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UNITED STATES V. NIXON, 235 U. S. 231 (1914)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Nixon, 235 U.S. 231 (1914)

United States v. Nixon

No. 427

Argued October 22, 1914

Decided November 30, 1914

235 U.S. 231


A receiver of a corporation is not a corporation, and not within the terms of the penal statute regulating corporations involved in this action. United States v. Harris, 177 U. S. 305.

Insofar as a receiver of a railroad company transports passengers and property he is a common carrier with rights and responsibilities as such, and while operating a railroad, he is subject to the penal provisions of a statute regulating the actions of common carriers in regard to transportation.

Prior to the amendment of March 4, 1913, extending the Quarantine Act of March 3, 1905, c. 1496, 33 Stat. 1264, prohibiting the transportation of cattle from a quarantined state to any other state, so as to make it apply to any common carrier, §§ 2 and 4 of that act did not apply to receivers of railroad companies.

Entries in the caption and on the back of the indictment are convenient means of reference, and in cases of doubt might be of assistance in determining what statute has been violated, Williams v. United States, 168 U. S. 32, but they form no part of the indictment itself.

The statute on which the indictment is founded must be determined as matter of law from the facts therein charged, and the facts as pleaded may bring the offense charged within an existing statute although the same is not mentioned in the indictment and another statute is referred to in the entries on the back and in the caption.

Under the Criminal Appeals Act of 1913, the statute on which as matter of law the indictment is based may be misconstrued not only by misinterpretation but by failing to apply its provisions to an indictment which sets out facts constituting a violation of its terms.

An indictment must set out the facts, and not the law.

The right of the government to an appeal under the Criminal Appeals Act of 1907 cannot be defeated by entering a general order of dismissal without referring to the statute involved or giving the reasons on which the decision was based. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 235 U. S. 232

An error on the part of the trial judge dismissing the indictment in construing the statute in it original form as not including the offense charged cannot be cured, nor can his decision be sustained, because the amendment by which the statute was made to include the offense had not been called to his attention.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of this Court under the Criminal Appeals Act of 1907 and the construction of the Cattle Quarantine Act of 1905 and its application to receivers of common carriers under the Amendment of 1913, are stated in the opinion.

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