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UNITED STATES V. THOMPSON, 251 U. S. 407 (1920)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Thompson, 251 U.S. 407 (1920)

United States v. Thompson

No. 250

Argued January 27, 28, 1920

Decided March 1, 1920

251 U.S. 407


A judgment of the district court sustaining a so-called motion to quash, which in effect bars the United States from further prosecuting the alleged offense under the same or any other indictment, depriving the district attorney and the grand jury of their lawful powers over the subject, is subject to review by this Court under the Criminal Appeals Act as a "judgment sustaining a special plea in bar." P. 251 U. S. 412.

The grand jury has power to inquire into and indict upon a charge which has previously been examined and ignored by another grand jury; the United States attorney has power to invoke such a reexamination, and the exercise of these powers is not subject to be denied at the discretion of the district court. P. 251 U. S. 413.

Hence, a judgment quashing an indictment because the United States attorney did not obtain permission from the court to make the resubmission

Page 251 U. S. 408

to the grand jury upon which the indictment was obtained is erroneous as invading the functions of the United States attorney and those of the grand jury. P. 251 U. S. 413.

The rule governing the subject is general, based on the common law and the decisions of this Court, and is not subject to the decisions or statutes of the state in which the offense is committed and prosecuted. P. 251 U. S. 415.

Section 722 of the Revised Statutes, in the criminal cases to which it relates, adopts the state practice only in the absence of a federal rule governing the matter in question. Id.

Application for writs of mandamus and prohibition to control the district court are disallowed when the relief sought is afforded through a writ of error. P. 251 U. S. 417.


The case is stated in the opinion.

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