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UNITED STATES v. CAMPBELL

November 8, 1972

UNITED STATES of America
v.
John W. CAMPBELL


Weber, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEBER

Defendant moves to dismiss Count I of the within indictment because it fails to set forth facts sufficient to constitute an offense under 18 U.S.C. § 1503. The count as stated reads that the defendant, being an attorney, did agree and promise Charlene McIlwaine, his client in a criminal case then pending against her in this United States District Court, that he could and would use certain monies paid by her to him to obtain a favorable disposition of her case through unlawful means.

 The statute defining the offense says:

 
"§ 1503. Influencing or injuring officer, juror or witness generally.
 
Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede any witness, in any court of the United States or before any United States magistrate or other committing magistrate, or any grand or petit juror, or officer in or of any court of the United States, or officer who may be serving at any examination or other proceeding before any United States magistrate or other committing magistrate, in the discharge of his duty, or injures any party or witness in his person or property on account of his attending or having attended such court or examination before such officer, commissioner, or other committing magistrate, or on account of his testifying or having testified to any matter pending therein, or injures any such grand or petit juror in his person or property on account of any verdict or indictment assented to by him, or on account of his being or having been such juror, or injures any such officer, magistrate, or other committing magistrate in his person or property on account of the performance of his official duties, or corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, . . .".

 The indictment charges that out of dealings between the defendant and his client in a pending criminal action, the defendant endeavored to obstruct justice.

 While the statute uses the broader term "endeavor" to define the offense, it appears clear that there must be some overt act directed toward some person whose action or failure to act could affect the outcome of the case.

 
". . . for an 'endeavor' to come within the ambit of a statute similar to the one here involved, [ 18 U.S.C. § 1503] the defendant's act must have been directed at, and/or brought to bear upon, some person who had legal authority to do, or not to do, some act which would or could affect the final outcome of the trial." Ethridge v. United States, 258 F.2d 234, 236 (fn. 2) [9th Cir., 1958].

 The present indictment does not recite any act whereby the defendant,

 
"corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication,"

 which

 
"endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede"

 any person.

 Nor does the indictment state that defendant did ...


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