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UNITED STATES v. BREWSTER
APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
No. 70–45. Argued October 18, 1971–Reargued March 20, 1972—
Decided June 29, 1972
Appellee, a former United States Senator, was charged with the
solicitation and acceptance of bribes in violation of 18 U. S. C. 88 201 (c)(1) and 201 (g). The District Court, on appellee's pretrial motion, dismissed the indictment on the ground that the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution shielded him “from any prosecution for alleged bribery to perform a legislative act.” The United States filed a direct appeal to this Court under 18 U. S. C. $ 3731 (1964 ed., Supp. V), which appellee contends this Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain because the District Court's action was not "a decision or judgment setting aside, or dismissing” the indictment but was instead a summary judgment on the merits based on the facts of the case. Held:
1. This Court has jurisdiction under 18 U. S. C. $ 3731 (1964 ed., Supp. V) to hear the appeal, since the District Court's order was based upon its determination of the constitutional invalidity of 18 U. S. C. 88 201 (c)(1) and 201 (g) on the facts as alleged in the indictment. Pp. 504–507.
2. The prosecution of appellee is not prohibited by the Speech or Debate Clause. Although that provision protects Members of Congress from inquiry into legislative acts or the motivation for performance of such acts, United States v. Johnson, 383 U. S. 169, 185, it does not protect all conduct relating to the legislative process. Since in this case prosecution of the bribery charges does not necessitate inquiry into legislative acts or motivation, the District Court erred in holding that the Speech or Debate Clause required
dismissal of the indictment. Pp. 507–529. Reversed and remanded.
BURGER, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which STEWART, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which DOUGLAS, J., joined, post, p. 529. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Douglas and BRENNAN, JJ., joined, post, p. 551.
Opinion of the Court
Solicitor General Griswold reargued the cause for the United States. With him on the briefs on the original argument were Assistant Attorney General Wilson, Jerome M. Feit, and Beatrice Rosenberg. With him on the brief on the reargument were Assistant Attorney General Petersen and Mr. Feit.
Norman P. Ramsey reargued the cause for appellee. With him on the briefs were Thomas Waxter, Jr., and H. Thomas Howell.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.
This direct appeal from the District Court presents the question whether a Member of Congress may be prosecuted under 18 U. S. C. $8 201 (c)(1), 201 (g), for accepting a bribe in exchange for a promise relating to an official act. Appellee, a former United States Senator, was charged in five counts of a 10-count indictment. Counts one, three, five, and seven alleged that on four separate occasions, appellee, while he was a Senator and a member of the Senate Committee on Post Office and Civil Service,
"directly and indirectly, corruptly asked, solicited, sought, accepted, received and agreed to receive [sums] . . . in return for being influenced in his performance of official acts in respect to his action, vote, and decision on postage rate legislation which might at any time be pending before him in his official capacity ... in violation of Sections 201 (c)(1) and 2, Title 18, United States Code.” 2
1 The remaining five counts charged the alleged bribers with offering and giving bribes in violation of 18 U. S. C. § 201 (b).
2 Title 18 U. S. C. § 201 (c) provides: “Whoever, being a public official or person selected to be a public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly asks, demands, exacts, solicits, seeks, accepts, receives,
UNITED STATES v. BREWSTER
Opinion of the Court
Count nine charged that appellee
"directly and indirectly, asked, demanded, exacted,
... in violation of Sections 201 (g) and 2, Title
"[F]or any Speech or Debate in either House, they
tioned in any other Place.”
“Gentlemen, based on the facts of this case,
or agrees to receive anything of value for himself or for any other person or entity, in return for:
“(1) being influenced in his performance of any official act [shall be guilty of an offense].”
Title 18 U.S. C. § 201 (a) defines "public official” to include “Member of Congress.” The same subsection provides: “'official act' means any decision or action on any question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy, which may at any time be pending, or which may by law be brought before any public official, in his official capacity, or in his place of trust or profit.” Title 18 U. S. C. $2 is the aiding or abetting statute.
3 Title 18 U. S. C. § 201 (g) provides: “Whoever, being a public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty, directly or indirectly asks, demands, exacts, solicits, seeks, accepts, receives, or agrees to receive anything of value for himself for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by him ... [shall be guilty of an offense].”
it is admitted by the Government that the five counts of the indictment which charge Senator Brewster relate to the acceptance of bribes in connection with the performance of a legislative function by a Senator of the United States.
"It is the opinion of this Court that the immunity under the Speech and [sic] Debate Clause of the Constitution, particularly in view of the interpretation given that Clause by the Supreme Court in Johnson, shields Senator Brewster, constitutionally shields him from any prosecution for alleged bribery to perform a legislative act.
"I will, therefore, dismiss the odd counts of the indictment, 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9, as they apply to Sen
ator Brewster.” The United States filed a direct appeal to this Court, pursuant to 18 U. S. C. § 3731 (1964 ed., Supp. V).* We postponed consideration of jurisdiction until he ing the case on the merits. 401 U. S. 935 (1971).
The United States asserts that this Court has jurisdiction under 18 U. S. C. § 3731 (1964 ed., Supp. V) to
4 Title 18 U. S. C. $ 3731 provided in relevant part:
“An appeal may be taken by and on behalf of the United States from the district courts direct to the Supreme Court of the United States in all criminal cases in the following instances:
“From a decision or judgment setting aside, or dismissing any indictment or information, or any count thereof, where such decision or judgment is based upon the invalidity or construction of the statute upon which the indictment or information is founded.
"From the decision or judgment sustaining a motion in bar, when the defendant has not been put in jeopardy."
The statute has since been amended to eliminate the direct appeal provision on which the United States relies. 18 U. S. C. § 3731. This appeal, however, was perfected under the old statute.
review the District Court's dismissal of the indictment against appellee. Specifically, the United States urges that the District Court decision was either “a decision or judgment setting aside, or dismissing [an] indictment.. or any count thereof, where such decision or judgment is based upon the invalidity or construction of the statute upon which the indictment ... is founded” or a "decision or judgment sustaining a motion in bar, when the defendant has not been put in jeopardy.” If the District Court decision is correctly characterized by either of those descriptions, this Court has jurisdiction under the statute to hear the United States' appeal.
In United States v. Knox, 396 U. S. 77 (1969), we considered a direct appeal by the United States from the dismissal of an indictment that charged the appellee in that case with violating 18 U. S. C. $ 1001, a general criminal provision punishing fraudulent statements made to any federal agency. The appellee, Knox, had been accused of willfully understating the number of employees accepting wagers on his behalf when he filed a form that persons engaged in the business of accepting wagers were required by law to file. The District Court dismissed the counts charging violations of § 1001 on the ground that the appellee could not be prosecuted for failure to answer the wagering form correctly since his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination prevented prosecution for failure to file the form in any respect. We found jurisdiction under $ 3731 to hear the appeal in Knox on the theory that the District Court had passed on the validity of the statute on which the indictment rested. 396 U. S., at 79 n. 2. The District Court in that case held that “Ş 1001, as applied to this class of cases, is constitutionally invalid.” Ibid.
The counts of the indictment involved in the instant case were based on 18 U. S. C. $ 201, a bribery statute.