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BLUMENTHAL V. UNITED STATES, 332 U. S. 539 (1947)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Blumenthal v. United States, 332 U.S. 539 (1947)

Blumenthal v. United States

No. 54

Argued October 23, 1947

Decided December 22, 1947*

332 U.S. 539

Syllabus

The four petitioners and another defendant were tried jointly and convicted for violating § 37 of the Criminal Code by conspiring to sell whiskey at prices above the ceiling set by the Office of Price Administration. Two of the defendants were the owner and sales manager, respectively, of a business holding a wholesale liquor license which was the ostensible owner of the whiskey; but they were proven, solely by their own admissions, which were received in evidence as to them alone, to have known that the concern was acting as intermediary for an undisclosed owner. The other chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 332 U. S. 540

three defendants were salesmen who made the sales and collected the proceeds, and they were not proven to have known that the business was not the actual owner.

Held:

1. Under the trial court's rulings on admissibility and instructions that the jury must determine the guilt or innocence of each defendant separately and must not take into consideration the admissions of the owner and sales manager in determining the guilt of the salesmen, the admissions were adequately excluded from consideration on the question of the salesmen's guilt. Pp. 332 U. S. 550-553, 332 U. S. 559-560.

2. With the admissions of the owner and sales manager thus excluded, the evidence summarized in the opinion was sufficient to show that the five defendants joined in a single conspiracy to sell the whiskey at over-ceiling prices in the guise of legal sales. Pp. 332 U. S. 542-545, 332 U. S. 553-556.

3. Although, in a hypertechnical aspect, the case might be regarded as showing two agreements, one among the owner of the business, the sales manager, and the undisclosed owner of the whiskey, and the other among the five defendants, the unique facts of this case revealed a single over-all conspiracy of which both agreements were essential and integral steps. Pp. 332 U. S. 553-559.

4. Kotteakos v. United States, 328 U. S. 750, distinguished. Pp. 332 U. S. 558-559.

5. The reception in evidence of the admissions made by the owner and the sales manager, under the trial court's careful instructions that the jury must determine the guilt or innocence of each defendant separately and must not take those admissions into consideration in determining the guilt of the salesmen, was not prejudicial error as to the latter. Pp. 332 U. S. 550-553, 332 U. S. 559-560.

6. A conspiracy to violate the Emergency Price Control Act, coupled with an overt act in furtherance thereof, is punishable under § 37 of the Criminal Code. P. 560, n 18.

158 F.2d 883 affirmed.

Petitioners were convicted under § 37 of the Criminal Code for conspiring to violate the Emergency Price Control Act. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, 158 F.2d 883, and denied rehearing, one judge dissenting. 158 F.2d 762. This Court granted certiorari. 331 U.S. 799. Affirmed, p. 332 U. S. 560. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 332 U. S. 541





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