Marchetti v. United States

PETITIONER: James Marchetti
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Lafayette Diner

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1967-1969)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 390 US 39 (1968)
ARGUED: Jan 17, 1967 / Jan 18, 1967
REARGUED: Oct 10, 1967
DECIDED: Jan 29, 1968
GRANTED: Jan 09, 1967

Francis X. Beytagh, Jr. - argued and reargued for the United States, pro hac vice, by special leave of Court
Jacob D. Zeldes - argued and reargued for the petitioner

Facts of the case

A Connecticut district court convicted James Marchetti of willfully failing to register and pay an occupational tax for accepting wagers. Gambling and accepting wagers was illegal in Connecticut. Marchetti unsuccessfully attempted to arrest the judgment. He argued that the requirements to register and pay the tax violated his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the conviction.


Did the federal wagering tax statutes violate the privilege against self-incrimination?

Media for Marchetti v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Reargument - October 10, 1967 in Marchetti v. United States
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 18, 1967 in Marchetti v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 17, 1967 in Marchetti v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 38, James Marchetti, Petitioner, versus United States.

Mr. Zeldes.

Jack S. Levin:

Mr. Levin sir.

I would like to move the admission for purposes of this case for Mr. Francis X. Beytagh of the Ohio Bar.

I'm satisfied that he posseses the necessary qualifications.

Earl Warren:

Motion is granted.

Mr. Zeldes.

Jacob D. Zeldes:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

Petitioner faces a one year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine for failure to purchase a $50 wagering tax stamp and for failure to register as one engaged in the business of gambling.

This case presents for reevaluation against Fifth Amendment objection, the constitutionality of the wagering tax laws which this Court upheld in United State versus Kahriger and in Lewis versus the United States.

Petitioner was convicted on two indictments in the District of Connecticut, one with the conspiracy indictment in which it was alleged that there was a conspiracy to fail to pay the $50 tax stamp.

The substantive indictment charged two counts, failure to pay the $50 tax stamp and failure to register.

At the trial level, the motion which raised the constitutional issues presented by this petition we're denied without opinion by Chief Judge Timbers of the District of Connecticut.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed resting their decisions squarely on this Court's decisions in Kahriger and Lewis.

Two weeks after, the Court of Appeals' decision in this case, this Court determines the Albertson versus Subversive Activities Control Board decision.

And on a petition for a rehearing in the court below, the Second Circuit noted that the Albertson case may have effect on the continued validity of Kahriger and Lewis but decided that it was best for this Court to determine what effect that might have.

The petition for a certiorari in this case was granted last Monday, and we can go yesterday and it's been set down for argument at this time, previously the issue had been raised in Costello versus United States, Number 41.

But because of the death of Costello, this case was substituted.

Potter Stewart:

Identical -- it's an identical issue isn't it?

Was the --

Jacob D. Zeldes:

Yes your honor.

My --

Potter Stewart:

-- joint.

These were codefendants, weren't they?

Jacob D. Zeldes:

These were codefendants in the same case.

My issue as originally filed in the petition for certiorari was somewhat different, but this Court's order reaffirmed the issue --

Potter Stewart:

Limit it.

Jacob D. Zeldes:

-- exactly as it was in Costello.

So that the issue was here squarely raising the constitutionality of the wagering tax laws as originally framed in the Costello grant of certiorari.

There are also pending, several other cases arising out of the same series of grades in Connecticut.