Yancy v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Superior Court of Bibb County

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

CITATION: 362 US 389 (1960)
ARGUED: Dec 08, 1959 / Dec 09, 1959
DECIDED: Apr 18, 1960

Facts of the case


Media for Yancy v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 09, 1959 in Yancy v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 08, 1959 in Yancy v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 47, Ernest Dossy Yancy, Petitioner, versus United States of America.

Mr. Goldman, you may proceed.

Seymour B. Goldman:

Mr. Chief Justice, Honorable Members of the Court, may it please the Court.

This case comes before the Court, from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on a case that originated in the Eastern District of Michigan's Southern Division.

The petitioner was tried and convicted under two counts of an information, dated May 17, 1954, charging violation of the Narcotics Act, Section 2553 (a) Title 26, U.S. Code.

One count charged the appellant with the unlawful purchase for quantity of heroine on May 17, 1954, and the other charge, the unlawful sale of the same quantity heroine on the same day.

At the time this petition was filed, there were pending before this Court, two cases --

William O. Douglas:

What -- the same heroine as well as the same quantity?

Seymour B. Goldman:

Yes, Your Honor.

At the time the petition was filed, there were pending two cases before this Court that were somewhat similar, but which I shall distinguish in my argument.

A first case was the case of Gore versus United States on which petitioner placed great reliance and as incorporated in part the arguments that were expounded at length and considered fully by the Court as to legislative history, as to double jeopardy.

Although I have repeated these arguments in my brief and I have presented them for reconsideration by the Court, I am aware that the Court has answered the question of double jeopardy in the general propositions raised by me when the petition was filed and also the question of lenity in the application or interpretation of the Narcotics Act.

I distinguish the Gore case and the Harris case which came down after my brief was filed before the Government's brief was filed in the following particular which I think is significant.

This particular, I think, for instance very clearly within the language of the Blockburger case which the Circuit Court of Appeals and the District Court both felt of necessity ruled that the petitioner in this case could be sentenced to consecutive sentences rather than to concurrent sentences.

Can I ask you a preliminary question?

Is your client is in jail now?

Seymour B. Goldman:

Yes, Your Honor.

He is still in jail.

Seymour B. Goldman:


He's been in jail since commitment.

He will – I believe he has begun his second sentence at this point.

He's in the reformatory of (Inaudible)

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

You mean is this at the Senate or cited second sentences -- first sentence as five years of the --

Seymour B. Goldman:

Yes Your Honor.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

And when was the sentence?

Seymour B. Goldman:

May 17, 1954, I believe he was sentenced on a later date than that.

William O. Douglas:

Because up in August, I think, as you wonder, by here the first year.

Seymour B. Goldman:

The first five years yes, Your Honor.

I I understand that he would be eligible in approximately 15 months for a good time parole.

The point of distinction that I make is this that under each case that has come before this Court, there were separate statutes involved.