Friday, November 15, 2013

Pinkerton v. United States case brief

Pinkerton v. United States case brief summary
328 U.S. 640 (1946)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Certiorari was granted to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which affirmed defendants' convictions and sentences for conspiracy to violate the Internal Revenue Code and for several substantive violations of the Code.

CASE FACTS
Defendants were convicted of conspiracy to violate the Internal Revenue Code and of several substantive violations of the Code. Each of the substantive offenses found was committed pursuant to the conspiracy. Therefore, defendants contended that the substantive counts became merged in the conspiracy count, and that only a single sentence not exceeding the maximum penalty provided by the conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C.S. § 88, could be imposed.

DISCUSSION

  • On certiorari review, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court, which sustained defendants' convictions and sentences. 
  • The Court held that the commission of the substantive offenses and the conspiracy were separate and distinct offenses and that it was proper to impose separate sentences.
  • Additionally, the Court held that although one of the defendants did not participate directly in the commission of the substantive offenses, the jury was properly instructed that each defendant could be found guilty of the substantive offenses if it was found that both defendants were parties to the unlawful conspiracy.

CONCLUSION
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment that sustained defendants' convictions and sentences for conspiracy to violate the Internal Revenue Code and of substantive violations of the code, where commission of a substantive offense and a conspiracy were separate and distinct offenses and where both defendants were properly found guilty of the substantive offenses because both were parties to the unlawful conspiracy.

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