Upon the question of our jurisdiction, we note, first, that although the warrant was issued by a Magistrate of the City of Philadelphia, nevertheless the application for the warrant was solicited from the Magistrate alike by defendants Hurley and Howe (admittedly the agents of the Dies Committee, which is admittedly a Federal Investigating Committee), and that the application was actually signed and sworn to by Hurley.
We note, further, that though the warrant was directed for execution to "any police officer of the City and County of Philadelphia", nevertheless it was delivered by the Magistrate to Hurley, who, with Howe and Lieutenant Granitz and a squad of thirty City Police, proceeded to 250 South Broad Street and executed the warrant at that place.
We note, further, that though under the terms of the warrant, return of the warrant and of the seized property was to be made to the Magistrate forthwith, or at any rate no later than within ten days, nevertheless Hurley and Howe took immediate possession of the seized property, and transported it to Washington, and there delivered it to the Dies Committee, who, having first made such use of the seized property as it saw fit to make, returned it into the custody of Magistrate Dogole.
Under the narrated facts, we are of the opinion that the search and seizure was in reality a Federal undertaking, taken under the chance that possibly something would be disclosed of official Federal interest. The fact that the undertaking was the joint undertaking of the local and Federal officers, is immaterial. The effect is the same as though the Federal agents had engaged in the undertaking as one exclusively their own. Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28, 32, 47 S. Ct. 248, 71 L. Ed. 520.
"Where a search has been participated in or instigated by Federal officers, under such circumstances as to stamp it as a joint enterprise * * * the validity of the search and seizure must be tested by the Federal Law". Cornelius on Search and Seizure, Sec. 17, p. 62.
Was the search and seizure invalid? That is to say, was the supporting warrant itself supported by sworn facts competent to be submitted to a jury, as reasonably affording probable cause for believing that seditious or subversive matter was to be found at the headquarters of the Communist Party at 250 South Broad Street? This is the standard by which the validity of the search and seizure is to be tested. Grau v. United States, 287 U.S. 124-128, 53 S. Ct. 38, 77 L. Ed. 212.
Tested by this standard, we note, first, that the affidavit of defendant Hurley upon which the warrant issued sets forth only Hurley's belief, "upon information received", that certain persons, among them Carl Reeve, were in possession of and were concealing seditious records and literature, in violation of the Pennsylvania Act of Assembly, upon the premises 250 South Broad Street. Nothing more. Nevertheless Magistrate Dogole issued the warrant which (as we have said), though directed to "any police officer of the City and County of Philadelphia", the Magistrate delivered over to Mr. Hurley. Magistrate Dogole admits he made no inquiry at all as to the source of Mr. Hurley's information. Lieutenant Granitz was not present at the time of the delivery, and the Magistrate testified that he did not know how Lieutenant Granitz got possession of the warrant, if indeed he got possession of it at all. It is, however, admitted that Hurley and Howe, accompanied by Lieutenant Granitz and a squad of police, approximately thirty in number, proceeded to 250 South Broad Street, and ransacked and cleaned out practically the entire contents of the headquarters of the Communist Party, not even omitting matters relating to housing construction, -- the personal property of Reeve, the Complainant here, who is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Philadelphia Housing Authority under appointment of the President of that Authority, the Hon. Frank Smith, nor omitting even the Communist Party's nomination papers for election to the State Legislature (nomination papers the last day for filing which at Harrisburg was the next day following their seizure and transportation to Washington, with the result that unless some other means might be found it would be too late to do so), nor omitting even a letter file containing the names and addresses of furniture dealers, the property of one Esther Segal who, it is our understanding, was not an employee of the Communist Party.
We are not, however, greatly concerned with the actual property seized and transported to Washington. Whether it was seditious or not seditious has no bearing on the legality of the search and seizure. An unlawful search and seizure would not be made lawful no matter what evidence of an incriminating nature was found among the archives. The authenticity and genesis of any alleged seditious literature may now be difficult to legally prove in view of the circumstances surrounding their seizure and transport, and handling by so many persons involved. However, should this matter be material and relevant it may be legally inquired into later. We go to the affidavit of Mr. Hurley upon which the warrant issued, and find (as we have said) that it is stated only that the affiant "upon information received believed that books, records, writings, publications, printing, cartoons, or utterances, documents or writings", of a seditious or subversive nature were on the premises to be searched. Such an affidavit was plainly inadequate. The belief that the statements in an affidavit to a warrant are true, is insufficient. Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28, 47 S. Ct. 248, 71 L. Ed. 520. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, provides that: "* * * and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized".
