Gebardi v. United States
287 U.S. 112 (1932)

Annotate this Case
  • Syllabus  | 
  • Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Gebardi v. United States, 287 U.S. 112 (1932)

Gebardi v. United States

No. 97

Argued October 10, 1932

Decided November 7, 1932

287 U.S. 112

Syllabus

1. Section 2 of the Mann Act imposes a penalty upon

"Any person who shall knowingly transport or cause to be transported, or aid or assist in obtaining transportation for, or in transporting in interstate or foreign commerce . . . any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery or for any other immoral purpose. . ."

Held:

That a woman who is the willing object of such transportation, but who does not aid or assist otherwise than by her consent, is not guilty of the offense. P. 287 U. S. 119.

2. A woman merely acquiescing in her transportation by a man for immoral conduct between them in violation of § 2 of the Mann Act does not thereby commit the crime of conspiring to commit the substantive offense of which, by the transportation, he alone becomes guilty. P. 287 U. S. 123.

So held upon the ground that, as Congress set out in the Mann Act to deal with cases which involve consent and agreement on the part of the woman in every case in which she is a voluntary agent at all, the failure of the Act to condemn her participation in transportation effected with her mere consent evinces an affirmative legislative policy to leave her acquiescence unpunished.

Page 287 U. S. 113

This policy would be contravened were it to be held that the very passage of the Mann Act effected a withdrawal, by the earlier conspiracy statute, of that immunity which the Act itself confers.

57 F.2d 617 reversed.

Certiorari, 286 U.S. 539, to review the affirmance of convictions and sentences of the petitioners, a man and a woman, for alleged conspiracies, in three counts.

Page 287 U. S. 115

Primary Holding
A woman is not liable for conspiracy to violate the Mann Act, or for a violation of the law, if she agrees to be transported across state lines for an immoral purpose.
Facts
Gebardi took his future wife to another state before their marriage so that they could have sexual intercourse. They made these trips several times, and his future wife voluntarily consented to going on the trips in full knowledge of their purpose. He bought railroad tickets for both of them for at least one of the trips. Both Gebardi and his wife were convicted of conspiracy to transport a woman across state lines for an immoral purpose, which was prohibited under the federal Mann Act. Nobody else was named as a participant in the conspiracy.

Opinions

Majority

  • Harlan Fiske Stone (Author)
  • Owen Josephus Roberts
  • Pierce Butler
  • Louis Dembitz Brandeis
  • George Sutherland
  • Willis Van Devanter
  • James Clark McReynolds
  • Charles Evans Hughes

The statute encompasses conduct by a woman in the wife's position only if she had aided or assisted another person in transporting her or arranging for her transportation. The wife's participation in the violation of the Mann Act was merely an agreement rather than actual assistance. The husband could not be convicted of conspiracy to violate the Mann Act because there was no agreement with any other party once his wife was removed from the case.

Concurrence

  • Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (Author)

Case Commentary

The penalties in this law are placed solely on the person transporting the woman, rather than the woman, since it does not criminalize consent to being transported. It is also impossible for the alleged victim of an offense to be charged with conspiring to commit the offense.

Disclaimer: Justia Annotations is a forum for attorneys to summarize, comment on, and analyze case law published on our site. Justia makes no guarantees or warranties that the annotations are accurate or reflect the current state of law, and no annotation is intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal advice. Contacting Justia or any attorney through this site, via web form, email, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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.