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YEE HEM V. UNITED STATES, 268 U. S. 178 (1925)

U.S. Supreme Court

Yee Hem v. United States, 268 U.S. 178 (1925)

Yee Hem v. United States

No. 303

Argued March 19, 1925

Decided April 27, 1925

268 U.S. 178


1. Congress has power to prohibit the importation of opium and, as a measure reasonably calculated to aid in the enforcement of the prohibition, to make its concealment, with knowledge of its unlawful importation, a crime. P. 268 U. S. 183.

2. The Act of February 9, 1909, §§ 1 and 2, as amended, January 17, 1914, prohibited the importation of smoking opium after April 1, 1909, made it an offense to conceal such opium knowing it to have been imported contrary to law, and provided that possession by the defendant "shall be deemed sufficient evidence to authorize conviction unless the defendant shall explain the possession to the satisfaction of the jury." Section 3 provided that, on and after July 1, 1913, all smoking opium within the United States should be presumed to have been imported after April 1, 1909, and that the burden of proof should be on the claimant or accused to rebut the presumption. Held that the presumptions thus created are reasonable, and do not contravene the due process of law and the compulsory self-incrimination clauses of the Fifth Amendment. P. 268 U. S. 183.


Error to a sentence upon conviction of the offense of concealing smoking opium with knowledge that it had been illegally imported.

Page 268 U. S. 181

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