United States v. Cantril
8 U.S. 167 (1807)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Cantril, 8 U.S. 4 Cranch 167 167 (1807)

United States v. Cantril

8 U.S. (4 Cranch) 167

ON CERTIFICATE OF DIVISION OF OPINION AMONG THE

JUDGES OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA

Syllabus

The Act of Congress of 27 June, 1798, to punish frauds committed on the Bank of the United States, is in itself repugnant, and will not support an indictment for knowingly uttering as true, a false, forged, and counterfeit paper, purporting to be a bank bill of the United States, signed by the president and cashier.

This case was certified from the Circuit Court of the District of Georgia, the opinions of the judges of that court being opposed upon a motion in arrest of judgment upon a verdict of guilty on the following indictment, viz.,

"The jurors . . . upon their oath present that Zebulon Cantril late, . . . on 1 January, 1806, with force and arms, at the house of one William Gibson, in the Town of St. Mary's, . . . a certain false, forged and counterfeit paper, partly written and partly printed, purporting to be a bank bill of the United States for ten dollars, signed by Thomas Willing, president, and G. Simpson, cashier, dated at Philadelphia the second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and four, payable on demand to R. Beatty or bearer, with force and arms, did feloniously utter and publish as a true bank bill of the United States, with intent to defraud the said William Gibson, and which said false, forged and counterfeit bill, partly written and partly printed, is in the words, figures and letters following, to-wit: [here the bill was inserted], he the said Zebulon Cantril, . . . at the said time of uttering and publishing the said false, forged, and counterfeit bill, partly written and partly printed, there by him in form aforesaid, well knowing the same so by him uttered and published to be false, forged and counterfeited, against the form of the statute in that case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the United States."

The reasons assigned in arrest of judgment were

1. That the indictment is insufficient and repugnant, inasmuch as it charges the prisoner with having uttered and published as true a certain false, forged, and counterfeit paper, partly written and partly printed, purporting to be a bank bill of the United States for ten dollars, signed by Thomas Willing, president, and G. Simpson, cashier, &c.

Page 541 U. S. 168

2. Because the Act of Congress passed 27 June, 1798, entitled "an act to punish frauds committed on the bank of the United States," Vol. 4. 152, under which the prisoner is indicted, or so much thereof as relates to the charge set forth in the indictment, is inconsistent, repugnant, and therefore void.

The words of the act of Congress, so far as they describe the offense charged, are as follow, viz.,

"If any person shall utter or publish as true any false, forged, or counterfeited bill or note issued by order of the president, directors and company of the bank of the United States and signed by the president and countersigned by the cashier thereof with intention to defraud the said corporation, or any other body politic or person, knowing the same to be falsely altered, forged, or counterfeited, every such person shall be deemed and adjudged guilty of felony, and being thereof convicted according to the due course of law, shall be sentenced. . . ."

The question was submitted without argument.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court that the judgment ought to be arrested for the reasons assigned in the record, and directed the opinion to be certified accordingly.

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