Lott v. United States

PETITIONER: Lott
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Mapp's Residence

DOCKET NO.: 238
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 367 US 421 (1961)
ARGUED: Apr 18, 1961
DECIDED: Jun 12, 1961

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Lott v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 18, 1961 (Part 2) in Lott v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 18, 1961 (Part 1) in Lott v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 238, H. A. Lott et al., Appellants, versus United States.

Mr. Wellen.

C. W. Wellen:

May it please the Court.

Now, this case here is here, as a result of certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

This is an income tax evasion case.

As a result of which, the petitioners were illegally sentenced to the penitentiary.

It involves the tax returns of the Farnsworth & Chambers Corporation, for that corporation's taxable years, 1951 through 1954.

The Farnsworth & Chambers Corporation was one of the largest construction companies in the United States.

It had several hundred employees and during the period in question, it did several $100 millions worth of business involving tens of thousands of separate transactions.

The corporation was owned and controlled by Richard A. Farnsworth and Dunbar N. Chambers.

Together, they controlled and owned 74% of the stock of the corporation and through a stockholders' agreement, controlled the balance of the stock which was owned by certain employees.

The petitioners in this case among them, owned 7% of the stock at the corporation, which was subject to the stockholders' agreement and therefore, under the control of Richard Farnsworth and Dunbar Chambers.

The petitioners in this case along with Richard Farnsworth were indicted in the spring of 1958 for aiding the corporation in evading its taxes.

Dunbar and Chambers, the other substantial stockholder, would undoubtedly have been indicted with this group, had it not been for the fact that he was killed in a hunting accident some months earlier.

After the indictment was returned, the petitioners each pleaded not guilty.

They then filed motions to dismiss the indictment on the grounds that it was insufficient and void.

They also filed motions for bills of particular and they filed a motion to sever their case from that of Mr. Farnsworth on the ground that it was alleged that Mr. Farnsworth had diverted assets and income from the corporation to himself, whereas the petitioners have never been charged with profiting from the alleged wrongdoing, nor have they've been charged with personal income tax evasion.

It's purely the affair of the corporation.

The Government supplied the petitioners with a token bill of particulars.

It was vague and meaningless.

And the petitioners properly requested a supplemental bill of particulars, which was denied.

Potter Stewart:

What do you mean a token bill of particulars?

That's a new --

C. W. Wellen:

It is a --

Potter Stewart:

(Voice Overlap)

C. W. Wellen:

-- in the record, Your Honor.

It -- it's watchfully --

Potter Stewart:

Is there anything in the suit --

C. W. Wellen:

-- reiterated the provisions of the indictment.

Potter Stewart:

That's just your characterization in developing --