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GRAU v. UNITED STATES

decided: November 7, 1932.

GRAU
v.
UNITED STATES



CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT.

Hughes, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Brandeis, Sutherland, Butler, Stone, Roberts, Cardozo

Author: Roberts

[ 287 U.S. Page 126]

 MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.

The petitioner was convicted under an indictment in two counts, the first charging the unlawful manufacture of whisky, and the second possession of property designed for the unlawful manufacture of intoxicating liquors.*fn1 He complains that certain articles offered at the trial were obtained by virtue of a void search warrant and that the trial court erred in overruling a motion to quash the process and to suppress the evidence, and in admitting it at the trial. The Circuit Court of Appeals overruled errors assigned to the District Court's action and affirmed the judgment.*fn2

The assertion is that the warrant is void for failure to observe the statutory requirement that it state the "particular

[ 287 U.S. Page 127]

     grounds or probable cause" for issuance; and for the further reason that it is based on affidavits which do not "set forth the facts tending to establish the grounds of the application or probable cause for believing that they exist."*fn3 We need not consider the alleged defect of the warrant, as we think the objection to the affidavits well taken, and the warrant consequently without lawful foundation.

Two affidavits were made before the commissioner. One purported to state the facts; the other merely asserted a belief that the statements in the first were true, and is clearly insufficient. Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28.

So far as material, the more detailed affidavit states that "on or about October 14, 1931, he (affiant) went around and about the premises hereinafter described and saw persons haul cans, commonly used in handling whisky, and what appeared to be corn sugar up to and into the place and saw the same car or truck haul similar cans, apparently heavily loaded away from there and smelled odors and fumes of cooking mash coming from the place, and he says there is a still and whisky mash on the premises."

Pursuant to the process issued officers seized a still, its appurtenances, and 350 gallons of whisky, and these were offered and admitted in evidence at the trial.

Section 25 of Title II of the National Prohibition Act*fn4 provides: "No search warrant shall issue to search any private dwelling occupied as such unless it is being used for the unlawful sale of intoxicating liquor, or unless it

[ 287 U.S. Page 128]

     is in part used for some business purpose such as a store, shop, saloon, ...


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