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CURTIS v. HIATT

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


November 20, 1947

CURTIS
v.
HIATT

The opinion of the court was delivered by: WATSON

This is a petition for the issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus by William W. Curtis. Petitioner is confined by virtue of a judgment and commitment entered after a plea of guilty to charges in an indictment charging armed robbery of the Lower Salem Commercial Bank. Lower Salem, Ohio, in violation of Title 12 U.S.C.A. § 588b(a, b). *fn1" The Petitioner was sentenced to imprisonment for a period of twenty-five years

A rule was issued upon the Warden, and the Petitioner was produced at the time set for hearing, at which time the Petitioner was present and was represented by Earl J. Melman, Esquire, of Harrisburg, who argued the motion, but who later conveyed his intention not to file a brief in support of the Petition.

 The Petitioner contends that the Federal Law relating to bank robbery is unconstitutional, it being without the power of Congress to enact such a law and apply it to State Banks organized and operating under the laws and statutes of the State under which they are chartered.

 This same contention was raised and disposed of in the similar case of Sanders v. Brady, D.C., 57 F.Supp. 87, with appropriate authorities therein cited, among them a quotation from the opinion in Westfall v. United States, 274 U.S. 256, 47 S. Ct. 629, 71 L. Ed. 1036, where the Court said: 'And if a State bank chooses to come into the System created by the United States, the United States may punish acts injurious to the System, although done to a corporation that the State also is entitled to protect. The general proposition is too plain to need more than statement.'

 Evidence was introduced establishing that the Lower Salem Commercial Bank, Salem, Ohio, was at the time of the robbery an insured bank under the provisions of Section 12B of the Federal Reserve Act, 12 U.S.C.A. § 264. This places the bank involved within the definition of those protected by the statute under which Petitioner was indicted. This is referred to because of the peculiar insistence of the Petitioner in filing Habeas Corpus proceedings upon every conceivable ground. The question, whether the bank was an insured bank, was raised collaterally, and it is the purpose of this Court to dispel any doubt which may have arisen in the mind of the Petitioner. Now, November 20, 1947, the rule to show cause why a Writ of Habeas Corpus should not be granted is discharged, and the prayer of the petition that a Writ of Habeas Corpus issue is denied.


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