U.S. v. Peoni

US Criminal Law

U.S. v. Peoni
‘Twenty Six Dollars’ by Victor Dubreuil

The limitations and inclusions of conspiracy have something of a chequered past, and so on this occasion a defendant known and proven to have sold forged dollar bills was charged with exerting influence over transactions that were not only beyond his actual control, but were also separated by time, space and possible knowledge, thus the job of the court was to establish where the proximate lines of culpability lay.

Sometime prior to 1938 the appellant was charged and convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York for possession of, and conspiracy to possess, counterfeit U.S. currency, whereupon he challenged the judgment in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Here the court noted that in the chain of events prior to his conviction, the appellant had indeed possessed counterfeit money, but had since sold it on to a second party, who then in turn sold it to a third party within the same borough albeit unknown to the appellant.

First referring to 18 U.S.C.A. § 550, the court noted how it read that:

“Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.”

Which translated that had it been shown that the appellant was instrumental to the second transaction, he was rightfully convicted, after which the court turned to Anstess v. U.S., in which the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals had held that:

“One who, with full knowledge of the purpose with which contraband goods are to be used, furnishes those goods to another to so use them, actively participates in the scheme or plan to so use them.”

However the court also noted how in Graves v. Johnson the Massachusetts Supreme Court had held that:

“[A] sale otherwise lawful is not connected with subsequent unlawful conduct by the mere fact that the seller correctly divines the buyer’s unlawful intent, closely enough to make the sale unlawful.”

And so the court reasoned that regardless of the illegality of the appellants initial possession, it was contrary to sound law that he should be held to account as the principle conspirator in a sequence of events that occurred after the fact of his selling the notes on, thus the conviction was quashed in its entirety, while the court reminded the attending parties that:

“Nobody is liable in conspiracy except for the fair import of the concerted purpose or agreement as he understands it; if later comers change that, he is not liable for the change; his liability is limited to the common purposes while he remains in it.”

Shevlin-Carpenter Co. v. State of Minn.

US Criminal Law

Shevlin
‘Fallen Timber’ by Jospeh Laverti

The constitutionality of statute drafted and designed to preserve the interests of a State, coupled with the presumption that such laws are irrelevant to the needs of commerce, provide the basis of a case where those later prosecuted are left arguing that word of mouth is sufficient grounds upon which to acquire property.

Having operated as a timber merchant under State licence, the plaintiff in error corporation found themselves in need of a second licence extension following the recent expiration of their previous reissue, and so instead of applying through the proper channels, chose to rely upon verbal declarations of State officials as to their ability to continue removing trees from government land.

For clarity at the time of the offence, § 7 of the Laws of Minnesota 1895 stated that:

“If any person, firm or corporation, without a valid and existing permit therefor, cuts or employs, or induces any other person, firm or corporation to cut, or assist in cutting any timber of whatsoever description, on state lands, or removes or carries away or employs, or induces or assists any other person, firm or corporation to remove or carry away any such timber, or other property, he shall be liable to the state in treble damages, if such trespass is adjudged to have been willful; but double damages only in case the trespass is adjudged to have been casual and involuntary….”

And so when the plaintiff in error’s activities were discovered, the defendant in error brought charges in the District Court of St. Louis County on grounds of wilful trespass, thus claiming treble damages as prescribed.

Here the court found for the defendant in error and awarded damages of around $44,000, whereupon the plaintiff in error challenged the judgment in the Minnesota Supreme Court, who upheld the judgment, while holding that:

“The Legislature may declare that a willful trespass upon the lands of another shall constitute a criminal offense and fix the limits of punishment therefor, either by fine or imprisonment, or by compensating the injured party in damages to be recovered in a civil action, or by both, as its judgment may dictate.”

After which the plaintiff in error appealed on grounds that it had acted in good faith and reliance upon the statements made by those with apparent authority, while in response the court referred to State v. Shevlin-Carpenter Co., in which it had earlier held that:

“Where the defendant is a willful trespasser, the measure of damages is the full value of the property at the time and place of demand; but, if he is only an unintentional or mistaken trespasser,-that is, where he honestly and reasonably believed that he had a legal right to take the property,-then the measure of damages is the value of the property at the time and place and in the condition it was taken.”

Before partially reversing their previous judgment and remanding the matter back in keeping with a significant reduction in damages, thus the plaintiff in error challenged the decision under writ of error in the U.S. Supreme Court on grounds that the statue was violative of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when denying due process, and that as such, no damages were due.

