Bell v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Trailways Bus Terminal

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 366 US 393 (1961)
ARGUED: Jan 11, 1961
DECIDED: May 22, 1961

Facts of the case


Media for Bell v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 11, 1961 in Bell v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 92, Otho G. Bell, et al, Petitioner versus United States.

Mr. Leonard, oh where is he, is there no one on the other side?

Robert E. Hannon:

I am (Inaudible) moving party, Your Honors.

Earl Warren:

Yes, yes.

Mr. Hannon.

Robert E. Hannon:

Thank you Your Honor.

If the Court please.

This --

Earl Warren:

-- talking about it.

I beg your pardon.

Robert E. Hannon:

This involves the claim by three former Korean prisoners of war for pay which they claim as owed to them under two express federal statutes.

The first to these statutes is, the so-called Prisoner of War Pay Statute, the other is the Missing Persons Act.

I'd like, in commencing my argument, to read the Prisoner of War Act or Prisoner of War Pay Statute.

This statute is presently found in 37 U.S.C. 242.

However, at the time of filing the petition, it was in 10 U.S.C. 846.

This particular statute provides that, "Every noncommissioned officer and private of the Regular army and every officer, noncommissioned officer and private of the militia or volunteer corps in the service of the United States who was captured by the enemy, shall be entitled to receive during his captivity, notwithstanding the expiration of his term of enlistment the same pay, subsistence, and allowance to which he may be entitled while in the actual service of the United States.

This provision shall not be construed to entitle any prisoner of war of such militia corps to any pay or compensation after the date of his parole, except the traveling expenses allowed by law."

That is the statute in its entirety.

That statute, as I mentioned is currently subsisting legislation.

In the incident case we're speaking of three former prisoners of war by the facts admitted in the pleadings by the stipulation of facts submitted to the Court of Claims and by the findings of the lower court, the following have been conclusively established.

First of all, that each of the petitioners enlisted in the Army; that is the Regular Army in 1949.

Each of the prisoners was captured by enemy forces in Korea in 1950 and 1951.

Subsequent to their capture while they were still prisoners of war, they were, by the Army, promoted to corporal.

They were confined as prisoners of war from the date of their capture until August 23rd of 1953.

This is the admission from the defendant's answer.

It is our contention that they were confined as prisoners of war until their dishonorable discharges in January of 1954.

During this period of confinement, the plaintiffs misconducted themselves.

They were ultimately dishonorably discharged January of 1954.

In 1955, they returned to the United States.

They were arrested by the Army and held pending trials by General Court-martial for violation of Article 104 which is misconduct by a prisoner of war, and Article 105 which is aiding the enemy.