Continental Casualty Co. v. United States - 314 U.S. 527 (1942)


U.S. Supreme Court

Continental Casualty Co. v. United States, 314 U.S. 527 (1942)

Continental Casualty Co. v. United States

No. 39

Argued November 1, 19, 1941

Decided January 5, 1942

314 U.S. 527

Syllabus

1. Revised Statutes § 1020, 18 U.S.C. § 601, provides that, when any recognizance in a criminal case returnable to any court of the United States is forfeited by a breach of the conditions thereof, such court may remit the whole or a part of the penalty whenever it appears that there has been no

"willful default of the party, and that a trial can, notwithstanding, be had in the cause, and that public justice does not otherwise require the same penalty to be enforced."

Held:

(1) That this statute is the exclusive source of the power of the District Court at any time to remit the forfeiture of a recognizance in a criminal cause.

(2) The word "party" appearing in the phrase "willful default of the party," means only the principal in the recognizance; it does not include the surety. P. 314 U. S. 530.

2. Where the words of the Revised Statutes are clear, their meaning may not be changed by resort to the prior law. P. 314 U. S. 530.

Response to questions certified by the Circuit Court of Appeals on a review by that court of a judgment of the District Court, 34 F.Supp. 1007, which dismissed a petition praying that forfeiture of a recognizance be remitted. The petitioners were the surety and its indemnitor.



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