Heikkinen v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Philadelphia Board of Public Education

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

CITATION: 355 US 273 (1958)
ARGUED: Dec 10, 1957
DECIDED: Jan 06, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for Heikkinen v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 10, 1957 in Heikkinen v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 89, Knut Einar Heikkinen versus United States of America.

Mr. Rein.

David Rein:

Court please, petitioner here was convicted on both counts of the two-count indictment charging a violation of Section 23 of the Internal Security Act of 1950.

The offenses alleged in the indictment provided under statute in which he was convicted were one, a willful failure to depart; and two, the second count, a willful failure to make a timely application for travel documents necessary to his departure from the country.

Both of these failures were alleged to have occurred during the six-month period following an order of deportation entered against the petitioner.

In other words under the statute, under the statute the crime is for an alien against whom an order of deportation as been entered, willfully fails to depart or willfully fails to apply for travel documents.

As I say the petitioner is convicted on both counts.

He was sentenced to a five-year of prison term on the first account, and imposition of sentence on the second count was differed until completion of the sentence on count one.

Petitioner is a 67-year old alien, a native of Finland.

He was ordered to be deported by the immigration service on the basis of a finding that he had been a member of the Communist Party from 1922 to 1930 and he was therefore deportable in accordance with the provisions of Section 22 of the Internal Security Act of 1950.

This order of deportation was affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals on April 9th 1952.

Some nine or ten days after the order of deportation was affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals, the petitioner was visited by a representative of the immigration service, Mr. Maki.

The purpose of this visit was to complete a service form, to prepare and complete a service form headed Passport Data for Alien Deportees.

This was the form regularly utilized by the service to obtain the personal history of any deportees in order to procure in accordance with its usual practice, the necessary travel documents for aliens.

Mr. Maki told the petitioner that the form would be used by the government for that purpose.

The petitioner fully cooperated with Mr. Maki.

He gave him all the necessary information and the form was duly forwarded to the Chicago office of the service for processing.

The record does not indicate what happened to that form subsequently.

The government introduced no evidence on the point.

Petitioner's efforts at the trial to discover what had occurred with that form was blocked by the Trial Court, the Trial Court saying it was completely irrelevant since the government owed the petitioner, in the Trial Court's language owed the petitioner no duty to assist him in affecting his departure.

On April 30th 1952, and this is about a week to ten days after the visit to the petitioner by Mr. Maki, the officer in charge of the Duluth service, Duluth office of the immigration service sent a form letter to petitioner.

It was on a mimeograph form and that letter is set out in full at page 8 to 9 of our brief beginning, “Dear sir, an order of which you have been notified directing your deportation on the following grounds has been entered.”

The crucial paragraph, we'll now deal with that letter, we have italicized, upright italics at page A and that paragraph reads as follows.

“Arrangements to affect your deportation pursuant to search order are being made and when completed, you will be notified when and where to present yourself for deportation.”

Earl Warren:

Mr. Rein, was there any such language in that form, that original form that you mentioned a few moments ago, was a clause like that given?

David Rein:

No, the original form merely contained, it was not a form letter sent to -- it was a blank --

Earl Warren:

A blank?

David Rein:

-- in which the petitioner -- all the information on the form was filled out by the petitioner, in which he gave his name, his birthplace, his residence, where he might have been a citizen and the purpose of that, sole purpose of that form was so that the service should have the necessary data to procure travel documents for him to be deported.

The petitioner had in the deportation proceeding indicated, as he is entitled to under the statute, as it is granted the right on the statute, the choice of country to which he should be deported as Finland, his native country and this form is to get the necessary information so that the immigration service can go to Finland or the proper authorities in Finland to get travel documents for him to go to Finland and he did not keep that form, that form was then taken by the representative of service.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Well does the service take a labeling or –