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United States v. Bowman

United States Supreme Court
260 U.S. 94 (1922)


Facts

The United States (plaintiff) owned a steamship and all the stock in a corporation that paid for its supplies. On a voyage to Rio, Bowman and other crewmembers (defendants) invoiced the U.S.-owned corporation for 1,000 tons of fuel oil but took only 600 tons aboard, then pocketed the difference. The government charged three American crewmen for conspiring to defraud a U.S.-owned corporation. One conspirator objected to the court’s jurisdiction because the crime occurred at sea and in Brazil. The court found it lacked jurisdiction, reasoning that criminal jurisdiction must be conferred on the courts by Congress, but the applicable statute did not specifically include crimes at sea and abroad. The government appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Taft, C.J.)

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