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OPPER V. UNITED STATES, 348 U. S. 84 (1954)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Opper v. United States, 348 U.S. 84 (1954)

Opper v. United States

No. 49

Argued October 22, 1954

Decided December 6, 1954

348 U.S. 84

Syllabus

Petitioner was convicted of violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 281, on charges that he had conspired with and induced a federal employee to accept outside compensation for services in a matter before a federal agency in which the United States had an interest. The Government relied upon voluntary oral and written statements made by petitioner to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and upon other independent evidence. The statements made by petitioner to the FBI were exculpatory, and were not confessions, but were admissions of fact essential to prove the charge against petitioner and of an element of the crime.

Held:

1. An accused's extrajudicial admissions of essential facts or elements of the crime, made subsequent to the crime, are of the same character as confessions, and corroboration by independent evidence is required. Pp. 348 U. S. 89-92.

(a) The requirement of corroboration applies to exculpatory statements to the same extent that it applies to incriminatory statements. Pp. 348 U. S. 91-92.

2. The jury's finding in this case, from the admissions of essential facts together with all the other evidence, that the guilt of petitioner had been established beyond a reasonable doubt is supported by substantial evidence. Pp. 348 U. S. 92-94.

(a) The corroborative evidence need not be sufficient, independent of the statements, to establish the corpus delicti. P. 348 U. S. 93.

(b) It is sufficient if the corroboration supports the essential facts admitted sufficiently to justify a jury inference of their truth; but those facts plus the other evidence must be sufficient to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. P. 348 U. S. 93.

3. There is nothing in the record in this case requiring reversal because of any confusion or injustice arising from the trial of petitioner jointly with a codefendant. Pp. 348 U. S. 94-95.

211 F.2d 719, affirmed. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 348 U. S. 85





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