McElroy v. United States

RESPONDENT:United States
LOCATION:Furnace Woods School

DOCKET NO.: 80-6680
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 455 US 642 (1982)
ARGUED: Jan 12, 1982
DECIDED: Mar 23, 1982

Carter G. Phillips – on behalf of the Respondent
Thomas S. White – on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for McElroy v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – January 12, 1982 in McElroy v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – March 23, 1982 in McElroy v. United States

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in McElroy against the United States will be announced by Justice O’Connor.

Sandra Day O’Connor:

This case comes to us on writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The petitioner was convicted of two counts of transporting a forged security in interstate commerce in violation of 18 U.S. Code Section 2314.

The evidence at trial showed that several blank checks were stolen from a labor union in Ohio.

A number of months later in Pennsylvania, the petitioner paid for an automobile and then a boat and trailer with the stolen Union checks on which signatures had been forged.

The Government produced no evidence at trial to prove that the signatures have been forged on the checks before petitioner took them across the state line, from Ohio to Pennsylvania.

The trial court instructed the jury that an order to find petitioner guilty under Section 2314, it must find that he transported the checks in a forged condition in interstate commerce.

And that such transportation could take place entirely within the State of Pennsylvania if it was a continuation of the movement that began out-of-state.

The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed petitioner’s convictions.

Based on the language of the statute and specifically the use of the term interstate commerce as well as the legislative history of the Dyer Act on which Section 2314 was patterned we affirm the judgment of the Third Circuit.

As this Court has previously held, interstate commerce begins before state lines are crossed and ends only when movement has ceased in the destination state.

We hold that in Section 2314, Congress intended to proscribe the transportation of a forged security at any and all times during the course of its movement in interstate commerce and that the stream of interstate commerce may continue after a state border has been crossed.

Justice Stevens has filed a dissent.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Justice O’Connor.