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CARLESI V. NEW YORK, 233 U. S. 51 (1914)

U.S. Supreme Court

Carlesi v. New York, 233 U.S. 51 (1914)

Carlesi v. New York

No. 679

Argued March 2, 1914

Decided April 6, 1914

233 U.S. 51


In testing the repugnancy of a state statute to the federal Constitution, this Court must accept the construction given to the statute by the state courts.

A state may not directly or indirectly restrict the national government in the exertion of its legitimate powers, nor can a state in any way punish a crime after the President of the United States has pardoned the offender.

Taking into consideration the fact that a person convicted of a crime against the state had previously committed the same crime against the United States is not a punishment of the former crime and does not deprive the person convicted of any federal rights under a pardon of the President of the United States of the first offense.

McDonald v. Massachusetts, 180 U. S. 311, and Graham v. West Virginia, 224 U. S. 616, followed to the effect that the state statute involved in this case, and which imposed heavier penalties for second offenses, whether the first offense was committed in the same or in another jurisdiction, does not impose additional punishment for the first offense, but only imposes a punishment on the crime for which the person convicted is tried.

The granting of a pardon by the President for a crime committed against the United States does not operate to restrict the power of a state to punish crimes thereafter committed against its authority and to prescribe such penalties as it deems appropriate in view of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender taking in view his past conduct, and so held that the second offense provisions of the Penal Code of New York are not unconstitutional as applied to a person convicted of the same crime of which he had been previously convicted by the United States and pardoned by the President.

Quaere whether a state may not provide that the fact of the commission of an offense after a pardon of a prior offense by it or another sovereignty

Page 233 U. S. 52

should be regarded a an increased element of aggravation to the second offense to be considered in adding to the punishment therefor.

Judgment based on 208 N.Y. 47 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction and constitutionality of the second offense statute of New York and the effect of a pardon of the accused by the President of the United States for the first offense, are stated in the opinion.

Page 233 U. S. 55

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