« ForrigeFortsett »
Opinion of the Court.
225 U. S.
make another effort to agree upon a verdict, charging them, however, that should they render a verdict it must be one to which they all freely agreed; that the law would not recognize a coerced verdict or one which was not the free expression of the views and opinions of the jurymen, and that if after another conscientious effort the jury still fail to agree they should return to the court and so state. That it was not the purpose of the court to unduly prolong their deliberations, and that if they could not conscientiously and freely agree upon a verdict they would be discharged."
At ten minutes before three o'clock they were brought into court and again declared that they were unable to agree, and the court instructed them further, after consultation with counsel for the Government and defendants, and to which no exception was made, suggesting a consideration of the possibility of the guilt of some of the defendants and not of others. The jury, shortly after they went out, announced their agreement, finding a verdict against Hyde and Schneider of being guilty "in manner and form as charged," and Benson and Dimond not guilty.
On motion of counsel the jury was polled as to Hyde and Schneider, respectively, and they answered guilty on certain counts and not guilty on the 29th and 33d counts.
The supposed misconduct of the jury was made a ground of new trial. Certain supporting affidavits were made by counsel upon information. Counsel respectively averred that they believed the information given them to be true and that it was received partly from one of the jurors and partly from a person who had conferences with another; and that two of the jurors were requested to make affidavit, but under the advice of their counsel they declined unless required by the court.
The motion for a new trial set forth that the verdict was the result of an agreement between certain of the
jurors who believed all of the defendants should be convicted and certain jurors who believed that all of the defendants should be acquitted, by which agreement the acquittal of Benson was exchanged for the conviction of Hyde and the conviction of Schneider for the acquittal of Dimond. And this was brought about, it is contended and argued, as the result of what "under the circumstances amounted to coercion by the court."
There is nothing in the record to justify the contention. It is true the trial was a long one and that the jury were not allowed to separate. Neither fact is unusual in criminal trials; the first is often necessary, the second often expedient, and contributes to an impartial judgment for and against defendants. It is true that the jury was in consultation for three days and nights without agreement, but the case was unusual in its issues and evidence and the detailed attention that was required.
It well might be that jurors should not see the exact bearing of the evidence as it affected particular defendants until the final instructions of the court, which we have set out and about which counsel were consulted. The court took care to say to the jury that the law would not recognize a coerced verdict, and that it was not the court's intention to unduly prolong their deliberations, and if after another effort "they could not conscientiously and freely agree upon a verdict they would be discharged." It is hard to believe that with that admonition yet in their ears they bartered their convictions, with that promise expressly made to them, they were coerced by a threat of confinement to acquit those who they were convinced were guilty or convict those who they were convinced were innocent.
But, even conceiving such possibility, we think the court rightly ruled. It was within the issues of the case to convict some of the defendants and acquit others, and we think the rule expressed in Wright v. Illinois & Miss.
HOLMES, LURTON, HUGHES and LAMAR, JJ., dissenting. 225 U. S.
Tel. Co., 20 Iowa, 195, and Gottleib Bros. v. Jasper & Co., 27 Kansas, 770, should apply, that the testimony of jurors should not be received to show matters which essentially inhere in the verdict itself and necessarily depend upon the testimony of the jurors and can receive no corroboration.
MR. JUSTICE HOLMES, with whom concurred MR. JUSTICE LURTON, MR. JUSTICE HUGHES and MR. JUSTICE LAMAR, dissenting.
This is an indictment under Rev. Stat. § 5440, amended, act of May 17, 1879, c. 8, 21 Stat. 4, for a conspiracy to defraud the United States. The petitioners were tried and convicted in the District of Columbia, the conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals, 35 App. D. C. 451, and thereupon a writ of certiorari was granted by this court. The scheme was to obtain by fraudulent devices from the States of California and Oregon school lands lying within forest reserves, to exchange them for public lands of the United States open to selection, and then to sell the lands so obtained. Hyde and Schneider were in California and never were actually in the District in aid of the conspiracy, but overt acts are alleged to have been done there to effect the objects in view. Most of these acts are innocent, taken by themselves, consisting mainly of the entry of appearance by Hyde's lawyer in the matter of different selections, the filing of papers concerning them, and letters urging speed. Hyde is alleged to have caused some documents affecting the same to be transmitted from California to the Commissioner at Washington, and in the last six counts payments to employés in the Land Office are alleged to have been made with corrupt purpose and in aid of the plan by a person who was included in the indictment as a conspirator, but whom the jury did not convict.
225 U.S. HOLMES, LURTON, HUGHES and LAMAR, JJ., dissenting.
The court instructed the jury that if the defendants agreed to accomplish their purpose by having any of the alleged overt acts done in the District of Columbia, and any of those acts were done there, the conspiracy was in the District, whether the defendants were there or not. The defendants excepted to this instruction, as well as to many others.
I have said enough to show that there was more than one question in the case, but as the first and also the most important one is whether the court had jurisdiction of the alleged offence, I shall confine myself to that.
The conspiracy was continuous in its nature and is averred to have been so. United States v. Kissel, 218 U. S. 601. Therefore, wherever it was formed, it might have been continued in the District of Columbia, as, for instance, if the conspirators had met there for the purposes of their scheme Moreover, in order to narrow the question, I will assume that, so far as the statute of limitations is concerned, an overt act done anywhere with the express or implied consent of conspirators would show the conspiracy to be continuing between the parties so consenting, and leave them open to prosecution for three years from that date. But it does not follow that an overt act draws the conspiracy to wherever such overt act may be done, and whether it does so or not is the question before us now.
In order to answer this question it is not enough to say that as the overt act was one that was contemplated by the conspirators it is treated as the act of them all, and that this is equivalent to saying that they were constructively present. That would be passing a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter. They are chargeable there for the act, but it does not follow that they were there to other intents. They are shown not to have been by the fact that they could not be treated as fugitives from justice even in respect of that very act, when and although that act was itself a crime. Hyatt v. Corkran, 188 U. S. 691, 712. VOL. CCXXV-25
HOLMES, LURTON, HUGHES and LAMAR, JJ., dissenting. 225 U.S.
To speak of constructive presence is to use the language of fiction, and so to hinder precise analysis. When a man is said to be constructively present where the consequences of an act done elsewhere are felt, it is meant that for some special purpose he will be treated as he would have been treated if he had been present, although he was not. For instance, if a man acting in one State sets forces in motion that kill a man in another, or produces or induces some consequence in that other that it regards as very hurtful and wishes to prevent, the latter State is very likely to say that if it can catch him it will punish him, although he was not subject to its laws when he did the act. Strassheim v. Daily, 221 U. S. 280, 285. But as States usually confine their threats to those within the jurisdiction at the time of the act, American Banana Co. v. United Fruit Co., 213 U. S. 347, 356, the symmetry of general theory is preserved by saying that the offender was constructively present in the case supposed. Burton v. United States, 202 U. S. 344, 389. We must not forget facts, however. He was not present in fact, and in theory of law he was present only so far as to be charged with the act.
Obviously the use of this fiction or form of words must not be pushed to such a point in the administration of the national law as to transgress the requirement of the Constitution that the trial of crimes shall be held in the State and district where the crimes shall have been committed. Art. III, § 2, Cl. 3. Amendments, Art. VI. With the country extending from ocean to ocean this requirement is even more important now than it was a hundred years ago, and must be enforced in letter and spirit if we are to make impossible hardships amounting to grievous wrongs. In the case of conspiracy the danger is conspicuously brought out. Every overt act done in aid of it of course is attributed to the conspirators, and if that means that the conspiracy is present as such wherever any