Husty v. United States
282 U.S. 694 (1931)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Husty v. United States, 282 U.S. 694 (1931)

Husty v. United States

No. 477

Argued January 22, 1931

Decided February 24, 1931

282 U.S. 694

Syllabus

1. The Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the search, without warrant, of an automobile, for liquor illegally transported or possessed, if the search is upon probable cause, and arrest for the transportation or possession need not precede the search. P. 282 U. S. 700.

Page 282 U. S. 695

2. To show probable cause, it is not necessary that the arresting officer should have had before him legal evidence of the suspected act. It is enough if the apparent facts which have come to his attention are sufficient, in the circumstances, to lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that liquor is illegally possessed in the automobile to be searched. P. 282 U. S. 700.

3. Acting on information, reasonably believed by him to be reliable, that one of the defendants herein, known to him to have been engaged in the illegal liquor traffic, possessed liquor in an automobile of particular description and location, a prohibition officer went to the place and found the automobile and the defendant in company with other, who, upon being hailed by the officer, tried to escape.

Held:

(1) That there were reasonable grounds for the officer's belief that liquor illegally possessed would be found in the car. P. 282 U. S. 701.

(2) The search was not unreasonable because sufficient time elapsed between the receipt by the officer of the information and the search of the car to have enabled him to procure a search warrant, since he could not know how soon the defendant would come to the car or how soon it would be removed. P. 282 U. S. 701.

4. Rulings of the trial court excluding questions seeking to establish the name and identity of one who gave information to a prohibition officer upon which he based a search of defendant's automobile are not considered here, because not assigned as error and, so far as appears, not presented or passed upon, in the court of appeals. P. 282 U. S. 701.

5. Where an indictment charged the transportation of intoxicating liquor, as a first offense by two defendants, and in another count, possession of intoxicating liquor as a first offense by one of them and as a third offense by the other, naming in each count a time and place within the jurisdiction of the court, held, that failure to state more specifically the amount of the liquor, and the time and place of the offenses, did not affect the validity of the indictment, but, at most, furnished ground for demanding a bill of particulars. P. 282 U. S. 702.

6. The Act of March 2, 1929, known as the Jones Act, which increased the penalty for illegal manufacture, sale, etc., of intoxicating liquor, with the proviso

"that it is the intent of Congress that the court, in imposing sentence hereunder, should discriminate between casual or slight violations and habitual sales of intoxicating liquor, or attempts to commercialize violations of the law,"

added no new criminal offense to those enumerated and defined in the National Prohibition

Page 282 U. S. 696

Act, and therefore added nothing to the material allegations required to be set out in indictments for those offenses. P. 282 U. S. 702.

7. The proviso mentioned is only a guide to the discretion of the court in imposing the increased sentences for those offenses for which a increased penalty is authorized by the Act. P. 282 U. S. 702.

8. The maximum penalty for illegal possession of intoxicating liquor, under § 29 of the National Prohibition Act, was not increased by the Jones Act. P. 282 U. S. 703.

9. Possession of intoxicating liquor in connection with its illegal transportation does not, in itself, justify a heavy sentence under the Jones Act for the illegal transportation, and does not necessarily justify such sentence, when there has been a former conviction for illegal possession only. P. 282 U. S. 703.

Certiorari, post, p. 831, to review conviction on two counts, for unlawful possession and for unlawful transportation of intoxicating liquor. Reversed.

Page 282 U. S. 699

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