Horning v. District of Columbia,
254 U.S. 135 (1920)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Horning v. District of Columbia, 254 U.S. 135 (1920)

Horning v. District of Columbia

No. 77

Argued November 8, 13, 1920

Decided November 22, 1920

254 U.S. 135


One whose intentional conduct violate the prohibitions of a penal statute is not excused by his purpose to keep within the law and his belief that he did so. P. 254 U. S. 137.

The offense of engaging without license in the business of lending money on security at more than 6 percent interest, in the District of Columbia (Act of February 4, 1913, c. 26, 37 Stat. 657), is committed by a pawnbroker who receives application, examines pledges, and decides upon loans only at a place just beyond the District line, but who maintains an establishment in the District where the pledges are kept and returned, and where intending borrowers may find a free automobile service to take them to him in person, or a paid messenger service, not belonging to the pawnbroker, by which their applications and pledge may be taken to him and the money and pawn ticket brought back and delivered to them. Id.

In a criminal case, when undisputed facts, including the testimony of the defendant, clearly establish the offense charged, the judge may say so to the jury, tell them that there is no issue of fact for their determination, and instruct them that, while they cannot be constrained to return a verdict of guilty, it is their duty to do so under their obligation as jurors. Id.

Held that, if the defendant suffered any wrong from the manner in which such instructions were given in the present case, it was purely formal, since there could be no doubt of his guilt on the facts admitted, and the error, if any, was cured by § 269, Jud.Code, as amended February 26, 1919. P. 254 U. S. 138.

48 App.D.C. 380 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 254 U. S. 136

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