United States v. Stafoff
260 U.S. 477 (1923)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Stafoff, 260 U.S. 477 (1923)

United States v. Stafoff

Nos. 26, 197, 403

Argued November 29, 1922

Decided January 2, 1923

260 U.S. 477

Syllabus

1. An act of Congress cannot make past conduct criminal by purporting to construe a former act as having been in force at a time when this Court has held it was repealed. P. 260 U. S. 480.

2. As applied to criminal prosecutions, (1) for carrying on the business of rectifier, wholesaler or retailer of liquor for beverage purposes, without having paid the special tax therefor, (2) for keeping a still for production of such spirits "for beverage and commercial purposes" without having registered it with the Collector of Internal Revenue, (3) for carrying on the business of a distiller of spirits for beverage purposes without having given bond, and, (4) for making a mash for production of such spirits, in an unauthorized distillery, and separation of spirits therefrom -- Rev.Stats. §§ 3242, 3258, 3281 and 3283, respectively, were repealed by the National Prohibition Act. P. 260 U. S. 479. United States v. Yuginovich,256 U. S. 450.

3. These laws, however, were revived by the Supplementary Prohibition Act of November 23, 1921, c. 134, § 5, 42 Stat. 223, as to conduct subsequent to its enactment. P. 260 U. S. 480.

4. Congress may tax what it also forbids. P. 260 U. S. 480.

5. A conviction upon an indictment based upon Rev.Stats. §§ 3258, 3281 and 3282, repealed, cannot be sustained under the National Prohibition Act by spelling out acts violative of that statute from the indictment. P. 260 U. S. 481.

68 F. 417 (No. 26) affirmed.

283 F. 685 (No. 403) affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Page 260 U. S. 478

The first and third of these cases came on writs of error sued out by the United States to review judgments of district courts sustaining demurrers to counts of indictments based on sections of the Revised Statutes relating to internal revenue. The second arose upon questions certified by the circuit court of appeals in a similar case in which the defendant, Brooks, had been convicted.

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