United States v. Johnston

Decision Date11 May 1925
Docket NumberNo. 111,111
Citation69 L.Ed. 925,45 S.Ct. 496,268 U.S. 220
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

The Attorney General and Asst. Atty. Gen. Donovan, for the United States.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 220-222 intentionally omitted] Mr. Thomas C. Bradley, of Washington, D. C., for respondent.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 223-225 intentionally omitted] Mr. Justice HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

The respondent, Johnston, was convicted on an indictment charging in separate counts a failure to pay over the tax upon admission fees received at certain boxing matches and a failure to make return to the collector of internal revenue of the money so received, contrary to the Act of February 24, 1919, c. 18, §§ 800, 802, 1308(b), 40 Stat. 1057, 1120, 1143 (Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1919, §§ 6309 5/8 a, 6309 5/8 c, 6371 1/2 h). He also was convicted under section 47 of the Criminal Code (Comp. St. § 10214) of embezzling the amounts collected as taxes on the same occasions. Act of March 4, 1909, c. 321, § 47, 35 Stat. 1097. The judgment was reversed and the District Court was directed to dismiss the indictment by the Circuit Court of Appeals. 290 F. 120. A writ of certiorari was granted by this Court as the decision was said to be of grave importance to the administration of the revenue laws. 263 U. S. 692, 44 S. Ct. 6, 68 L. Ed. 509.

So far as the charge of embezzlement goes we think that the Court below and the intimation of the Treasury Department that it followed were clearly right. However it may have been under other statutes (United States v. Thomas, 15 Wall. 337, 21 L. Ed. 89), it seems to us that under this law the person required to pay over the tax is a debtor and not a bailee. The money paid for the tax is not identified at the outset but is paid with the price of the ticket that belongs to the owner of the show. We see no ground for requiring the ticket office of a theatre to create a separate fund by laying aside the amount of the tax on each ticket and to keep it apart, either in a strong box or as a separate deposit in a bank. Reports are required only once a month, sections 802, 502 (Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1919, §§ 5309 5/8 c, 6309 1/3 c), which does not look as if the Government were dealing with these people otherwise than with others answerable for a tax. Further argument seems unnecessary upon this point.

On the other counts we are of opinion that the Court below was wrong. We do not grant a certiorari...

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33 cases
  • U.S. v. Bailey, 82-2280
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
    • May 11, 1984
    ...loss. 462 F.2d at 1165. 5 The opinion provided no rationale in support of this requirement but merely cited United States v. Johnston, 268 U.S. 220, 45 S.Ct. 496, 69 L.Ed. 925 (1925) and United States v. Alessio, 439 F.2d 803 (1st Cir.1971). However, neither of those cases state that an act......
  • Ferguson v. Cormack Lines
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • February 25, 1957
    ...strictures to the bar that 'We do not grant a certiorari to review evidence and discuss specific facts.' United States v. Johnston, 268 U.S. 220, 227, 45 S.Ct. 496, 497, 69 L.Ed. 925. See also Houston Oil Co. v. Goodrich, 245 U.S. 440, 38 S.Ct. 140, 62 L.Ed. 385; Southern Power Co. v. North......
  • McCrary v. Runyon
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • May 29, 1975
    ...court's findings of fact are not clearly erroneous. Such laments, however, being largely unavailing, see United States v. Johnston, 268 U.S. 220, 227, 45 S.Ct. 496, 69 L.Ed. 925 (1925), we address ourselves to the important legal issue here presented.2 In Grier v. Specialized Skills, Inc., ......
  • Superintendent, Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Walpole v. Hill
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 17, 1985
    ...341 (1974), and that we "do not grant a certiorari to review evidence and discuss specific facts." United States v. Johnston, 268 U.S. 220, 227, 45 S.Ct. 496, 497, 69 L.Ed. 925 (1925).4 It is not unreasonable to expect a State's highest legal officer to know the State's law and to bring to ......
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