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KIRBY V. UNITED STATES, 174 U. S. 47 (1899)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Kirby v. United States, 174 U.S. 47 (1899)

Kirby v. United States

No. 164

Argued January 20, 1899

Decided April 11, 1899

174 U.S. 47


On the trial of a person charged with feloniously receiving and having in his possession with intent to convert them to his own use postage stamps which had been feloniously stolen, taken, and carried away from a post office by three persons named, although the person so receiving them well knew that the same had been so feloniously taken, stolen and carried away, the judgment convicting the said three persons of stealing the said stamps was received in evidence against the accused under the provision in the Act of March 3, 1875, c. 144, § 2, that such judgment "shall be conclusive evidence against said receiver, that the property of the United States therein described has been embezzled, stolen or purloined." The accused having been convicted, and the case brought here by writ of error, held that that provision of the statute violates the clause of the Constitution of the United States declaring that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be confronted with the witnesses against him, and that the judgment must be reversed.

The contention by the defendant that the indictment is defective in that it does not allege ownership by the United States of the stolen articles of property at the time that they were alleged to have been feloniously received by him is without merit.

The objection that the indictment does not show from whom the accused received the stamps, nor state that the name of such person was unknown to the grand jurors, is not well taken.

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

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