Brown v. United States,
276 U.S. 134 (1928)

Annotate this Case
  • Syllabus  | 
  • Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Brown v. United States, 276 U.S. 134 (1928)

Brown v. United States

No. 33

Argued October 14, 1927

Reargued January 4, 1928

Decided February 20, 1928

276 U.S. 134


1. The provisions of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act creating criminal and civil liability against unincorporated associations necessarily carry the implication that they may be proceeded against by their common names to enforce the liability. P. 276 U. S. 141.

2. In grand jury proceedings under the Sherman Act, a subpoena duces tecum without an ad testificandum clause may issue to an unincorporated association and be served upon the officer of the association who has possession of the documents. P. 276 U. S. 142.

3. A subpoena duces tecum commanding an association of manufacturers to produce all letters and telegrams, or copies thereof, passing between it and its predecessors, their officers and agents, and the several members of such association, and the officers and agents of such members, during a specified period of five and one-half months, relating to the manufacture and sale of a specified class of goods, and particularly with reference to certain specified meetings and activities and aspects of the trade involved, held not too broad. P. 276 U. S. 142.

4. That the subpoena in this case was not objectionable is established by the fact that, prior to its issue, the documents called for had been identified and produced, without undue interference with the affairs of the association, under another subpoena containing the same description. P. 276 U. S. 143.

5. To support a claim that documents called for by a subpoena will tend to incriminate him, the witness must produce them for inspection by the court, and his refusal to do so, in itself, constitutes a failure to show reasonable ground for not complying with the writ. P. 276 U. S. 144.

6. In the absence from the record of anything but the witness' mere assertion to show that his claim of privilege against production of documents was justified, it may be assumed, upon review of a judgment committing him for contempt, that, by inspection of the documents or by other facts, a want of substance in the claim was disclosed to the district court. P. 276 U. S. 145.


Page 276 U. S. 135

Review of a judgment of the district court sentencing Brown for criminal contempt in refusing to comply with a subpoena duces tecum. The case first reached this Court upon a certification of questions from the circuit court of appeals. After argument, the entire record was ordered up and the case was reargued.

Page 276 U. S. 137

Disclaimer: Official Supreme Court case law is only found in the print version of the United States Reports. Justia case law is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or information linked to from this site. Please check official sources.