It was also inadequate as tested by the Act of Congress of June 15, 1917, c. 30, title 11, § 3 (18 U.S.C.A. § 613), which provides that: "A search warrant can not be issued but upon probable cause, supported by affidavit, naming or describing the person and particularly describing the property and the place to be searched."
The affidavit being defective, it is unnecessary to consider the alleged defect in the warrant, for if the affidavit was defective, the warrant itself was without lawful foundation. Grau v. United States, 287 U.S. 124, 127, 53 S. Ct. 38, 77 L. Ed. 212. Being so, it is unnecessary to consider whether the warrant was good under the State law, since in no event could such warrant constitute the basis for the search and seizure here which was so palpably a Federal search and seizure. Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28, 29, 47 S. Ct. 248, 71 L. Ed. 520. It thus appears that the search and seizure was made without probable cause, and without any personal knowledge of the searching officers. As has been said by a high authority, no good reason exists why the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure should not stand upon a parity today with freedom of religion, of speech, of the press and of assembly, as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, inasmuch as all of these rights are of equal importance to the individual ( Hague v. Committee, etc., 3 Cir., 101 F.2d 774, 787, per Biggs, C.J.). Protected from abridgment by the Federal Government by the First and Fourth Amendment, they are protected from abridgment by the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. 101 F.2d at page 788, citing Colgate v. Harvey, 296 U.S. 404, 428, 56 S. Ct. 252, 80 L. Ed. 299, 102 A.L.R. 54. The suit in question was brought by the Complainant to secure the protection and enforcement of civil rights guaranteed to him by our fundamental laws. The District Court has jurisdiction of the suit under Section 24(14) of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C.A. § 41(14).
Defendant claims that the complainant has no redress because he was acting as the officer of a corporation, and that a corporation is not within the protection of the Constitution. In the early days of our national life, when business was largely individual in character, or conducted by small groups of associates the artificial entity of the corporation was looked upon as being ouside the guarantees of the Constitution. But as we progressed to great corporate activities this view changed, and many years ago the Supreme Court of the United States declared that corporations were persons within the meaning of certain provisions of the Constitution. This interpretation was but a recognition by the highest Tribunal of the fact that man's rights, possessed as an individual, were not lost by reason of his associating himself with others in a corporate activity. It requires only casual reflection to appreciate how important this interpretation has been to our national life. Men have been encouraged to combine their fortunes, their brains, and their energies, knowing full well that they forfeited no rights possessed by them in their individual capacity. Corporations have been declared persons within the meaning of the Constitution in certain respects. The mere fact that Mr. Reeve, the complainant, happened to be a member of an unincorporated society, and its duly accredited officer, in the lawful possession, custody and control of its property and paraphernalia does not remove him from the protecting fold of the Constitution. If he became the victim of a raid or of process prohibited by the Constitution relief should be given by a Federal Court.
Counsel for defendants further allege that the complainant, as an individual, has no legal personal title to the papers and records seized due to the fact that he was also the officer of the corporation. Is this claim warranted within the real meaning of the applicable constitutional provision? Are the "effects" merely physical objects or do they include something more intangible, and possibly far more real and substantial. Is the individual "secure" in his person, if he is deprived of or denied the right to function according to the rational activities of the office or station which he lawfully occupies. Man's life and his very being consists in his activities; he functions as Man in the realm of thought; in this he differs from the brute creation. Surely a civilization as wonderful as ours cannot limit or circumscribe the Constitutional guarantees of personal security within the limits claimed by the defendants. Furthermore, dispassionate reasoning must concede that the duly constituted corporate officer, having books, papers, records, money, and other property committed to his care for the proper use of which, within the scope of corporate powers he is personally responsible, has a "right" therein and thereto. We therefore cannot accept the claim of the defendants that they are free from the Constitutional command not to violate those rights. Let the seal of judicial approval be placed upon such Constitutional violations and liberty of the person, and liberty of religious and political thought and action will have vanished from our land.
Humanity can be no freer than its liberty to think. The search for good and the search for truth must be free for the mind of man to explore in all realms, Spiritual and physical, each man according to his light. Man's relation to his God, to his fellow-man, and to the State must ever be the subject of search and investigation. This is the liberty that the Constitution of the United States guarantees to its people. Any limitations of that liberty must be placed by the Sovereign will of the people, lawfully expressed and self-imposed, and not by the fiat of any branch of the Government, whether it be Executive, Legislative, or Judicial.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Our Government, through its proper agencies, has the power, the responsibility, and the duty of exercising such vigilance. When such vigilance is exercised within the limitations of the Constitutional safeguards all of our people will be found in sympathy.
The Motions to Dismiss the Complaint in the above-entitled proceedings are denied.
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