Carroll v. United States

PETITIONER: Leon F. Carroll, Daniel J. Stewart
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Location of alleged lottery

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 354 US 394 (1957)
ARGUED: Apr 04, 1957
DECIDED: Jun 24, 1957
GRANTED: Nov 13, 1956

Curtis P. Mitchell - for the petitioners
Harold H. Greene - for the respondent

Facts of the case

Police arrested Leon Carroll and Daniel Stewart on warrants for violating local lottery laws and conspiring to run a lottery. Each filed a pre-trial motion to suppress evidence found at the time of arrest. The district court granted the motions, citing a lack of probable cause. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed, holding that the order for suppression of evidence was appealable.


Was the order for suppression of evidence appealable?

Media for Carroll v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 04, 1957 in Carroll v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 571, Leon F. Carroll and Daniel J. Stewart, Petitioners, versus United States of America.

Mr. Mitchell you may proceed.

Curtis P. Mitchell:

Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Court.

Petitioner has come before this Court and complain that the Government does not have a right of appeal in the instance where the District Court has granted a motion to suppress evidence after indictment and pending trial.

In this case, if it please the Court, the petitioners has filed a motion to suppress evidence.

There is indication in the respondent's brief that there was also a motion to return property.

I might say to the Court that the two other defendants that is below, the motions having been denied as to them, the Government for some reason or other chose to dismiss.

There was no appeal taken from the granting of one of the motions in the lower court not respecting these petitioners here with respect to the return of property ceased from some premise.

So, as will be seen from a reading of the decision of the Court of Appeals, at page 31 of the record, that this case comes before this Court clearly on the question of the supression of evidence ceased from the person of the two petitioners here.

The Government, however, claims that under section 1291 of Title 28, they have a right of appeal.

Our contention is clear, we think, that there is no statutory right granted to the Government in the instance of the interlocutory order.

We claim that the order in this instance is interlocutory and we rely up on our proposition for the opinion rendered by this Honorable Court in the case of Cogen versus United States, the Cobbledick case and of the recent case in 1955 of Bodinger versus United States.

The Government also urges in their brief that a local statute which is Title 23, section 105 of the District of Columbia Code entitles them to proceed.

I respectfully submit to the Court on behalf of the petitioners that that grants them no relief because, first of all, Title 23, section 105 was passed upon by this Court in the case of United States versus Evans.

And I think that's to be found at 213 U.S.reports.

In addition, there is the section 17 -- Title 17, section 102 of the D.C.Code of which limits in the same fashion as section 1292 of Title 28 limits the right to appeal from interlocutory orders.

Moreover, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit did not rely upon the local statute, that is either Title 23 or Title 17 of the D.C.Code to justify their decision.

They squarely state that the decision of this case rests upon a prior decision of Cefaratti versus United States.

We sought a certiorari to this Court, but because of the matter of time, the petition not having been filed in time, it was denied.

Now, in that case, they state that they rely squarely upon the decisions of this Court in the Stack, Cohen and Swift cases.

I respectfully submit to the Court that the Stack case, the Cohen case and the Swift cases, all of them dealt with a civil matter and dealt with matters that were entirely independent of the issue in trial.

For instance, the Stack case as this Court will recall dealt with the matter of bond pending of person's appeal, a bail bond.

In the other case, it was a matter of the attachment dealing with the -- an admiralty manner.

And in the third, it was a matter of the posting of security of cause during the course of an appeal where there was a stock, a derivative action stockholder suit.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

On the interpretation of the Court of Appeals that has given its local statute here, the only question, that the issue on this case is whether it's a final order or not.

Curtis P. Mitchell:


William J. Brennan, Jr.:

That's the only thing (Inaudible)

Curtis P. Mitchell:

That's the only thing.

Now, the Government as we see it and we urge upon this Court is in a rather anomalous position.

In order to rely upon finality as was set forth that is the -- the several bases on which finality might rest as determined in the Stack or of the Swift cases.