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GOOCH V. UNITED STATES, 297 U. S. 124 (1936)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Gooch v. United States, 297 U.S. 124 (1936)

Gooch v. United States

No. 559

Argued January 13, 14, 1936

Decided February 3, 1936

297 U.S. 124

Syllabus

1. An officer who is unlawfully seized and carried away to prevent the arrest of his captor is "held for . . . reward or otherwise" within the meaning of the Federal Kidnaping Act as amended, and transportation in interstate commerce of the officer while thus restrained constitutes a violation of the Act. Act of June 22, 1932, as amended by Act of May 18, 1934. P. 297 U. S. 125.

2. The amending Act added to the words "held for ransom or reward" the words "or otherwise, except, in the case of a minor, by a parent thereof." The contention that the words "ransom" and "reward" mean only pecuniary benefits, and that ejusdem generis similarly restricts the words "or otherwise" notwithstanding the excepting clause, cannot be sustained. P. 297 U. S. 126.

3. The rule of ejusdem generis is an aid in ascertaining the correct meaning of words when there is uncertainty. P. 297 U. S. 128.

4. Penal statutes are construed in that sense which best harmonizes with their context and purpose. P. 297 U. S. 128.

Certificate presenting two questions involving the construction of the Federal Kidnaping Act.


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