U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Hirsch, 100 U.S. 33 (1879)
United States v. Hirsch
100 U.S. 33
1. A period of less than five years will not bar a prosecution for effecting an entry of goods at the custom house by a fraudulent invoice of them, and a false classification as to their quality and value.
2. A conspiracy to defraud the United States of the duties on certain imported goods is not "a crime arising under the revenue laws," and the persons charged therewith cannot be prosecuted therefor unless they be indicted within three years next after the alleged committing thereof.
An indictment, consisting of four counts, was found Feb. 3, 1877, against Hiram Hirsch and others, who pleaded that the offenses therein charged had been committed more than three years before the finding of the indictment.
The first count was drawn under sec. 5440, Rev. State., and charges the defendant with a conspiracy, entered into on the first day of September, 1873, to defraud the United States out of the duties on certain described merchandise to be thereafterwards imported into the United States.
The second count charges a conspiracy, entered into on the thirteenth day of September, 1873, to defraud the United States out of duties on certain merchandise theretofore imported into the United States. The remaining counts were drawn under sec. 5445, and charge that the defendants knowingly effected an entry of the goods at the custom house by a fraudulent invoice of them and by a false classification as to their quality and value.
The United States demurred to the plea, and the judges of the circuit court were divided in opinion upon the question
"whether the trial is barred by sec. 1044, the indictment having been found more than three years after the commission of the alleged offense, or whether it is within the provisions of sec. 1046, as having been found within five years next after the commission of the alleged offense."
It is enacted by sec. 1044 that
"No person shall be prosecuted for any offense, not capital, except as provided in sec.
1046, unless the indictment is found within three years next after such offense shall have been committed,"
and by sec. 1046, that
"No person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any crime arising under the revenue laws or the slave trade laws of the United States unless the indictment is found or the information is instituted within five years next after the committing of such crime."