United States v. Hood - 343 U.S. 148 (1952)


U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Hood, 343 U.S. 148 (1952)

United States v. Hood

No. 426

Argued March 4, 1952

Decided March 31, 1952

343 U.S. 148

Syllabus

Appellees were indicted for violating 18 U.S.C. § 215, which makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to solicit or receive contributions in consideration of the promise of support or use of influence in obtaining for any person "any appointive office or place under the United States." The trial court dismissed certain counts of the indictment which alleged the solicitation of contributions in return for promises to use influence to obtain offices which were not in existence at the time of the solicitation or the return of the indictment, but which the President had been authorized to create under the Defense Production Act of 1950.

Held: these counts should not have been dismissed. Pp. 343 U. S. 149-152.

(a) Section 215 is broad enough to cover the sale of influence in connection with an office which had been authorized by law and which, at the time of the sale, might reasonably be expected to be established. Pp. 343 U. S. 150-151.

(b) The doctrine that criminal statutes are to be strictly construed does not mean that they must be construed by some artificial and conventional rule; nor should there be read out of such statutes what, as a matter of ordinary English speech, is in them. P. 343 U. S. 151.

(c) The construction here given 18 U.S.C. § 215 does not offend the requirement of definiteness. Pp. 343 U. S. 151-152.

Reversed.

In a prosecution of the appellees for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 215 and conspiracy, the District Court dismissed some counts of the indictment. The Government appealed directly to this Court under the Criminal Appeals Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3731. Reversed and remanded, p. 343 U. S. 152.

Page 343 U. S. 149



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