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United States v. Pincourt.

decided.: April 9, 1948.

UNITED STATES
v.
PINCOURT.



Author: Mclaughlin

Before MARIS, McLAUGHLIN and KALODNER, Circuit Judge.

McLAUGHLIN, Circuit Judge.

This appellant was indicted and tried twice apparently on the assumption that the original price regulation which is alleged to have been violated and which applied to "sales" of the particular distilled spirits involved also included "deliveries" thereof.*fn1 It was after the appellant's conviction as a result of the second trial and after this appeal had been taken that the situation was discovered. It is urged, among other grounds as reversible error.

Appellant, with six others, was indicted for conspiracy to sell and deliver bottled domestic distilled spirits in excess of the maximum prices established by Maximum Price Regulation 445, Article III as amended, under the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942 as amended, 56 Stat. 23 et seq., 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix, ยง 901 et seq. Appellant is admittedly a processor of distilled spirits. On January 6, 1944 Amendment 9 to Maximum Price Regulation 445 became effective. The purposes of Article III thereof, as stated in Section 3.1, were "(a) Generally. (1) Article III establishes maximum prices for sales of packaged domestic distilled spirits by processors to any purchaser." Section 3.7 as it was in its original form on January 6, 1944 read, "Deates on which this article shall apply. This article shall apply to all sales or offers to sell of items of packaged domestic distilled spirits by a processor on and after January 6, 1944."

The sale of the liquor was concluded in December 1943 at which time the purchase price was paid. The jury was instructed as a matter of law by the trial judge that prior to January 6, 1944 "there could not have been either a violation of the Emergency Price Control Act or a violation of the Criminal Code; there could not have been a conspiracy to violate a law which, in fact, had no existence." This instruction was given "because prior to January 6, 1944 there was no regulation fixing the ceiling price for domestic distilled spirits of the type in question in this state." The court then told the jury that the burden was upon the government to show that the conspiracy "continued to a date subsequent to January 6, 1944 and that overt acts in furtherance of it were committed subsequent to January 6, 1944." The only proof of overt acts after the effective date of the regulation was the delivery of the liquor in February of 1944 with the court instructing counsel for the appellant that, in his argument for direction of verdict, "You can assume in your argument that the only fact is delivery in February."*fn2

The court in denying the defense motion for direction of verdict said: "Here, not only is there not proof of any abandonment of the conspiracy by the persons who entered into it in October and November, but the proof is that despite the law, despite the regulation, and in spite of the prohibition against not only sale but delivery, - and the cases incidentally distinguish the use of the two terms as used in the statute - the delivery was likerwise in violation of the regulation, because if the proof is to be believed, and we must believe it for the purposes of this motion, the delivery was likewise at a price in excess of that fixed by the pertinent regulation."

During the period when the liquor was delivered Article III remained unchanged and applied through Section 3.7 to all sales or offers to sell of packaged domestic distilled spirits. On August 1, 1944 the word "deliveries" was expressly excluded by 3.7. Amendment 17 to Section 3.7 issued and effective that date provided: "17. Section 3.7 is amended by adding the clause 'And provided further, That an amendment to this article shall not apply to any deliveries made prior to the effective date of such amendment.'"

Finally by Amendment 23 issued March 15, 1945 effective March 20, 1945 (10 F.R. 1879) Section 3.7 was made applicable to "deliveries." That amendment reads:

"27. Section 3.7 of Article III is revoked and a new Section 3.7 is substituted therefor to read as follows:

"Section 3.7. Dates on which this article shall apply. This article shall apply to all sales, offers to sell and deliveries:

"(a) On and after January 6, 1944, with respect to processors' sales of packaged distilled spirits."*fn3

The government conceding the absence of "deliveries" from Section 3.7 asserts that by other provisions of the price regulations the word "sell" used in the indictment includes "deliver." It refers to Section 7.12(f) of Maximum Price Regulation 445 (8 F.R. 11, 161) which states: "(f) Unless the context otherwise requires, definitions contained in Sec. 1499.20(c)(h)(i)(j)(k)(m)(o)(p)(r) and (s) of the General Maximum Price Regulation shall apply to the same or corresponding terms used herein, and the definitions contained in Section 302 of the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942 shall apply to other terms used herein."

It then refers to Section 1499.20(r) (7 F.R. 3156) which defined "sell", saying, "'Sell' includes sell, supply, dispose, barter, exchange, lease, transfer and deliver, and contracts and offers to do any of the foregoing. * * *" It also stresses that according to Section 302(a) of the Emergency Price Control Act "The term 'sale' includes sales, dispositions, exchanges, leases, and other transfers, and contracts and offers to do any of the foregoing." From this language it is urged that "even if those deliveries were not overt acts in effecting a conspiracy" they "were illegal as sales."

This argument by the government must fall. The word "sell" as contained in the original Section 3.7 was not synonymous with "deliver", because the context clearly "otherwise requires" as provided in the exception contained in Section 7.12(f). This is shown by the development of Section 3.7 and by comparison between it and related sections. For example, Section 1.11 of Article I which has to do with imported distilled spirits and wine, states that the Article "shall apply to all sales or offers to sell * * *." This section was amended by adding Amendment 17 on August 1, 1944, just as Amendment 17 was added to Section 3.7. Section 2.7 specifically says that Article II "shall apply to all sales, and offers to sell and deliveries of the commodities specified therein made on and after October 7, 1943". Other sections in M.P.R. 445 whow the same sort of careful differentiation between sales and deliveries with both words or their equivalent used where intended.*fn4 But, most ...


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