United States v. Yuginovich

Decision Date01 June 1921
Docket NumberNo. 523,523
Citation41 S.Ct. 551,65 L.Ed. 1043,256 U.S. 450
PartiesUNITED STATES v. YUGINOVICH et al
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Assistant Attorney General Adams for the United States.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 451-454 intentionally omitted] Mr. Ransom H. Gillett, of Albany, N. Y., for defendants in error.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 454-457 intentionally omitted] Mr. Justice DAY delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case is here under the Criminal Appeals Act. 34 Stat. 1246 (Comp. St. § 1704). The indictment is in four counts.

The first count, based on section 3257 of the U. S. Rev. Stats. (Comp. Stats. § 5993), charges the defendants with unlawfully engaging in the business of distillers within the intent and meaning of the internal revenue laws of the United States, and that in fact they did distill spirits subject to the internal revenue tax imposed by the laws of the United States, and did defraud and attempt to defraud the United States of the tax on said spirits. The second count, based on section 3279 of the U. S. Rev. Stats. (Comp. Stat. § 6019), charges that the defendants failed to keep on the distillery, conducted by them, any sign exhibiting the name or firm of the distiller, with the words 'Registered Distillery,' as required by statute. The third court, based on section 3281 of the U. S. Rev. Stats.(Comp. Stats. § 6021), charges the defendants with carrying on the business of distilling within the intent and meaning of the revenue laws of the United States without giving the bond required by law. The fourth count, based on section 3282 of the U. S. Rev. Stats. (section 6022, Comp. Stats.), charges the defendants with unlawfully making a mash, fit for distillation, in a building not a distillery duly authorized by law.

The defendants interposed a motion to quash the indictment upon the grounds that the acts of Congress under which the same was found were repealed before the finding of the indictment, and that the acts charged to have been committed by them were after the date upon which the Eighteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution and the Volstead Act (41 Stat. 305) became effective. Defendants also filed a demurrer to the indictment on practically the same grounds. The motion to quash and the demurrer were sustained by the District Court. 266 Fed. 746.

The sections of the Revised Statutes may be summarized as follows: Section 3257 makes it an offense to defraud or attempt to defraud the United States of a tax upon spirits distilled by one carrying on the business of a distillery, provides for forfeiting the distillery and the distilling-apparatus and all spirits found in the distillery or on the distillery premises, and subjects the offender to a fine of not less than $500 or more than $5,000, and imprisonment of not less than six months or more than three years. Section 3279 requires distillers to exhibit on the outside of their place of business a sign with the words 'Registered Distillery.' A violation of this section subjects the offender to a fine of $500. Section 3281 makes it an offense to carry on the business of a distiller without having given bond. For such offense the penalty is a fine from $1,000 to $5,000 and imprisonment not less than six months or more than three years. Section 3282 makes it penal to make or permit mash to be made in any building other than a distillery authorized by law. A violation of this section subjects the offender to a fine of not less than $500 or more than $5,000, and imprisonment of not less than six months or more than two years.

These statutes have long been part of the federal internal revenue legislation, and were passed under the authority of the taxing power conferred upon Congress by the Constitution of the United States. At the time of their enactment it was legal, so far as the federal government was concerned, to manufacture and sell ardent spirits for beverage purposes. The government derived large revenue from taxing the business, which it sought to realize and protect by the system of laws of which the sections in question were a part. This policy was radically changed by the adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution, and the enactment of legislation to make the amendment effective. The Eighteenth Amendment in comprehensive and clear language prohibits the manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors in the United States for beverage purposes, and confers upon Congress the power to enforce the amendment by appropriate legislation. To this end, Congress passed a national prohibition law known as the Volstead Act. 41 Stat. 305. It is a comprehensive statute intended to prevent the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes.

