United States v. Behrman,
258 U.S. 280 (1922)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Behrman, 258 U.S. 280 (1922)

United States v. Behrman

No. 582

Argued March 7, 1922

Decided March 27, 1922

258 U.S. 280


1. An exception in a statute defining an offense is met in an indictment by alleging facts sufficient to show that the defendant was not within the exception. P. 258 U. S. 287.

2. An indictment need only describe the crime with sufficient clearness to show the violation of law and to inform the defendant of the nature and cause of the accusation and enable him to plead the judgment, if any, in bar of further prosecution for the same offense. P. 258 U. S. 288.

3. An indictment for a statutory offense need not charge scienter or intent if the statute does not make them elements. P. 258 U. S. 288.

4. Under the Anti-Narcotic Act of December 17, 1914, c. 1, § 2, 38 Stat. 785, making it an offense to sell, barter, exchange or give away certain drugs except in pursuance of a written order of the person to whom such article is to be sold, etc., on an official form, and providing that nothing in the section shall apply to the dispensing or distribution of the drugs to a patient by a registered physician in the course of his professional practice only, or to their sale, dispensing, or distribution by a dealer to a consumer in pursuance of a written prescription issued by a registered physician, such a physician commits the offense if, knowing a person to be habitually addicted to the use of such drugs, and not purposing to treat him for any other disease, he issues him prescriptions

Page 258 U. S. 281

for quantities sufficient to make a great number of doses, more than enough to satisfy his craving if all consumed at one time, intending that he shall use them by self-administration in divided doses over a period of several days, and thus enables the addict to obtain such excessive quantities, without other order, from a pharmacist, and to have them in his possession and control with no other restraint upon their administration or disposition than his own weakened will. P. 258 U. S. 288.


Error to a judgment of the district court sustaining a demurrer to an indictment.

Page 258 U. S. 285

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