United States v. Covington

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Covington
LOCATION: Stanley's Home

DOCKET NO.: 366
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1969)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 395 US 57 (1969)
ARGUED: Dec 12, 1968
DECIDED: May 19, 1969

Facts of the case

Question

Media for United States v. Covington

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 12, 1968 in United States v. Covington

Earl Warren:

Number 336, United States, appellant versus Henry Preston Covington.

Mr. Martin.

John S. Martin, Jr.:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

I would like to move the admission for the purposes of this case to Mr. Philip Lacovara, member of the staff the Office of the Solicitor General and member of the Bar of the State of New York.

Earl Warren:

You may.

Motion is granted.

Mr. Lacovara.

John S. Martin, Jr.:

Thank you.

Philip A. Lacovara:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

Before I begin the statement of the Covington case which is now being considered, I'd like to clear up a misapprehension which maybe left with the Court.

The tax imposed on the transfer of marihuana to a non-registrant is $100.00 per ounce or fraction thereof.

So, while it is possible according to Bureau of Narcotics statistics to obtain between 85 and 100 cigarettes from each ounce of marihuana.

The transfer of even of a cigarette which would have perhaps 100 of an ounce would still be subject to a $100.00 tax because any transfer of marihuana no matter how is like if to a non-registrant is subject to the $100.00 tax.

Earl Warren:

Is there anything in the record to indicate how much the Government did obtain in taxes from this law?

Philip A. Lacovara:

Yes, that is a matter of public record.

In the fiscal year 1967 that would be July 1, 1966 through January -- through June 30, 1967, $177,000.00 was collected under the Marihuana Tax Act.

For calendar year 1967, the figure is about $270,000.00.

Byron R. White:

Is that from the $3.00 and $1.00?

Philip A. Lacovara:

This is all revenue collected under the tax.

It includes the special occupational tax and the transfer taxes in amounts of $1.00 and $100.00.

Byron R. White:

Well, but does the Government depended to $100.00 has ever collected?

Philip A. Lacovara:

No, sir.

Absolutely not in our brief.

Byron R. White:

Do you mean at the time of transfer of marihuana illegally under state law that is that I can pay the $100.00 tax collected?

Philip A. Lacovara:

If you are not eligible to comply with state law, you cannot register with the Director of Internal Revenue under the Marihuana Tax Act.

It is our contention that if you're not eligible for federal registration you cannot prepay the tax or obtain federal order points.

Byron R. White:

But do you think that after conviction it governed with the civil action?

Philip A. Lacovara:

Not always after conviction but --

Byron R. White:

No, if and when, that's what I want to know.

Philip A. Lacovara:

-- after the transfer -- the illegal transfer has taken place, the Sanchez case before this Court.