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UNITED STATES v. ANZALONE

October 25, 1951

UNITED STATES
v.
ANZALONE



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARSH

In this case the indictment charges that on or about November 2, 1948, the defendant, Domenick Anzalone, falsely and willfully represented himself to be a citizen of the United States; Section 911, Title 18 U.S.C.

Upon motion of the defendant the case was transferred from Pittsburgh to Erie for trial on March 27, 1951. At the trial it was earnestly contended by the defendant that the court should have directed a verdict of not guilty. This the court refused to do and the jury found the defendant guilty. He then presented (1) a motion for judgment of acquittal after verdict; (2) a motion in arrest of judgment; and (3) a motion for a new trial. These motions were duly argued and both sides filed briefs in September. We have painstakingly analyzed the masterful and voluminous brief filed by counsel for defendant; each of the interesting questions presented has been given attention. Despite counsel's persuasiveness and his thorough documentation of authorities, it is the judgment of the court that the decision to submit the case to the jury was right, and that the evidence was sufficient to justify the verdict. Consequently, the motions will be denied.

 The defendant has based his motions substantially on the following:

 1. That the statute under which defendant was convicted is repugnant to the First, Fifth, Sixth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States and, therefore, is unconstitutional.

 3. That the evidence is insufficient to prove the corpus delicti and sustain the conviction.

 Constitutionality

 Defendant attacks the constitutionality of the statute as violative of the Tenth Amendment in that it is not 'necessary and proper' to the carrying out of the regulation of naturalization delegated to Congress under Article 1, Section 8, clause 4 of the Constitution. He concludes, therefore, that it is solely a police power regulation reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment. Amendment. There is abundant authority sustaining the constitutionality of the statute *fn1" and despite the vigorous effort to convince us otherwise, we believe that the cases holding the statute constitutional correctly interpret the law. In fact, we doubt the validity of defendant's contention that it is a measure which only a state has power to establish under its general police powers. *fn2" A false claim that one is a citizen of the United States does not constitute an offense against the state. United States citizenship is an incident of national sovereignty and to Congress is delegated the exclusive power to establish uniform rules of naturalization. An alien who claims to be a citizen of this country without following the rules set forth by Congress has committed an offense against the national sovereign. It is within the 'necessary and proper' powers of Congress to determine that an alien cannot, with impunity, falsely claim to be a citizen when in fact he is not. It appears to the court to be a necessary adjunct to the establishment and enforcement of uniform rules of naturalization. *fn3"

 The contention that the statute violates the First, Fifth and Sixth Amendments is likewise without merit. Numerous courts have sustained the validity of the statute as not violative of these Amendments *fn4" and we agree with their interpretation of the law.

 The Criminal Act

 The Government proved that in the General Election held November 2, 1948, in the Borough of North Belle Vernon, Westmoreland County, the defendant signed a voter's certificate, prescribed by Pennsylvania law. *fn5" This certificate contained the statement, 'I hereby certify that I am qualified to vote at this General Election.'

 The Government contends that this act on the part of the defendant was willful and constitutes a representation of United States citizenship, which representation is false because, as it also asserts, Anzalone is a citizen of Italy. *fn6" Defendant strenuously argues that the signed certificate is not sufficient to constitute a representation of United States citizenship.

 Obviously, the voter's certificate does not state in so many words that a signer is a citizen of the United States. Is, then, a crime committed by an alien who willfully executes such a certificate, or does the statute require the accused to make a statement using the words 'I am a citizen of the United States' or reply affirmatively to an interrogation using those words?

 It is the opinion of the court that the statement on the voter's certificate primarily means that the declarant is a citizen of the United States, and since it does not admit of any other interpretation as to citizenship, it is within the purview of the statute. Any normal adult who makes such a representation to an election board on election day knows, or will be held to know, the full import of that statement. We are supported in this view by the recent case of United States v. Franklin, supra, 7 Cir., 1951, 188 F.2d 182, where it appears that the provisions of the Illinois election laws are similar to those of Pennsylvania. The first qualification required by the Constitution of Pennsylvania *fn7" is that an elector shall be a citizen of the United States at least one month. The registration laws of Pennsylvania *fn8" provide that every person claiming the right to be registered as an elector shall, inter alia, disclose the state of the United States, or foreign country, where he was born, and shall take an oath that he is a citizen of the United States. The Election Code requires at each election 'each elector who desires to vote shall first sign a voter's certificate' *fn9" which certificate shall certify 'that I am qualified to vote' *fn10" and hand ...


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