previous arrest and conviction within the five years prior to application involved moral turpitude and exhibited the unfitness of the applicant for citizenship, and reversed the judgment of the District Court which, in granting citizenship, must have found that the arrest and conviction did not reflect adversely upon applicant's moral character.
In the Third Circuit, there have been no decisions on the specific question of the effect to be given, in a naturalization proceeding, to omitting a fact on an application in order to prevent discovery of an occurrence which, in itself, would not be a barrier to naturalization. Therefore, the applicable rule must be ascertained from related decisions of the Court.
After a thorough review of the cases decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in denaturalization proceedings, it is the considered opinion of the Court that prior to the case of Chaunt v. United States, 364 U.S. 350, 81 S. Ct. 147, 5 L. Ed. 2d 120 (1960) (hereinafter sometimes referred to as Chaunt), while the cases could not be read as holding that the District Court must deny naturalization under the circumstances here present, there can be little doubt that their language clearly could be read as permitting the District Court to ground a finding of lack of good moral character on the bald fact that a petitioner for naturalization had perjured himself in the naturalization application. See United States v. Montalbano, 236 F.2d 757 (3rd Cir.), cert. denied, Genouese v. United States, 352 U.S. 952, 77 S. Ct. 327, 1 L. Ed. 2d 244 (1956); United States v. Anastasio, 226, F.2d 912 (3rd Cir., 1955), cert. denied, 351 U.S. 931, 76 S. Ct. 787, 100 L. Ed. 1460 (1956); United States v. Kessler, 213 F.2d 53 (3rd Cir., 1954); United States v. Accardo, 208 F.2d 632 (3rd Cir., 1953), affirming 113 F.Supp. 783 (D.C.N.J.), cert. denied, 347 U.S. 952, 74 S. Ct. 677, 98 L. Ed. 1098 (1954).
Were it not for the decision in Chaunt v. United States, supra, the Court would be prone to conclude that a person who has sworn falsely on a naturalization application within the five years prior to filing his naturalization application has not established that he has been a person of good moral character for the required period. The United States Supreme Court said in Chaunt v. United States, supra:
'Acquisition of American citizenship is a solemn affair. Full and truthful response to all relevant questions required by the naturalization procedure is, of course, to be exacted, and temporizing with the truth must be vigorously discouraged. Failure to give frank, honest, and unequivocal answers to the court when one seeks naturalization is a serious matter. Complete replies are essential so that the qualifications of the applicant or his lack of them may be ascertained. Suppressed or concealed facts, if known, might in and of themselves justify denial of citizenship. Or disclosure of the true facts might have led to the discovery of other facts which would justify denial of citizenship.'
Nevertheless, in Chaunt, supra, a denaturalization proceeding, the United States Supreme Court appears to have set forth a requirement that perjury on an application, to be a barrier to naturalization, must have been material in that the facts concealed were a barrier to naturalization or might have been useful in an investigation possibly leading to the discovery of other facts warranting denial of citizenship.
It is evident that if this test is applied to the facts of this case, the sole determination possible is that the omission of the Lockhart Street address was not material. The revelation of the correct residences of petitioner would not, in any sense, have constituted a barrier to naturalization. At most, the revelation of the correct addresses would have led, on investigation, as it actually did, to the knowledge that petitioner had committed the crime of fornication. Since fornication in itself is not a barrier to naturalization, and since there is no indication that revelation of the correct addresses, on investigation, did, would or might lead to any barrier to naturalization, the perjury of petitioner must be deemed immaterial, as a matter of law, under the test of Chaunt, supra.
The perjury being immaterial under the rule of Chaunt, it cannot be a basis on which lack of good moral character can be grounded and since petitioner has otherwise shown that he is of good moral character, the Petition for Naturalization will be granted.
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