Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,600+ case briefs...

Morissette v. United States

United States Supreme Court
342 U.S. 246 (1952)



A scrap metal and junk dealer, Morissette (defendant), entered an Air Force bombing range and took several spent bomb casings that had been lying around for years exposed to the weather and rusting. Morissette subsequently flattened the casings out and sold them for an $84 profit. Morissette was indicted for violating 18 U.S.C. § 641 which made it a crime to “knowing convert” government property. At trial, Morissette admitted he knew he was taking Air Force property but honestly believed the government had abandoned the casings. The trial judge rejected Morissette’s defense and instructed the jury that “[t]he question on intent is whether or not he intended to take the property.” Morissette was convicted and he appealed. The court of appeals affirmed and made the assumption that Congress meant for the term “knowingly convert” to mean simply an intentional exercise of dominion over property not belonging to the individual. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Jackson, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 428,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,600 briefs, keyed to 223 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial