United States v. Raynor
302 U.S. 540 (1938)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Raynor, 302 U.S. 540 (1938)

United States v. Raynor

No. 146

Argued November 12, 15, 1937

Decided January 3, 1938*

302 U.S. 540


1. Section 150 of the Criminal Code provides that

"whoever shall have or retain in his control or possession after a distinctive paper has been adopted by the Secretary of the Treasury for the obligations and other securities of the United States, any similar paper adapted to the making of any such obligation or other security, except under the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury or some other proper officer of the United States, shall be fined . . . ,"

etc. Held, the words "similar paper adapted to the making of any such obligation" embrace paper similar to, though not identical with, the adopted distinctive paper and which is adapted to the making of counterfeits of government obligations. Pp. 302 U. S. 545, 302 U. S. 551.

2. Possession by an unauthorized person of paper of practically the same color, weight, thickness, and appearance of the distinctive paper theretofore adopted by the Secretary of the Treasury for obligations and securities of the United States, and which was cut to the dimensions of genuine twenty dollar notes and rattled like

Page 302 U. S. 541

genuine money, and upon the surface of which were designed red and blue marks closely resembling the red and blue fibers embedded in the distinctive paper, held a violation of the Act. Pp. 302 U. S. 542, 302 U. S. 552.

3. There is nothing in the legislative history of § 150 of the Criminal Code which requires that the words "similar paper adapted to the making of any such obligation" be construed as applying only to the distinctive paper adopted by the Government, or to paper identical therewith. P. 302 U. S. 546.

4. A construction of a statute which results in an inconsistency is not favored. P. 302 U. S. 547.

5. The construction here given § 150 of the Criminal Code is not inconsistent with a grant of authority to certain officials to permit possession of otherwise illicit paper. P. 302 U. S. 551.

6. The decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals in Krakowski v. United States, 161 F. 88, holding that the Act prohibited possession of the distinctive paper only, is unsound, and the fact that Congress subsequently revised and codified the criminal laws without change in this particular does not require that that decision be followed. P. 302 U. S. 552.

7. One decision construing a statute cannot be regarded as a well settled interpretation. P. 302 U. S. 552.

8. Penal statutes need not be given their narrowest meaning, but may be given their fair meaning in accord with the evident legislative intent. P. 302 U. S. 552.

89 F.2d 469 reversed.

Certiorari, post, p. 667, to review judgments reversing judgments sentencing two defendants after conviction upon an indictment for an offense against the currency.

Page 302 U. S. 542

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