United States v. Hvass
355 U.S. 570 (1958)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Hvass, 355 U.S. 570 (1958)

United States v. Hvass

No. 92

Argued January 27, 1958

Decided March 3, 1958

355 U.S. 570

Syllabus

1. When a Federal District Court dismisses an indictment on the ground that it does not allege a violation of the statute upon which it was founded, not merely because of some deficiency in pleading, but with respect to the substance of the charge, that is necessarily a construction of the statute, and a direct appeal to this Court lies under 18 U.S.C. § 3731. Pp. 355 U. S. 573-574.

2. A willfully false statement of a material fact, made by an attorney under oath during a Federal District Court's examination into his fitness to practice before it, constitutes perjury within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 1621 when the examination was made under a local rule of the District Court specifically authorizing such examination under oath, since such an examination is a "case in which a law of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered" within the meaning of the statute. Pp. 355 U. S. 574-577.

(a) The phrase "a law of the United States," as used in the perjury statute, is not limited to statutes, but includes as well rules and regulations which have been lawfully authorized and have a clear legislative base, and also decisional law. P. 355 U. S. 575.

(b) There can be no doubt that the District Court was lawfully authorized to prescribe its local rules and that they have a clear legislative base. Pp. 355 U. S. 575-577.

147 F.Supp. 594 reversed and remanded.

Page 355 U. S. 571

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