Fields v. United States
Thomas M. Fields was indicted in the supreme court of the District of Columbia at the January term, 1905, for embezzlement. Of eight counts in the indictment seven were disposed of by demurrer or by verdict in favor of the defendant. The trial, begun on May 8, and ending May 15, 1905, resulted in a verdict of guilty under the third count. Motions in arrest of judgment and for a new trial having been overruled, he was sentenced to imprisonment and labor in the penitentiary for five years. The court of appeals of the District modified the judgment of the supreme court by striking out the order for 'labor,' and, as so modified, affirmed it. 27 App. D. C. 433. The case was brought to this court on writ of error. A motion to dismiss and a petition for certiorari were presented by the respective parties, the consideration of both of which was postponed to the hearing on the merits. The indictment was found under § 841 of the District Code, which is as follows: 'Any executor, administrator, guardian, trustee, receiver, collector, or other officer into whose possession money, securities, or other property of the property or estate of any other person may come by virtue of his office or employment, who shall fraudulently convert or appropriate the same to his own use, shall forfeit all right or claim to any commissions, costs, and charges thereon, and shall be deemed guilty of embezzlement of the entire amount or value of the money or other property so coming into his possession and converted or appropriated to his own use, and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding ten years, or both.' [31 Stat. at L. 1326, chap. 854.]
The statute under which the writ of error was sued out is § 233 of the District Code, which reads:
'Sec. 233. Any judgment or decree of the court of appeals may be re-examined and affirmed, reversed, or modified by the Supreme Court of the United States, upon writ of error or appeal, in all cases in which the matter in dispute, exclusive of costs, shall exceed the sum of five thousand dollars, in the same manner and under the same regulations as existed in cases of writs of error on judgments or appeals from decrees rendered in the supremen court of the District of Columbia on February ninth, eighteen hundred and ninety-three, and also in cases, without regard to the sum or value of the matter in dispute, wherein is involved the validity of any patent or copyright, or in which is drawn in question the validity of a treaty or statute of, or an authority exercised under, the United States.' [31 Stat. at L. 1227, chap. 854.]
Messrs. Frank J. Hogan, John C. Gittings, and Henry E. Davis for plaintiff in error.
[Argument of Counsel from pages 293-295 intentionally omitted]
Mr. J. S. Easby-Smith and Solicitor General Hoyt for defendant in error.
Statement by Mr. Justice Brewer:
Mr. Justice Brewer delivered the opinion of the court: