United States v. Romano
382 U.S. 136 (1965)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Romano, 382 U.S. 136 (1965)

United States v. Romano

No. 2

Argued October 14, 1965

Decided November 22, 1965

382 U.S. 136

Syllabus

Respondents, who were found by federal officers near an operating still, were indicted on three counts charging, in Count 1, the possession, custody and control of an illegal still in violation of 26 U.S.C. §5601(a)(1); in Count 2, the illegal production of distilled spirits in violation of § 5601 (a)(8); and, in Count 3, a conspiracy to produce distilled spirits. Respondents were convicted and given concurrent prison sentences on each count and fined on Count 1. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conspiracy convictions but reversed the substantive convictions, holding invalid under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment an instruction and statutory inference embodied therein based on §§5601(b)(1) and (4), which provide in part that presence of a defendant at an illegal still site shall be sufficient evidence to authorize conviction under §§ 5601(a)(1) and (8) unless he explains such presence to the jury's satisfaction.

Held:

1. It is unnecessary to consider the validity of § 5601(b)(4) and the convictions under Count 2, since the sentences thereon were concurrent with the unchallenged sentences imposed on Count 3. P. 382 U. S. 138.

2. The statutory inference in §5601 (b)(1) is invalid, since presence at an illegal still carries no reasonable inference of the crime of possession, custody, or control of the still proscribed by § 5601(a)(1). United States v. Gainey,380 U. S. 63, distinguished. Pp. 139- 382 U. S. 144.

330 F.2d 566, affirmed.

Page 382 U. S. 137

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