and we noted probable jurisdiction. 1957, 355 U.S. 866, 78 S.Ct. 123, 2 L.Ed.2d 72. Since we conclude that the District Court was in error, the judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

The information, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, charged that appellee entered the United States at Philadelphia on April 27, 1955, and that 29 days later, at the expiration of his conditional landing permit, he 'did wilfully and knowingly remain in the United States, to wit: Bethel, Connecticut,' in violation of § 252(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. A plea of guilty was entered, but a government attorney informed the court prior to sentencing that appellee was not in Connecticut at the expiration of his permit as charged in the information, but that in fact he came to Connecticut only after spending about a year in New York. The Judge permitted withdrawal of the guilty plea and dismissed the case. He cited an earlier decision of the same court holding that § 252(c) did not define a continuing crime, United States v. Tavares, No. 9407 Crim., May 6, 1957, and indicated that the information was brought in an improper district since appellee was not in Connecticut at the time his permit expired.2

Page 407

The Constitution makes it clear that determination of proper venue in a criminal case requires determination of whether the crime was committed.3 This principle is reflected in numerous statutory enactments, including Rule 18, Fed.Rules Crim.Proc., which provides that except as otherwise permitted, 'the prosecution shall be had in a district in which the offense was committed * * *.' 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, 1944, 323 U.S. 273, 276, 65 S.Ct. 249, 251, 89 L.Ed. 236. The provision for trial in the vicinity of the crime is a safeguard against the unfairness and hardship involved when an accused is prosecuted in a remote place. Provided its language permits, the Act in question should be given that construction which will respect such considerations.

Unlike some statutory offenses,4 there is an absence here of any specific provision fixing venue, save the

Page 408

general language of the Act providing for venue 'at any place in the United States at which the violation may occur * * *.'5 In such cases the Court must base its determination on 'the nature of the crime alleged and the location of the act or acts constituting it,' United States v. Anderson, 1946, 328 U.S. 699, 703, 66 S.Ct. 1213, 1216, 90 L.Ed. 1529, and if the Congress if found to have created a continuing offense, 'the locality of (the) crime shall extend over the whole area through which force propelled by an offender operates.' United States v. Johnson, supra, 323 U.S. at page 250, 275, 65 S.Ct. at page 250.

Section 252(c) punishes '(a)ny alien crewman who willfully remains in the United States in excess of the number of days allowed.' The conduct proscribed is the affirmative act of willfully remaining, and the crucial word 'remains' permits no connotation other than continuing presence. Nor does the section necessarily pertain to any particular locality, such as the place of entry, for the Act broadly extends to willfully remaining 'in the United States.'6 Appellee urges, however, that the offense is completed the moment the permit expires,

Page 409

and that even if the alien remains thereafter, he no longer commits the offense. It is true that remaining at the instant of expiration satisfies the definition of the crime, but it does not exhaust it. See United States v. Kissel, 1910, 218 U.S. 601, 607, 31 S.Ct. 124, 125, 54 L.Ed. 1168. It seems incongruous to say that while the alien 'willfully remains' on the 29th day when his permit expires, he no longer does so on the 30th, though still physically present in the country. Given the element of willfulness, we believe an alien 'remains,' in the contemplation of the statute, until he physically leaves the United States. The crime achieves no finality until such time. Since an offense committed in more than one district 'may be inquired of and prosecuted in any district in which such offense was * * * continued,' 18 U.S.C. § 3237, 18 U.S.C.A. § 3237, venue for § 252(c) lies in any district where the crewman willfully remains after the...

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160 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Spriggs, Nos. 94-3067
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 20 February 1997
    ...is a safeguard against the unfairness and hardship involved when an accused is prosecuted in a remote place." United States v. Cores, 356 U.S. 405, 407, 78 S.Ct. 875, 877, 2 L.Ed.2d 873 (1958). But obviously there is nothing distant about the District vis-a-vis its Maryland and Virginia Nor......
  • People v. Simon, No. S077866.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 25 June 2001
    ...is prosecuted in a remote place.'" (1 Wharton's Criminal Procedure (13th ed.1989) § 34, p. 183, quoting United States v. Cores (1958) 356 U.S. 405, 407, 78 S.Ct. 875, 2 L.Ed.2d 873; see, e.g., United States v. Johnson (1944) 323 U.S. 273, 275-278, 65 S.Ct. 249, 89 L.Ed. 236.) Finally, venue......
  • Wright v. Superior Court, No. S053938
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 12 May 1997
    ...completed as long as the obligation remains unfulfilled. "The crime achieves no finality until such time." (United States v. Cores (1958) 356 U.S. 405, 409, 78 S.Ct. 875, 878, 2 L.Ed.2d 873; see State v. Morse (1969) 54 N.J. 32, 35, 252 A.2d 723, 725 ["Although a violation ... comes into be......
  • People v. Terry, No. H026576.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 17 March 2005
    ...one.' (Toussie, supra, at p. 115 [90 S.Ct. at p. 860]; see United States v. Cores [1958], supra, 356 U.S. [405,] at pp. 409-410 [78 S.Ct. 875, 878-879, 2 L.Ed.2d 873].)" (Wright v. Superior Court (1997) 15 Cal.4th 521, 526, 63 Cal.Rptr.2d 322, 936 P.2d "The express legislative purpose in en......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
160 cases
  • U.S. v. Spriggs, Nos. 94-3067
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 20 February 1997
    ...is a safeguard against the unfairness and hardship involved when an accused is prosecuted in a remote place." United States v. Cores, 356 U.S. 405, 407, 78 S.Ct. 875, 877, 2 L.Ed.2d 873 (1958). But obviously there is nothing distant about the District vis-a-vis its Maryland and Virginia Nor......
  • People v. Simon, No. S077866.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 25 June 2001
    ...is prosecuted in a remote place.'" (1 Wharton's Criminal Procedure (13th ed.1989) § 34, p. 183, quoting United States v. Cores (1958) 356 U.S. 405, 407, 78 S.Ct. 875, 2 L.Ed.2d 873; see, e.g., United States v. Johnson (1944) 323 U.S. 273, 275-278, 65 S.Ct. 249, 89 L.Ed. 236.) Finally, venue......
  • Wright v. Superior Court, No. S053938
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 12 May 1997
    ...completed as long as the obligation remains unfulfilled. "The crime achieves no finality until such time." (United States v. Cores (1958) 356 U.S. 405, 409, 78 S.Ct. 875, 878, 2 L.Ed.2d 873; see State v. Morse (1969) 54 N.J. 32, 35, 252 A.2d 723, 725 ["Although a violation ... comes into be......
  • People v. Terry, No. H026576.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 17 March 2005
    ...one.' (Toussie, supra, at p. 115 [90 S.Ct. at p. 860]; see United States v. Cores [1958], supra, 356 U.S. [405,] at pp. 409-410 [78 S.Ct. 875, 878-879, 2 L.Ed.2d 873].)" (Wright v. Superior Court (1997) 15 Cal.4th 521, 526, 63 Cal.Rptr.2d 322, 936 P.2d "The express legislative purpose in en......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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