Having reexamined the facts and constitutional argument, along with the right to protect State property through appropriate statute, the Court reasoned that at no point was the questioned legislation hidden from view, nor remotely difficult to understand, while also noting that contrastingly, at no point in history had trespass ever been considered a harmless act.

In closing the Court also noted that despite the harshness of its construction, the State had proscribed the offence within constitutional bounds, and were therefore sound in their enforcement, after which it upheld the previous judgment in full, while holding that:

“[I]nnocence cannot be asserted of an action which violates existing law, and ignorance of the law will not excuse.”

Toor Dal with Onion and Tomato

Dals

Dal with Tomatoes and Onions
‘Tomatoes on the Vine’ by Pat Koscienski

As with any good dal, the key is allowing the legumes to slowly tenderise but not overcook, and while this simple dish requires almost an hour to complete, the end result is more than worth the wait.

Ingredients (serves 4)
3 Tbsps Olive Oil
Medium Onion (finely chopped)
2 Whole Tomatoes (finely chopped)
210g Toor Dal
0.5 Tsp Ground Turmeric
1.5 Tsps Salt
0.5 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
0.5 Tsp Cumin Seeds
0.5 Tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
13 Dried Curry Leaves
1.2 Litres Water

How to Cook

1. Heat the oil in a 16cm non-stick saucepan, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chopped onion and curry leaves, and stir-fry everything until the onions are soft and lightly coloured.

2. Add the tomatoes, and continue gently stir-frying until the tomatoes are soft.

3. Add the water, turmeric, cayenne pepper, lentils, toatoes and salt to a 20cm non-stick saucepan, bring everything to the boil and then simmer partially covered for 50 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through and slightly mushy, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

4. Once the lentils are cooked, add the fried onion, tomatoes and spices, stir well, cover and leave the saucepan to stand for 2-3 minutes, before serving as required.

Comments
This dish is excellent with fresh chapatis, and a salad of your choice.

United States v. Falcone

US Criminal Law

United States v. Falcone
‘Oranges and Antique Moonshine Jugs’ by J.R. Secor

Criminal conspiracy, while simple enough in its description, is an offence often hard to quantify, and so on this occasion the actions of a lawful vendor proved hard to distinguish from those charged, which resulted in an outcome some may find contradictory to the rule of law.

Indicted in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, the respondent was later convicted as a party to facilitating prohibited still operations, whereupon he challenged the judgment in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on grounds that when selling sugar to his co-defendants, the respondent did so without conscious knowledge of its intended use.

Here the court noted that despite numerous States ruling on the principle, there remained a division as to when a defendant became a co-conspirator, and so in this instance the court elected to follow U.S. v. Peoni, in which it had held that:

“Nobody is liable in conspiracy except for the fair import of the concerted purpose or agreement as he understands it….”

Thereby reversing the trial court judgment, while holding that:

“Civilly, a man’s liability extends to any injuries which he should have apprehended to be likely to follow from his acts. If they do, he must excuse his conduct by showing that the interest which he was promoting outweighed the dangers which its protection imposed upon others….”

Whereupon the Government pressed their argument before the U.S. Supreme Court under writ of certiorari, who proceeded to examine the facts as presented.

For clarity, 18 U.S.C.A. § 550 (now §2) stated that:

“Whoever directly commits any act constituting an offense defined in any law of the United States, or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces, or procures its commission, is a principal….”

And so the Court held that in mind when referring to Pettibone v. U.S., in which it had held that:

“A conspiracy is sufficiently described as a combination of two or more persons, by concerted action, to accomplish a criminal or unlawful purpose, or some purpose not in itself criminal or unlawful, by criminal or unlawful means….”

Before noting that in U.S. v. Hirsch it had also held that:

“Although by the statute something more than the common-law definition of a conspiracy is necessary to complete the offence, to wit, some act done to effect the object of the conspiracy, it remains true that the combination of minds in an unlawful purpose is the foundation of the offence, and that a party who did not join in the previous conspiracy cannot, under this section, be convicted on the overt act.”

Thus the Court was left with no other option than to uphold the court of appeal judgment, while conclusively holding that:

“Those having no knowledge of the conspiracy are not conspirators…”

Work in progress…

English Law

English Law
‘Two Books’ by Andrew Sinclair

As with the forthcoming ‘United States Law’, I have decided to compile a cousin title to sit alongside it, hence the ‘English Law’ title is now earmarked for future publication at a time that suits both my schedule and continued passion for all things law.

