United States v. Gainey
380 U.S. 63 (1965)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Gainey, 380 U.S. 63 (1965)

United States v. Gainey

No. 13

Argued October 15, 1964

Decided March 1, 1965

380 U.S. 63

Syllabus

Respondent was convicted of illegal possession of a still and carrying on the business of a distiller without a bond, in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5601(a)(1) and (4). The trial judge's instructions informed the jury of statutory provisions authorizing it to infer guilt from respondent's unexplained presence at the still site. The Court of Appeals reversed the convictions as violative of due process requirements.

Held:

1. The statutory presumption in § 5601(b)(2) is constitutionally permissible, since there is a rational connection between a defendant's unexplained presence at a still and the comprehensive crime of the illegal distilling operation. Pp. 380 U. S. 65-68.

2. The statute deprives the trial judge of none of his normal powers with respect to submitting the case to the jury or granting a judgment notwithstanding a verdict. P. 380 U. S. 68.

3. The statute does not prevent the jury from being instructed on the standards for reasonable doubt, and the jury here was instructed that the statutory inference was not conclusive. Pp. 380 U. S. 68-70.

322 F.2d 292 reversed.

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