Sunday, June 8, 2014

Blackmer v. United States case brief summary

Blackmer v. United States case brief summary (1932)
284 U.S. 421, 52 S.Ct. 252, 76 L.Ed. 375

Facts: Harry M. Blackmer was a US citizen, and resident of Paris, France.  Blackmer was found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia for refusing to appear as a witness for the United States in a criminal trial, after being subpoenaed, and was fined. Blackmer challenged the fine under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Holding/Reasoning: Court affirmed the conviction and fine. A proceeding to punish for contempt of court did not require petitioner's presence in order to satisfy due process, since there had been suitable notice and an opportunity to be heard on the contempt charges. Moreover, the power of Congress to provide,legislatively, for the service of subpoenas on American citizens outside the United States derived from the fact that the United States possessed the power inherent in sovereignty to require the return to this country of a citizen,resident elsewhere, whenever the public interest required it, and to penalize him in case of refusal.

Notes for Blackmer v. United States:

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