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SCHAFFER V. UNITED STATES, 362 U. S. 511 (1960)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Schaffer v. United States, 362 U.S. 511 (1960)

Schaffer v. United States

No. 111

Argued March 24, 1960

Decided May 16, 1960*

362 U.S. 511


Under 18 U.S.C. § 2314, three persons named Stracuzza, who admittedly were the common center of a scheme to transport stolen goods, were indicted in a single indictment with the four petitioners for transporting in interstate commerce goods known to have been stolen and having a value in excess of $5,000. Count 1 charged two of the petitioners and the Stracuzzas with transporting stolen goods from New York to Pennsylvania; Count 2 charged another petitioner and the Stracuzzas with transporting stolen goods from New York to West Virginia; Count 3 charged another petitioner and the Stracuzzas with transporting stolen goods from New York to Massachusetts; and Count 4 charged all the defendants with a conspiracy to commit the substantive offenses. On motion of petitioners for acquittal at the close of the Government's case, the court dismissed the conspiracy count for failure of proof; but it found that no prejudice would result from a joint trial, and submitted the substantive counts to the jury under careful detailed instructions. Petitioners were convicted, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that no prejudice resulted from the joint trial.

Held: the judgments are affirmed. Pp. 362 U. S. 512-518.

(a) The joinder of all the defendants in the original indictment was proper under Rule 8(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure; even after dismissal of the conspiracy count, severance was not required under Rule 14 unless the joinder prejudiced the defendants; and, on the record, this Court cannot say that both the trial court and the Court of Appeals erred in finding that petitioners were not prejudiced by a joint trial. Pp. 362 U. S. 514-517.

(b) Though each individual shipment amounted to less than $5,000, the trial court did not err in permitting the series of related shipments to each petitioner to be aggregated in order to meet the statutory minimum of $5,000, since 18 U.S.C. § 2311 provides chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 362 U. S. 512

that "the aggregate value of all goods . . . referred to in a single indictment shall constitute the value thereof." Pp. 362 U. S. 517-518.

(c) The prosecutor's remarks in his summation to the jury were not prejudicial. P. 362 U. S. 518.

266 F.2d 435, affirmed.

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