SANSONE V. UNITED STATES, 380 U. S. 343 (1965)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Sansone v. United States, 380 U.S. 343 (1965)

Sansone v. United States

No. 365

Argued March 10, 1965

Decided March 29, 1965

380 U.S. 343


Petitioner was indicted for willfully attempting to evade federal income taxes in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201. At the end of his trial, he requested that the jury be instructed that it could acquit him of that offense, a felony, but could convict him of the lesser included misdemeanors of willfully filing a fraudulent or false return in violation of § 7207, or willfully failing to pay his taxes when due in violation of § 7203. The request was denied, and petitioner was found guilty. The Court of Appeals upheld the conviction.


1. Since § 7207 applies to income tax violations, as §§ 7201 and 7203 clearly do, with obvious overlapping among them, the lesser included offense doctrine would be applicable in an appropriate case. Pp. 380 U. S. 347-349.

2. A lesser included offense instruction is proper only where the charged greater offense requires that the jury find a disputed factual element which is not a requisite for conviction of the lesser included offense. Berra v. United States, 351 U. S. 131, followed. Pp. 380 U. S. 349-350.

3. There were here no disputed issues of fact which would justify instructions to the jury that it could find that petitioner had committed all the elements of §§ 7203 and 7207 without having violated § 7201, and so petitioner was not entitled to lesser included offense instructions. Pp. 380 U. S. 350-354.

334 F.2d 287 affirmed.

Page 380 U. S. 344

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