United States v. Cores

PETITIONER: United States
LOCATION: First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)

CITATION: 356 US 405 (1958)
ARGUED: Mar 13, 1958
DECIDED: May 19, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for United States v. Cores

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 13, 1958 in United States v. Cores

Earl Warren:

Number 455, United States of America versus Romualdo Cores.

Mr. Davis.

John F . Davis:

If this Court wish me to proceed.

Earl Warren:

Is there room for you to -- to give there Mr. Clifford?

John F . Davis:

Yes, sir.

Earl Warren:

Looks like they didn't move out before you.

Clark M. Clifford:

Thank you --

Earl Warren:

Now, you may proceed Mr. Davis.

John F . Davis:

Chief Justice, if the Court please.

This case comes before the Court on direct appeal from the dismissal of a criminal information, charging an alien seaman with remaining in the United States for a period in excess of the number of days permitted by his landing permit.

The District Court dismissed the information on the ground that the court lacked jurisdiction because the suit was commenced it thought in the long -- in the wrong district.

The appellee was an alien crewman from a ship which put in at Philadelphia.

He was given a landing permit which allowed him to remain in the United States for the period the ship was in Philadelphia of not more than 29 days.

Instead of sailing with the ship, he went on to New York, where he stayed for about a year and then he went to Connecticut, where he was residing at the time he was apprehending -- apprehended and this proceeding was commenced.

This proceeding was commenced in Connecticut, where he was residing when he was apprehended.

The District Judge held that if -- if this man had committed an offense, it was completed when the ship sails and that it was a single offense, which was done at that time and therefore, he was not in violation of the law while he was residing in Connecticut.

And for this reason, it dismissed the information.

The Government brings the case here under the Criminal Appeals Act.

Section 3237 of the Criminal Code provides that any offense committed in more than one district may be inquired off and prosecuted in any district in which the offense was committed.

And so the simple question here is whether the offense with which this appellee was charged was a continuing offense, which was in the process of being committed when he lived in Connecticut, whether it was a non-continuing offense which was completed when the ship sailed.

First, I think we should look at the definition of the offense as it contained -- as it is contained in the statute.

That is printed at page 33 of our brief.

It reads, “Any alien seaman -- any alien crewman who wilfully remains in the United States in excess of the number of days allowed in any conditional permit issued under subsection (a) of this Section, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

The important words from our point of view were, “any alien crewman who willfully remains in the United States in excess of the number of days allowed”.

On the facts of this particular case, there are three geographic localities where it is possible that someone might claim that there was venue.

First is Philadelphia, the city where the vessel put in and from which it sailed.

It would really make little sense to require trial to be held in Philadelphia because the seaman is not in fact required to sail from Philadelphia by the law.

As long as he -- the law reads, for the period permitted by the -- by the permit, as long as he leaves the United States within that period of time, whether he leaves from Philadelphia or somewhere else, he is not in violation of the law

.In fact, many landing permits contemplate that the seaman will leave from another port on another vessel and many of the landing permits therefore would have nothing to do with the original -- the original port of entry.

Now, the second locality, where venue might be asserted is the place where the crewman was physically at the time the permit expired.