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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Gilliland, 312 U.S. 86 (1941)

United States v. Gilliland

No. 245

Argued January 10, 1941

Decided February 3, 1941

312 U.S. 86


1. On an appeal under the Criminal Appeals Act, the Court is concerned with the construction of the criminal statute involved, and not with interpretation of the indictment as a pleading. P. 312 U. S. 89.

2. That part of § 35 of the criminal Code, as amended by the Act of June 18, 1934, which makes it a crime knowingly and willfully to cause to be made or used any false affidavit, etc., knowing the same to contain any fraudulent statement, "in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States" is not restricted to cases involving pecuniary or property loss to the United States. P. 312 U. S. 91.

3. The language and history of the amending Act show that it was intended to protect the authorized functions of governmental departments and agencies from the perversion which might result from the deceptive practices described. P. 312 U. S. 93.

4. Section 35 of the Criminal Code, as amended by the Act of June 18, 1934, embraces verified reports falsely and fraudulently stating the amount of petroleum produced from specified wells or received from other producers, which reports were filed with a Federal Tender Board in purported compliance with executive regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior, with the approval of the President, under the "Hot Oil" Act of February 22, 1935. P. 312 U. S. 95.

Page 312 U. S. 87

By the Act last mentioned, the transportation in interstate commerce from any "contraband" oil produced therein -- i.e., oil produced, transported, or withdrawn from storage in excess of the amounts permitted under the laws and regulations of the State -- was prohibited, and the President was authorized to prescribe enforcement regulations.

5. Section 35 of the Criminal Code, as so applied, is not invalid for indefiniteness. P. 312 U. S. 91.

6. The rule of ejusdem generis gives no warrant for narrowing alternative provisions which the legislature has adopted with the purpose of affording added safeguards. P. 312 U. S. 93.

7. The fact that the maximum penalty prescribed by § 35 of the Criminal Code was greater than that fixed by the Act of February 22, 1935, for violations of its provisions is of no significance in the construction and application of the former. P. 312 U. S. 95.

8. The Act of February 22, 1935, supra, did not operate to supplant § 35 of the Criminal Code in its application to affidavits, documents, etc., relative to the subject of excluding "hot oil" from interstate commerce. P. 312 U. S. 95.

35 F.Supp. 181 reversed.

Appeal under the Criminal Appeals Act from a judgment sustaining a demurrer and quashing ten counts of an indictment.

Page 312 U. S. 89

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