Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.


March 29, 1943


The opinion of the court was delivered by: KALODNER

The defendant was indicted for alleged violation of the White Slave Act of 1910 (the Mann Act) 18 U.S.C.A. §§ 398, 399.

At the conclusion of the government's proofs, the defendant demurred to the evidence and the United States Attorney joined in the demurrer. According, I discharged the jury and must now adjudge the defendant either guilty or not guilty.

 The substance of the indictment is that the defendant knowingly, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously caused Elizabeth George to be transported over the lines of the Pennsylvania Railroad from Atlantic City, in the State of New Jersey, to Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania, for the purpose of prostitution and debauchery; with the intent and purpose to induce and compel her to become a prostitute and practice prostitution, and that he did thus persuade, induce and entice her.

 The testimony, uncontradicted because no defense was offered, established that the defendant and the woman met in Philadelphia and that, after some preliminaries, he took her to the Clinton Hotel in Philadelphia, where he registered with her as man and wife under the name of De Marco on July 6, 1942. There the woman worked for defendant as a prostitute. On July 19, 1942, the couple undertook an automobile journey to Atlantic City for a day's outing. There they were arrested and their automobile was held by the authorities. They took the train back to Philadelphia on July 20, 1942, and within about fifteen minutes from the time the return journey on the train commenced, and while the train was still, of course, in the State of New Jersey, defendant informed the woman that she would have to resume the business of prostitution in Philadelphia to enable him to pay the $500 fine that had been imposed in Atlantic City. Upon their arrival in Philadelphia the woman worked for the defendant as a prostitute and turned over her earnings to him.

 The government contends that these proofs establish violation of the Act. In this contention the government relies exclusively on the journey from Atlantic City to Philadelphia, and not on the prior journey from Philadelphia to Atlantic City.

 The defendant, in contending that the evidence does not establish an offense, argues that the picture presented is that of an act committed after an interstate journey commenced, and that an act committed at such a time is not within the purview of the statute. I must reject that contention.

 Under the defendant's theory, the statement made by him to the woman about fifteen minutes after the train journey to Philadelphia commenced is the criminal act upon which a verdict of guilty must be predicated; and he urges that any such verdict must be predicated upon a criminal act committed prior to the commencement of the journey. For this proposition he cites United States v. Grace, 2 Cir., 73 F.2d 294, which holds that one who induces a female to go from one State to another, with any other purpose except an immoral intent completed at the outset of the journey, is not guilty of a violation of the Mann Act.

 As I have indicated, however, the words spoken by the defendant to the woman while on the train constitute only one phase of the evidence from which the violation may be inferred.

 In this case the woman had worked as a prostitute for the defendant while in Philadelphia at a time prior to the Atlantic City journey, and had turned over the money she earned from her debauchery to him. While the couple were in Atlantic City, the $500 fine was imposed on the defendant. He then brought her back to Pennsylvania on the train, paying for both her transportation and his, and when they returned to Philadelphia she resumed the practice of prostitution at the Clinton Hotel and again turned the money over to him.

 These facts, conjoined with the words spoken by the defendant to the woman on the train journey, certainly present a picture from which a jury could properly infer that the defendant transported the woman over State boundaries in order that she might again work for him as a prostitute; but the fact that the defendant specifically expressed his intention thus to have her work for him, while both were on the train, is certainly not conclusive that the intent was not formulated until after the journey had commenced. Spoken words may evidence an intent formulated either prior or subsequent to the time that they are uttered, as well as one formulated at the precise time they are uttered. It is for a jury to decide the time when the intent was formed, both from the spoken words and any other relevant, material and competent factors in the evidence.

 Our own Circuit Court of Appeal's has ruled upon this precise point. In United States v. Reginelli, 3 Cir., 133 F.2d 595, 598, the court said: "True enough, the interstate transportation which the Mann Act makes penal is only such as is undertaken or initiated for the purpose of effecting, aiding, or facilitating prostitution, debauchery, or other immoral practices. Fisher v. United States, 4 Cir., 266 F. 667, 670. But the purpose for which the interstate transportation is enlisted may be inferred from the conduct of the parties within a reasonable time before and after the transportation. See Neff v. United States, 8 Cir., 105 F.2d 688, 691. In Grayson v. United States, 8 Cir., 107 F.2d 367, 370, -- a prosecution under the Mann Act, -- the Court of Appeals had no doubt that 'inferences as to intent may be gathered from subsequent acts and conduct.'"

 A case strongly analogous to the instant case upon the facts is Corbett et al. v. United States, 9 Cir., 299 F. 27, at pages 28, 29, from which I quote extensively:

 "Error is assigned upon the refusal of the court to instruct the jury to the effect that, if defendants were living in Boise and Nora Bishop was transported to Spokane and returned to Boise, but both defendants intended, when she left Boise, that she should return to that place, and that Corbett furnished her the money for her transportation, defendants should be acquitted, although it might be found that, prior to and at the time of Mrs. Bishop's departure for Spokane and of her return to Boise, they had had illicit relations. Error is also assigned because of the refusal to instruct that, it it were found that Corbett at the time the woman left Boise arranged with her to furnish the money, and did furnish the funds for her transportation to Spokane and return to Boise, acquittal should be had, even if the jury found that, prior to and at the time of her going from Boise ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.