While there is nothing more to report at this point, additional posts will appear when the time is right, and I’m looking forward to finally having a matching pair of definitive case law resources to compliment any scholar’s bookshelf when the moment eventually arrives…

Saturday 27 April 2019

The property law section is now complete.

United States Law: A Collection of Case Studies

Property Law
‘5 Houses’ by Eolaí gan Fhéile

As I move ever closer to the completion of this ‘epic’ case law collection, I am happy to say that I have now finished writing the property law section, and while it’s one of the shorter chapters, the cases studied have been nothing short of diverse, which made a refreshing change from the often narrow English property law cases I have become so accustomed to reading in the past, and during my time as an undergraduate.

All mumblings aside, below is the final list, and I can only hope that you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed studying them over the previous several weeks, while for me it’s now time to get started on the final ‘tort law’ discipline.

1. Brokaw v. Fairchild

2. Eldred v. Ashcroft

3. Haslem v. Lockwood

4. Hecht v. Superior Court

5. Illinois Cent. R. Co. v. State of Illinois

6. International News Service v. Associated Press

7. Johnson v. M’Intosh

8. Kelo v. City of New London, Conn.

9. Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp.

10. Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council

11. Moore v. Regents of University of California

12. Newman v. Sathyavaglswaran

13. O’Keefe v. Snyder

14. Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York

15. Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon

16. Pierson v. Post

17. Poletown Neighborhood Council v. City of Detroit

18. Pollard v. Hagan

19. Shelley v. Kraemer

20. Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation v. Lubell

21. Spur Industries Inc. v. Del E. Webb Development Co.

22. State v. Shack

23. U.S. v. Causby

24. Wetherbee v. Green

25. Willard v. First Church of Christ, Scientist

The Dal and Rice sections are now complete.

A Cookbook for Food Lovers

Dal and Rice
‘Bowl of Rice with Soy Sauce’ by Faith Te

I’m happy to say that the dal and rice sections have now been written up, and so it only leaves me to add the brief but essential ‘Sides’ section and then begins the proofing and editing phase of this wonderful and diverse cookbook now titled ‘A Cookbook for Food Lovers’.

At this point I aim to have the book ready for purchase in the next two to three weeks, while as things progress I will naturally update this part of the site, while I’m excited to share these great meals with as many people as possible, and although it’s simple enough concept, there have been many unexpected elements to its writing than I first anticipated, so it just goes to show how it’s the simple things that often end up more complex than might be imagined.

Anyway here are the recipes, and while there are only a few dal’s, they were included primarily because of their ability to stand out from what can sometimes prove bland and uninspired dishes, which loosely translates that they’re merely the best of a large number cooked and eaten (at least as far as my family’s taste buds were concerned), while the rice dishes are all equally fantastic.

Dals

(1) Brown Lentils with Shallots

(2) Five Spice Red Lentils

(3) Green Lentils with Kale

(4) Green Lentils with Mint and Coriander

(5) Lentil and Garlic Dal

(6) Mung Dal with Onions

(7) Red Lentils and Ginger

(8) Rich and Spicy Dal

(9) Tarka Dal

(10) Tomato and Red Lentil Dal

Rice

(1) Aromatic Indian Rice with Peas

(2) Basmati Pilaf with Carrot and Mint

(3) Basmati Pilaf with Dill and Cardamom

(4) Basmati Rice with Cauliflower and Peas

(5) Basmati Rice with Cinnamon

(6) Basmati Rice with Lentils

(7) Basmati Rice with Whole Garam Masalas

(8) Brown Rice with Lime

(9) Caribbean Rice and Peas

(10) Cashew Nut and Curry Leaf Rice

(11) Egg Fried Rice

(12) Egyptian Rice with Lentils

(13) Fenugreek Rice and Peas

(14) Ginger and Garlic Rice

(15) Hyderabadi Spiced Rice

(16) Indonesian Coconut Rice

(17) Lemon-Laced Rice

(18) Lemon Rice

(19) Mushroom Pilau

(20) Pea and Mushroom Pilau

(21) Perfect Basmati Rice

(22) Rice and Mung Dal

(23) Rice with Dill and Peas

(24) Rice with Peas

(25) Rice with Mushrooms and Mustard Seeds

(26) Saigon Chilli Rice

(27) Sri Lankan Rice with Fresh Coriander and Lemongrass

(28) Tanzanian Vegetable Rice

(29) Whole Spice Pilau

(30) Yellow Pilau Rice

(31) Yellow Basmati Rice with Sesame Seeds