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Quercia v. United States

289 U.S. 466 (1933)

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Quercia v. United States

United States Supreme Court

289 U.S. 466 (1933)

Facts

Mr. Quercia (defendant) was charged with violating federal narcotics law. At trial, Quercia testified in his own defense and generally denied all charges. At the end of the trial, the judge instructed the jury on the presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt. The judge then told the jury what the judge thought about Quercia’s testimony. The judge said that Quercia wiped his hands while he testified, which the judge believed was almost always an indication that a person was lying. The judge stated that his opinion was fact, and added that he thought every word Quercia had said was a lie. Finally, the judge told the jury that his opinion was not binding and that if the jury disagreed, the jury had a duty to find that Quercia was not guilty. The jury convicted Quercia. Quercia appealed his conviction, and the court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted Quercia’s petition for writ of certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hughes, C.J.)

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