Affronti v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1955-1956)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

ARGUED: Nov 15, 1955
DECIDED: Dec 05, 1955

Facts of the case


Media for Affronti v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 15, 1955 in Affronti v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 71, Lonnie Affronti versus United States of America.

Mr. Murphy.

Harry F. Murphy:

May it please the Court.

We are here by writ of certiorari to the Eighth Circuit.

There is one question to be decided in this case, decided carefully.

Upon sentence to consecutive sentences or terms by a District Court.

The defending pattern started the service of a first sentence.

Thus, the District Court thereafter have jurisdiction to suspend the execution of the remaining sentences and place the defendant on probation.

William O. Douglas:

Consecutive sentences.

Harry F. Murphy:

Consecutive sentences.

In this case, the defendant, Affronti, was indicted in 1932 by a grand jury in the Western District of Missouri.

Charged in an indictment in ten counts with the illegal sale of narcotics.

I've mentioned the dates because they, if not of importance, will be of interest.

In 1944, the defendant was brought in to the District Court at Kansas City on a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum from the Missouri State Penitentiary where he was in the service of a sentence for second degree murder.

The District Judge on that -- at that time was Judge Caskie Collet.

Upon trial before a jury, the defendant was acquitted on the first of the ten counts, found guilty on the remaining nine and sentence was pronounced disclosed.

On all nine counts of the -- the indictment, he was sentenced to serve five years which was the maximum sentence under the statute that had been violated.Sentences two, three, four and five were pronounced to run consecutively.

The remaining five sentences, sentence was suspended and the defendant was to be placed upon probation for a period of 25 years.

The judgment further provided that the sentence on the second count would be to commence at the time he was released from authorities in Missouri State.

In 1949, after his release from the Missouri State Penitentiary, he was delivered to the United States Marshal for the service of the first five years of the second count of the indictment.

In 1953, four years later --

Was the aggregate prison sentence was 20 or 25 years?

Harry F. Murphy:

Twenty years.

Twenty years.

Harry F. Murphy:

Twenty years, four -- four counts of five years.

But the computation is a question whether he had yet started the service as -- as second of his third five years, but in 1943, at which time Judge Duncan had succeeded Judge Collet as the District Judge in that division, Judge Collet having been promoted to the Eighth Circuit bench.

A motion was filed on his behalf requesting that the remaining sentences yet to be served, either the third, fourth, and fifth counts or the fourth and fifth, that the execution of the sentence as yet to be served be suspended and be placed on probation.

Now, in -- two months prior to the filing of the motion on behalf of the petitioner in the District Court, Judge Reeves, another division of the Western District had ruled in the case of Phillips versus the United States for the facts as far as sentences are concerned, were identical with the facts in this case, and that Phillips, the defendant, was in the service of the first of three consecutive terms.

That the Court was without jurisdiction to entertain such a motion as the term had passed and the 60 days had -- had passed when he had -- after he had been first sentenced.

Pending the appeal of the Phillips case, Judge Duncan held in abeyance of ruling on the Affronti case.