Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fong Foo v. United States case brief

Fong Foo v. United States case brief summary
369 U.S. 141 (1962)

Petitioners challenged by certiorari a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which vacated a district court judgment acquitting them of conspiracy and concealing material facts in a matter within the jurisdiction of an agency of the United States, violations of 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 371 and 1001, and directed that the case be reassigned for trial.

Petitioners were brought to trial before a jury for conspiracy and concealing material facts in a matter within the jurisdiction of a United States agency. After seven days of testimony, the district judge directed the jury to return verdicts of acquittal as to all petitioners. The Government filed a petition for a writ of mandamus praying that the judgment of acquittal be vacated and the case reassigned for trial. The appellate court granted the petition, finding that the district court was without power to direct the judgment of acquittal.

  • The court granted certiorari and reversed. 
  • The appellate court violated the Fifth Amendment protection against double jeopardy when it set aside the acquittal and directed that petitioners be tried again for the same offense. 
  • Petitioners were tried under a valid indictment in a federal court that had jurisdiction over them and over the subject matter. 
  • The trial terminated with the entry of a final judgment of acquittal as to each petitioner. 
  • Even if the acquittal was based upon an egregiously erroneous foundation, the verdict was final and could not be reviewed without putting petitioners twice in jeopardy in violation of the Constitution.


The court reversed, finding that the verdict of acquittal could not be reviewed by the appellate court.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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