Ford v. United States,
273 U.S. 593 (1927)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Ford v. United States, 273 U.S. 593 (1927)

Ford v. United States

No. 312

Argued October 26, 27, 1926

Decided April 11, 1927

273 U.S. 593


1. In an indictment charging conspiracy to commit offenses against laws of the United States, an allegation that it was also to violate a treaty (prescribing no offense) may be rejected as surplusage. P. 273 U. S. 602.

Page 273 U. S. 594

2. Ignoring surplusage is not amending the indictment. P. 273 U. S. 602.

3. An indictment charging a continuous conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States by introducing and transporting liquor in the United States in violation of the National Prohibition Act, and by importing it into the United States in violation of the Tariff Act, is not bad for duplicity. P. 273 U. S. 602.

4. In determining the admissibility in a criminal case of evidence of a seizure of property and persons, questions of fact affecting the legality of the seizure are decided by the court without the jury. P. 273 U. S. 605.

5. Where the district court has jurisdiction of the offense charged, the question whether the defendants were wrongfully brought into its custody through an unlawful seizure on the high seas must be raised by a plea to the jurisdiction over their persons, and is waived by a plea of not guilty. P. 273 U. S. 606.

6. The treaty of May 22, 1924, with Great Britain, which, within limits stated, permits a British vessel in extraterritorial waters to be boarded and searched by United States authorities and, if there is reasonable cause for belief that she has committed or is committing or attempting to commit an offense against the laws of the United States prohibiting the importation of alcoholic beverages, to be seized and taken into port "for adjudication in accordance with such laws," should be construed liberally, in effectuation of its purpose, as contemplating that not only the ship, but the cargo and the persons on board may be taken in for adjudication. Pp. 273 U. S. 609, 273 U. S. 618.

7. Principle of expressio unius est exclusio alterius considered. P. 273 U. S. 611.

8. It is permissible under the treaty to prosecute the persons so seized and brought into the United States not only for illegal importation, but also for conspiracy to commit that offense, where the conspiracy charged (under Crim.Code § 37) included as overt acts actual importation and an attempt. United States v. Rauscher, 119 U. S. 407, distinguished. Pp. 273 U. S. 614-616.

9. One may be guilty as a party to a conspiracy to import liquors into the United States in violation of the Prohibition Law, followed by overt acts in this country, although he was and remained outside of its territorial jurisdiction. P. 273 U. S. 619.

10 F.2d 339 affirmed.

Certiorari (271 U.S. 652) to a judgment of the circuit court of appeals affirming a conviction of conspiracy to import liquor into the United States in violation of the Prohibition Law. See 3 F.2d 643.

Page 273 U. S. 600

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