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WEEKS v. UNITED STATES

February 24, 1914

WEEKS
v.
UNITED STATES



ERROR TO THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI

White, McKenna, Holmes, Day, Hughes, Van Devanter, Lamar, Pitney

Author: Day

[ 232 U.S. Page 386]

 MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the court.

An indictment was returned against the plaintiff in error, defendant below, and herein so designated, in the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Missouri, containing nine counts. The seventh count, upon which a conviction was had, charged the use of the mails for the purpose of transporting certain coupons or tickets representing chances or shares in a lottery or gift enterprise, in violation of ยง 213 of the Criminal Code. Sentence of fine and imprisonment was imposed. This writ of error is to review that judgment.

The defendant was arrested by a police officer, so far as the record shows, without warrant, at the Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was employed by an express company. Other police officers had gone to the house of the defendant and being told by a neighbor where the key was kept, found it and entered the house. They searched the defendant's room and took possession of various papers and articles found there, which were afterwards turned over to the United States Marshal. Later in the same day police officers returned with the Marshal, who thought he might find additional evidence, and, being admitted by someone in the house, probably a boarder, in response to a rap, the Marshal searched the defendant's room and carried away certain letters and envelopes found in the drawer of a chiffonier. Neither the marshal nor the police officers had a search warrant.

[ 232 U.S. Page 387]

     The defendant filed in the cause before the time for trial the following petition:

"Petition to Return Private Papers, Books and Other Property.

"Now comes defendant and states that he is a citizen and resident of Kansas City, Missouri, and that he resides, owns and occupies a home at 1834 Penn Street in said City;

"That on the 21st day of December, 1911, while plaintiff was absent at his daily vocation certain officers of the government whose names are to plaintiff unknown, unlawfully and without warrant or authority so to do, broke open the door to plaintiff's said home and seized all of his books, letters, money, papers, notes, evidences of indebtedness, stock, certificates, insurance policies, deeds, abstracts, and other muniments of title, bonds, candies, clothes and other property in said home, and this in violation of Sections 11 and 23 of the Constitution of Missouri and of the 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States:

"That the District Attorney, Marshal and Clerk of the United States Court for the Western District of Missouri took the above described property so seized into their possession and have failed and refused to return to defendant portion of same, to-wit:

"One (1) leather grip, value about $7.00; one (1) tin box valued at $3.00; one (1) Pettis County, Missouri, bond, value $500.00; three (3) Mining stock certificates which defendant is unable to more particularly describe valued at $12,000.00, and certain stock certificates in addition thereto issued by the San Domingo Mining Loan and Investment Company, about $75.00 in currency; one (1) newspaper published about 1790, an heirloom; and certain other property which plaintiff is now unable to describe:

"That said property is being unlawfully and improperly

[ 232 U.S. Page 388]

     held by said District Attorney, Marshal and Clerk in violation of defendant's rights under the Constitution of the United States and the State of Missouri:

"That said District Attorney purposes to use said books, letters, papers, certificates of stock, etc., at the trial of the above entitled cause and that by reason thereof and of the facts above set forth defendant's rights under the amendments aforesaid to the Constitution of Missouri, and the United ...


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