Jaben v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: United States Post Office and Courthouse

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 381 US 214 (1965)
ARGUED: Mar 09, 1965
DECIDED: May 17, 1965

Facts of the case


Media for Jaben v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 09, 1965 in Jaben v. United States

Morris A. Shenker:

-- of limitations and so forth as the year 19 -- the evasion that is charged on count one for the year 1956.

However, the Government in order to attempt to toll the running of the statute had issued a complaint and filed a complaint before the United States Commissioner on April the 15th, 1963.

Second counts are not affected.

Morris A. Shenker:

The second and third counts Your Honor are not affected because they were dismissed.

The only count that we are concerned with here is the first count which is of 1956.

After the complaint -- the indictment was filed, appropriate motions were filed wherein we sought to have the count one dismissed.

The other motions that we filed today are the counts of course are not applicable and we sought count one dismissed on the ground that it was brought by the statute of limitations.

The contention was by the Government that the filing of the complaint tolled the statute of limitations under Section 6531.

After the motions were overruled they then filed a -- an amended motion when the Greenberg case were decided in the Ninth Circuit and then it was overruled also so the defendant stand enter the plea of nolo contendere to count one of the indictment.

On the plea of nolo contendere, the Court found the defendant guilty and assessed punishment of two years and to penitentially suspended 20 months after he would have served four months.

The defendant is now out of -- the appellant is now out on -- on bail.

The real question then that is before this Court is really there's only one question.

Whether the complaint was sufficient, in other words, whether the complaint was sufficient and whether it was probable cause from which the United States Commissioner could file that the complaint was sufficient in order to toll the statute.

Our position of course is that the complaint was not sufficient that it did not allege sufficient facts, that all it alleged were -- were many conclusions and that it was vague and definite and uncertain and alleged conclusions and all that -- and that it did not give any basis on which the United States Commissioner could make a finding of probable cause.

And for that reason we contend that the complaint was not valid and therefore the statute of limitations barred the prosecution for 1956.

Hugo L. Black:

Suppose the complaint have been definite.

Morris A. Shenker:

I beg your pardon?

Hugo L. Black:

If they had been definite.

Morris A. Shenker:

If the complaint had been definite and the -- and the -- would have been -- and there would have been sufficient facts alleged from which a Commissioner could have found probable cause then under all the adjudicated cases, we would have to hope -- we would have to concede that the -- that the -- that the statute that was -- that the action was not outlawed and that the prosecution could proceed.

Hugo L. Black:

Is the complaint there amendable?

Morris A. Shenker:

I -- it is not amendable and in either event that wasn't amended.

ANd that it is not amendable and the defendant was -- the appellant was not given a hearing which could become pertinent under question because under certain circumstances a complaint could be filed where a person is taken immediately before -- before a magistrate or the United States Commissioner and given a hearing and on those situations so there are all five that may well be that the complaint does not have to allege -- does not have to allege a probable cause because the Commissioner immediately makes the finding of probable cause.

But that was not on in this case.

Hugo L. Black:

(Inaudible) it seems to me your question is a little narrow than you stated in the beginning.

I understood you to say that the only question was whether the filing of the complaint --

Morris A. Shenker:


Hugo L. Black:

-- hold the limitations here.

Morris A. Shenker:


Whether this complaint was -- whether this complaint was sufficient to toll the statute, my question is not --

Hugo L. Black:

Do you think that is effective complaint?