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SCHAEFER V. UNITED STATES, 251 U. S. 466 (1920)

U.S. Supreme Court

Schaefer v. United States, 251 U.S. 466 (1920)

Schaefer v. United States

No. 270-274

Argued October 21, 1919

Decided March 1, 1920

251 U.S. 466


The Espionage Act is constitutional. P. 251 U. S. 470. Sugarman v. United States, 249 U. S. 182.

As applied to any of several defendant in a criminal case, the provision of Jud.Code, § 287, that all shall be deemed a single party for the

Page 251 U. S. 467

purpose of peremptory challenges, is constitutional. P. 251 U. S. 470. Stilson v. United States, 250 U. S. 583.

In a prosecution of several under the Espionage Act, held that the evidence was sufficient to warrant conviction as to some but not as to the others. Pp. 251 U. S. 470, 251 U. S. 478.

In a prosecution under the Espionage Act for willfully making and conveying false reports and statements with intent to promote the success of Germany and obstruct the recruiting and enlistment service of the United States to the injury of the United States in the war with Germany, where there was evidence that persons conducting a German language newspaper systematically took news despatches from other papers and published them with omissions, additions, and changes, held that the falsity of such publications, within the meaning of the statute, depended on the fact and purpose of the alterations and the resulting tendency of the article to weaken zeal and patriotism, and thus hamper the United States in raising armies and conducting the war, that the determination of such falsity, the evidence being sufficient, was clearly for the jury and not for the court, and that the court rightly allowed the jury to have recourse to their general knowledge of the war and war conditions in making such determination. P. 251 U. S. 471.

The constitutional provision as to liberty of speech and press does not require or authorize the court, wherever criminal abuse of those rights is charged, to override a verdict of guilty by substituting its own opinion of the evidence for that of the jury. P. 251 U. S. 474.

Evidence sufficient to sustain any one of several counts will sustain a conviction and sentence upon all if the sentence does not exceed that which might lawfully have been imposed under any one of them. P. 251 U. S. 482. Abrams v. United States, 250 U. S. 616.

254 F. 135 affirmed in part and reversed in part.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 251 U. S. 468

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