United States v. Oppenheimer
242 U.S. 85 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Oppenheimer, 242 U.S. 85 (1916)

United States v. Oppenheimer

No. 412

Argued October 19, 20, 1916

Decided December 4, 1916

242 U.S. 85

Syllabus

A "motion to quash" an indictment, based upon a former adjudication that a previous indictment for the same offence was barred by the statute of limitations, held, in substance, a plea in bar. United States v. Barber,219 U. S. 72, 219 U. S. 78.

Under the Criminal Appeals Act of March 2, 1907, c. 2564, 34 Stat. 1246, the right to review decisions and judgments sustaining special pleas in bar is not limited to cases in which the decisions or judgments are based upon the invalidity or construction of the statutes upon which the indictments are founded. United States v. Keitel,211 U. S. 370, and United States v. Kissel,218 U. S. 601, explained and distinguished.

A plea of the statute of limitations is a plea to the merits.

A judgment for defendant that the prosecution is barred by limitations goes to his liability in substantive law, and, in whatever form the issue was raised, such a judgment may be interposed as a conclusive bar to another prosecution for the same offence.

The Fifth Amendment, in providing that no one should be twice put in jeopardy, was not intended to supplant the fundamental principle of res judicata in criminal cases.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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