United States v. Young
United States Supreme Court
470 U.S. 1 (1985)
Young (defendant) was the president of a petroleum company under contract to deliver crude oil to another company. Part of the oil Young supplied was not actually crude oil, but less valuable fuel oil blended with condensate from natural gas wellheads. The discovery that Young was not delivering crude oil led to an FBI investigation, the issuance of multiple federal charges against Young, and a jury trial in the federal district court. During closing arguments, Young’s attorney made comments to the jury suggesting that the prosecution did not actually believe that Young intended to commit fraud. The prosecution did not object to defense counsel’s statements. On rebuttal, the prosecutor suggested that Young’s attorney had elicited his personal opinion about Young’s guilt and informed the jury of his own opinions about Young’s guilt and the veracity of witness testimony. Young’s attorney did not object to the prosecution’s rebuttal statements. Young was found guilty on several counts and appealed on grounds that he had been unfairly prejudiced by the prosecution’s closing remarks. The court of appeals held that the prosecution’s rebuttal statements constituted plain error sufficient to merit a new trial. The United States (plaintiff) petitioned the Supreme Court for review.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)
What to do next…
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.
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 166,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 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.