STIRONE V. UNITED STATES, 361 U. S. 212 (1960)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Stirone v. United States, 361 U.S. 212 (1960)

Stirone v. United States

No. 35. Argued November 9-10, 1959

Decided January 11, 1960

361 U.S. 212


Petitioner was indicted and convicted in a Federal District Court for interfering with interstate commerce by extortion, in violation of the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951. The only interstate commerce mentioned in the indictment was the importation into Pennsylvania of sand to be used in building a steel plant there, but the trial judge permitted the introduction of evidence to show interference also with the exportation from Pennsylvania of steel to be manufactured in the new plant, and he instructed the jury that it could base a conviction upon interference with either the importation of sand or the exportation of steel.

Held: The conviction is reversed. Pp. 361 U. S. 213-219.

(a) Since the indictment did not charge interference with the exportation of steel from the State, it was prejudicial error to submit to the jury the question whether the extortion interfered with the exportation of steel. Pp. 361 U. S. 215-219.

(b) The variance between pleading and proof here involved was not insignificant, and may not be dismissed as harmless error, because it deprived petitioner of his substantial right to be tried for a felony only on charges presented in an indictment returned by a grand jury. Pp. 361 U. S. 217-218.

(c) Since the jury might have based the conviction on a finding of interference with the exportation of steel, the conviction must be reversed. P. 361 U. S. 219.

262 F.2d 571, reversed.

Page 361 U. S. 213

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