United States v. Laub

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Laub
LOCATION: Bellmawr, New Jersey Police Department

DOCKET NO.: 176
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1965-1967)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 385 US 475 (1967)
ARGUED: Nov 16, 1966
DECIDED: Jan 10, 1967

Facts of the case

Question

Media for United States v. Laub

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 16, 1966 in United States v. Laub

Earl Warren:

Do you proceed first --

Leonard B. Boudin:

No, I --

Earl Warren:

-- in this one Mr. Boudin?

Leonard B. Boudin:

Oh, my apologies Your Honor.

I'm sorry, I'm so custom to being the appellant here.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Lewin, if -- you may proceed.

Nathan Lewin:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please --

Earl Warren:

Could you answer -- could you respond to what Mr. McTernan just said?

Nathan Lewin:

So far as the stipulation is concern Mr. Chief Justice or the reference in the --

Earl Warren:

Well, you might --

Nathan Lewin:

-- in the -- both?

Earl Warren:

Oh, alright.

Take both of them.

Nathan Lewin:

Well, let --

Earl Warren:

Its clear there's a -- it wouldn't depart very far from this case, wouldn't it?

Nathan Lewin:

No, it wouldn't.

Well, the stipulation would, I'd been hoping to address myself to it and I just didn't have the time.

Earl Warren:

(Voice Overlap)

Nathan Lewin:

So far as the stipulation is concern, I think we plainly concede that the statement in the stipulation that Mr. Travis did not "bear" a valid United States passport specifically endorsed to travel to Cuba could not or just standing there alone sustain a conviction if this Court were to conclude that the only way that you could violate Section 1185 would be if you had no passport at all when you left the United States.

In other words, if Section -- if this Court would conclude that Section 1185 applied only to departures with either a revoked or expired or no passport whatever.

In other words, we think that the statement in this stipulation prevents her conviction on that theory so that if we are wrong on our major argument here this Court would hold that we're wrong then we don't urge that her conviction could be affirmed.

We do however urge that if the Court were so to hold we should be free to retry the petitioner on that ground and we think that that's plainly within Bryan versus United States.

(Inaudible)

Nathan Lewin:

Well, in other words, we think what that would be is that would be a failure, a really quite and accidental, I think failure of proof because of the construction of the -- because of the ambiguity of a stipulation as to a particular element of the offense which the Government did not believe it had to establish at the time this trial was conducted.

Now, we think that's what Bryan versus United States in 338 U.S. held when it construed 28 U.S.C. 2106 to authorize a remand for a retrial and that's in effect what this Court did as to a substantial number of the petitioners in the Yates case in 354 U.S. so that so far as the stipulation is concern as I say, we would -- we concede that her conviction could not just simply be affirmed if our major position is rejected.

On the other hand, we do think that we should be permitted to a retrial on this indictment which simply charges a violation of 1185 pretty much in its terms and to prove at such a retrial that she in fact had only a revoked passport and therefore if she did have only a revoked passport we submit she's no better off for having travelled to Cuba then if she had gone with the revoked passport to Paris or to London or any place else.

The statute on its face plainly we think, prohibits that if it prohibits any.

Earl Warren:

And do that mean that the Government because the -- of the ambiguity of a statute, I mean, interpretation of it thought that it didn't this one necessary to be proved and didn't undertake to do it that we should let the Government retry this person and supply that?

Nathan Lewin:

Yes, we think that exactly what this Court did as I say --

Earl Warren:

Well, if that -- there is that ambiguity so far as the Government is concerned don't you think that there might be like ambiguity so far as the responsibility of the defendant is concern?