Schaffer v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Fleetwood Paving Co.

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 362 US 511 (1960)
ARGUED: Mar 24, 1960
DECIDED: May 16, 1960

Facts of the case


Media for Schaffer v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Part 2: Schaffer v. United States - March 24, 1960 (111) in Schaffer v. United States
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Karp & Marco v. United States - March 24, 1960 (122) in Schaffer v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Part 1: Schaffer v. United States - March 24, 1960 (111) in Schaffer v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 111, Max Schaffer and Norman Schaffer, Petitioner versus United States.

Mr. Kossman.

Jacob Kossman:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

The first question in here is whether there a conspiracy count has been dismissed by the trial judge on the ground that there was simply no evidence to have sustained in the first place whether it's proper to continue the joint trial and to submit to the jury the remaining substantive counts against each of the defendants charging each defendant who are the petitioners here with an independent and unrelated effects.

Felix Frankfurter:

I am -- I am sorry, I tried to call you but I couldn't.

Jacob Kossman:

I am sorry.

Felix Frankfurter:

Would you -- would you state that the case is -- are you -- did you state what the case about?

Jacob Kossman:

I stated what the first point was.

I'll restate it.

Felix Frankfurter:

Would you mind doing it again?

Jacob Kossman:

I'll just restate it.

The first question is this. Can a trial against three defendants who have nothing to do with each other, unrelated and their charge was three similar offenses of which there's no joint participation --

Felix Frankfurter:

You mean three substantive counts against three unrelated defendants?

Jacob Kossman:

That is correct, who only in the words of the Court of Appeals who were only brought to trial because there was a -- a conspiracy count which was so defective that when the government's case was over, the trial judge said there is no evidence.

Outwent the conspiracy count.

Felix Frankfurter:

But when the three independent substantive offenses were consolidated for trial, they were consolidated with a conspiracy charge against those three defendants as defendants under the conspiracy indictment, is that it?

Jacob Kossman:

That is correct.

There is also a conspiracy indictment in addition but for the sake of this case that was also thrown out of the Government's evidence and as the Court of Appeals said it's not relevant to the discussion because the same principle applies.

If the conspiracy count is on with the jury, the jury would acquit the conspiracy, would you be here pending that there's any improper joint or substance to the offenses?

Jacob Kossman:

I could not be here on that point.

We have another point involved.

I understand that and (Inaudible).

Jacob Kossman:

No, no.

I -- I might feel bad.

I might say that there really was no evidence that it was really worthless and -- but on the other hand, I have to go on the assumption that if the trial judge let a conspiracy count go to the jury that at least it was a prima facie case and the people may well of guilty of conspiracy, and just because the jury acquitted, I couldn't take advantage of that.

In -- in other words -- the mere -- once there's enough evidence to justify original joinder.

What happens in the jury box cannot be used as a basis to come before this Court and say, well, the jury said there wasn't conspiracy.

The test is from the beginning, is there -- but when it goes to the jury, is there a justification for having three separate people being tried?

You don't quarrel with the original joinder of the substantive offenses of the conspiracy now?

Jacob Kossman:

I -- I can't quarrel in the sense that --