United States v. Hastings
296 U.S. 188 (1935)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Hastings, 296 U.S. 188 (1935)

United States v. Hastings

No. 22

Argued November 12, 1935

Decided December 9, 1935

296 U.S. 188

Syllabus

1. Upon appeal under the Criminal Appeals Act from an order quashing an indictment, this Court must accept the construction of the indictment placed upon it by the District Court. P. 296 U. S. 192.

2. This Court cannot entertain an appeal by the Government, under the Criminal Appeals Act, from a judgment of the District Court

Page 296 U. S. 189

quashing an indictment, where the judgment was based not only upon the invalidity or construction of the statute upon which the indictment was founded, but also upon another and independent ground. United States v. Stevenson,215 U. S. 190, in part disapproved. Pp. 296 U. S. 193-194.

3. A case may be reviewed under the Criminal Appeals Act, even though one of the grounds certified for sustaining a demurrer is that the indictment fails to charge an offence, if it be apparent that this specification was but introductory to other grounds which clearly involve the construction and validity of the statute on which the indictment was founded. Pp. 296 U. S. 194-195.

4. The United States Warehouse Act, as amended, provides for the licensing and regulation by the Secretary of Agriculture of warehouses in which any agricultural product is stored for interstate or foreign commerce, or, if located within any place under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, in which any agricultural product is stored; warehouse receipts are to be issued for all agricultural products stored for interstate or foreign commerce, or in any place subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, in warehouses so licensed; and, by § 10 (U.S.C. Supp. VII, Title 7, § 270) removal, contrary to the Act or regulations, of any agricultural products stored in a licensed warehouse and for which "licensed receipts" have been or are to be issued, is made a misdemeanor.

Held:

(1) That, despite the broad language used in some of its parts, the Act, aside from its application to places within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, should be construed as limited in its operation to storage for interstate or foreign commerce. P. 296 U. S. 198.

(2) The term "licensed receipts" in the penal section means the receipts for products stored for interstate or foreign commerce, when not stored in a place under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States. P. 296 U. S. 199.

(3) An indictment for unlawful removal need not allege ownership, value of goods, and intent to defraud, as in a common law indictment for larceny. Pp. 296 U. S. 194, 296 U. S. 199.

(4) It is, however, an essential ingredient of the offense that the goods removed have been stored for interstate or foreign commerce, or in a place subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, and that warehouse receipts have been or are to be issued for such storage, and this must be alleged in the indictment. P. 296 U. S. 199.

Page 296 U. S. 190

5. No opinion is expressed respecting the power of Congress to punish removal of products stored in licensed warehouses in places not within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States. P. 296 U. S. 200.

Affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment of the District Court quashing an indictment upon a demurrer.

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