Before taking up the sections of the Revised Statutes, some provisions of the Volstead Act may be appropriately referred to. Section 3 provides that after the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States goes into effect it shall be illegal to manufacture, sell, barter, transport, import, export, deliver, furnish or possess any intoxicating liquor except as authorized in the act. Liquor for nonbeverage purposes and wine for sacramental purposes may be manufactured, purchased, sold, bartered, transported, imported, exported, delivered, furnished and possessed but only as in the act provided, and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue may issue permits therefor. The act contains many provisions to make effective the purposes declared in section 3. Section 25, tit. 2, makes it unlawful to have or possess any liquor or property designed for the manufacture of liquor intended for use in violation of the act or which has been so used, and provides that no property rights shall exist in any such liquor or property. The same section provides for the issue of search warrants, and if it is found that any liquor or property be unlawfully held or possessed, or had been unlawfully used, the liquor and all property designed for the unlawful manufacture of liquor shall be destroyed, unless the court otherwise orders. Section 29 provides that any person who manufactures or sells liquor in violation of title 2 of the act shall for a first offense be fined not less than $1,000, or be imprisoned not exceeding six months, and for a second or subsequent offense shall be fined not less than $200 or more than $2,000 and be imprisoned for not less than one month nor more than five years.

In title 3 elaborate provision is made for the production of alcohol in industrial alcohol plants. It provides for the taxation of such alcohol, and excepts industrial alcohol plants and bonded warehouses for the storage and distribution of industrial alcohol from certain sections of the Revised Statutes.

It is well settled that in cases of this character the construction or sufficiency of the indictment is not brought before us. United States v. Keitel, 211 U. S. 370, 29 Sup. Ct. 123, 53 L. Ed. 230; United States v. Stevenson, 215 U. S. 190, 30 Sup. Ct. 35, 54 L. Ed. 153. For the purpose of interpreting the statute we adopt the meaning placed upon the indictment by the court below. United States v. Colgate & Co., 250 U. S. 300, 39 Sup. Ct. 465, 63 L. Ed. 992, 7 A. L. R. 443. As that court evidently construed the statutes upon the assumption that the charges had relation to intoxicating liquors intended for beverage purposes, we shall follow that view of the indictment in determining whether the former statutes are still in force.

Section 35 (in the margin)1 in its first sentence repeals all prior acts to the extent of their inconsistency with the National Prohibition Act, to that extent and no more, and provides that no revenue stamps, or tax receipts, shall be issued in advance for the illegal manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors, and that upon evidence of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
155 cases
  • U.S. v. Mitchell
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • November 3, 1994
    ... Page 465 ... 39 F.3d 465 ... UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, ... Richard M. MITCHELL, Defendant-Appellant ... No ... 10 Mitchell directs our attention to United States v. Yuginovich, 256 U.S. 450, 41 S.Ct. 551, 65 L.Ed. 1043 (1921). The Yuginovich Court held that Sec. 35 of the ... ...
  • Davis v. Boston & MR Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • April 14, 1937
    ... ... 14, 1935, is an Act of Congress within its powers under the Constitution of the United States, or in violation of the Fifth Amendment thereof; and the only way in which that issue is ... 737; Ohio v. Helvering, 292 U.S. 360, 54 S.Ct. 725, 78 L.Ed. 1307; United States v. Yuginovich, 256 U.S. 450, 41 S.Ct. 551, 65 L.Ed. 1043); the manufacture, sale or removal for sale of articles ... ...
  • Bembenek v. Donohoo
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Wisconsin
    • January 28, 2005
    ...a later dictum supercedes an earlier one just as a later statute supercedes an earlier one. See, e.g., United States v. Yuginovich, 256 U.S. 450, 463, 41 S.Ct. 551, 65 L.Ed. 1043 (1921); Fein, supra, at 7-8. Second, the Seventh Circuit has indicated that it is likely that it will apply the ......
  • U.S. v. Ross
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
    • November 5, 1993
    ...277 F. 727, 747 (2d Cir.1921), cert. denied, 257 U.S. 657, 42 S.Ct. 183, 66 L.Ed. 420 (1922); United States v. Yuginovich, 256 U.S. 450, 463, 41 S.Ct. 551, 553, 65 L.Ed. 1043 (1921). These cases all presented the question whether the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act (prohibition) i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT