Hagner v. United States
285 U.S. 427 (1932)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hagner v. United States, 285 U.S. 427 (1932)

Hagner v. United States

No. 590

Argued March 14, 1932

Decided April 11, 1932

285 U.S. 427

Syllabus

1. Defendants were convicted in the District of Columbia upon an indictment under § 215 of the Criminal Code, charging that, having devised there a scheme to defraud a named corporation in manner and form set forth, they did, for the purpose of executing the scheme, place in a designated post office in Pennsylvania, to be sent and delivered by the post office establishment to the addressee thereof, certain accounts enclosed in an envelope addressed to the company at a stated address in the District of Columbia. The indictment did not allege specifically that they caused the letter to be delivered by mail according to the direction thereon. Held that, against objection first made by motion in arrest, and upon a record not containing the evidence or instructions, the indictment should be sustained as charging an offense committed within that district, because of the presumption that the letter was delivered there. Pp. 285 U. S. 429-431. .

2. Proof that a letter properly directed was placed in a post office creates a presumption that it reached its destination in usual time and was actually received by the person to whom it was addressed. And the fact that receipt of the letter subjects the person sending it to a penalty does not alter the rule. P. 285 U. S. 430.

Page 285 U. S. 428

3. The rigor of old common law rules of criminal pleading has yielded, in modern practice, to the general principle that formal defect, not prejudicial, will be disregarded. P. 285 U. S. 431.

4. Rev.Stats. § 1025 does not dispense with the rule which require that the essential elements of an offense must be alleged, but it authorize the courts to disregard merely loose or inartificial forms of averment. Upon a proceeding after verdict, at least, no prejudice being shown, it is enough that necessary facts appear in any form, or by fair construction can be found within the terms of the indictment. P. 285 U. S. 433.

60 App.D.C. 335, 54 F.2d 446, affirmed.

Certiorari, 284 U.S. 614, to review the affirmance of a conviction for use of the post office in pursuance of a scheme to defraud.

Page 285 U. S. 429

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