Clark v. United States
289 U.S. 1 (1933)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Clark v. United States, 289 U.S. 1 (1933)

Clark v. United States

No. 531

Argued February 6, 7, 1933

Decided March 13, 1933

289 U.S. 1

Syllabus

1. Concealment or misstatement by a juror upon a voir dire examination is punishable as a contempt if its tendency and design are to obstruct the processes of justice. So held where the juror, on being asked to state her past employments, mentioned several, but deliberately concealed an employment by the defendant, and, on being questioned as to bias, replied falsely that she had none, all with intent to gain a place in the box and thwart the prosecution. P. 289 U. S. 10.

2. The gist of the offense is neither the concealment nor the false swearing, but their use to gain acceptance as a juror in the case and, under cover of that relation, to obstruct the course of justice. P. 289 U. S. 11.

3. As respects punishment for contempt, deceit practiced by a talesman in order that he may become a juror -- part of the court -- and influence or prevent a verdict, is to be distinguished from deceit practiced by a witness in testifying. P. 289 U. S. 11.

4. A contemptuous obstruction to judicial power is nonetheless contempt when aggravated by perjury. P. 289 U. S. 11.

5. The privilege from exposure of his votes and arguments in the jury room does not belong to a juror who became such by a fraud on the court. P. 289 U. S. 12.

6. A statement by a juror of how she voted, made in her answer to an information for contempt, held a waiver to that extent of the privilege against disclosure. P. 289 U. S. 18.

Page 289 U. S. 2

7. Evidence of a juror's intentional concealment on voir dire of her disqualification by previous employment by defendant, and evidence of her arguments with other jurors while the trial was going on, and of her vote, revealed by her own answer in the contempt proceedings, held sufficient to overcome the claim of privilege and let in evidence of her conduct in the jury room after the case had been submitted. P. 289 U. S. 18.

8. The rule that the testimony of a juror is not admissible for the impeachment of his verdict bears no relation to the privilege of jurors against exposure of their arguments and votes in the jury room. P. 289 U. S. 18.

9. The doctrine allowing purgation by the oath of the contemnor as a bar to prosecution for contempt is obsolete. P. 289 U. S. 19.

10. There was no denial to the petitioner of a fair notice of hearing, nor any variance of substance between the information and the findings, in this case. P. 289 U. S. 19.

61 F.2d 695 affirmed.

Certiorari, 287 U.S. 595, to review the affirmance of a conviction of criminal contempt. See 1 F.Supp. 747.

Page 289 U. S. 6

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