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Silber v. United States

U.S.
Jun 25, 1962
370 U.S. 717 (1962)

Summary

holding that defect in indictment not raised before either the Supreme Court or the court of appeals could be noticed as plain error

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Graham

Opinion

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT.

No. 454.

Argued April 19, 1962. Decided June 25, 1962.

Petitioner's indictment for violating 2 U.S.C. § 192 was identical to those held defective in Russell v. United States, 369 U.S. 749; the District Court erroneously denied a timely motion to dismiss it; and petitioner was convicted. The issue raised by the motion to dismiss apparently was not presented to the Court of Appeals, and it was not briefed or argued in this Court. Held: This Court, at its option, may notice a plain error not presented, and the judgment sustaining the conviction is reversed on the authority of Russell v. United States. Pp. 717-718.

111 U.S.App.D.C. 331, 296 F.2d 588, reversed.

Victor Rabinowitz argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs was Leonard B. Boudin.

Bruce J. Terris argued the cause for the United States. On the briefs were Solicitor General Cox, Assistant Attorney General Yeagley, George B. Searls and Kevin T. Maroney.


The judgment is reversed. Russell v. United States, 369 U.S. 749. The indictment upon which the petitioner was tried was identical to those held defective in Russell. The petitioner's timely motion to dismiss the indictment, made in accord with Fed. Rules Crim. Proc. 12(b)(2), was erroneously denied by the District Court.

Although the trial court squarely considered and decided the issue raised by the motion to dismiss, it was apparently not presented to the Court of Appeals and was not briefed or argued in this Court. While ordinarily we do not take note of errors not called to the attention of the Court of Appeals nor properly raised here, that rule is not without exception. The Court has "the power to notice a `plain error' though it is not assigned or specified," Brotherhood of Carpenters v. United States, 330 U.S. 395, 412. "In exceptional circumstances, especially in criminal cases, appellate courts, in the public interest, may, of their own motion, notice errors to which no exception has been taken, if the errors are obvious, or if they otherwise seriously affect the fairness, integrity or public reputation of judicial proceedings." United States v. Atkinson, 297 U.S. 157, 160. Our own rules provide that "the court, at its option, may notice a plain error not presented." Revised Rules of the Supreme Court of the United States, Rule 40(1)(d)(2). See also Fed. Rules Crim. Proc. 52(b).

See Brasfield v. United States, 272 U.S. 448, 450; Mahler v. Eby, 264 U.S. 32, 45; Weems v. United States, 217 U.S. 349, 362. See also Kessler v. Strecker, 307 U.S. 22, 34.

MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

MR. JUSTICE WHITE took no part in the decision of this case.

MR. JUSTICE CLARK and MR. JUSTICE HARLAN dissent for the reasons stated in their dissenting opinions in Russell v. United States, 369 U.S. 749, 779, 781.


Summaries of

Silber v. United States

U.S.
Jun 25, 1962
370 U.S. 717 (1962)

holding that defect in indictment not raised before either the Supreme Court or the court of appeals could be noticed as plain error

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Graham

reversing judgment for plain error as a result of insufficient indictment

Summary of this case from Rosales-Mireles v. United States

reversing judgment for plain error as a result of a defective indictment

Summary of this case from United States v. Medley

reversing the defendant's conviction based on a plain error that was not briefed or argued before the court of appeals or the Supreme Court

Summary of this case from State v. Yoh

reversing the defendant's conviction based on a plain error that was not briefed or argued before the court of appeals or the Supreme Court

Summary of this case from STATE v. YOH

recognizing that, “[i]n exceptional circumstances, especially in criminal cases, appellate courts, in the public interest, may, of their own motion, notice errors to which no exception has been taken, if the errors are obvious, or if they otherwise seriously affect the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings” (quoting United States v. Atkinson, 297 U.S. 157, 160, 56 S.Ct. 391, 80 L.Ed. 555 (1936))

Summary of this case from United States v. Broussard

recognizing the Court's power to sua sponte notice and correct a plain error even though it was not assigned or specified

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Coscarelli

In Silber v. United States, 370 U.S. 717, 717–18, 82 S.Ct. 1287, 8 L.Ed.2d 798 (1962), for example, the Supreme Court explained that when a party fails to raise an issue on appeal, courts "[i]n exceptional circumstances, especially in criminal cases,...in the public interest, may, of their own motion, notice errors to which no exception has been taken, if the errors are obvious, or if they otherwise seriously affect the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings."

Summary of this case from Regions Bank v. Legal Outsource PA

reviewing an issue decided by the district court, even though it was not raised on appeal

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Drapeau

In Silber the Court reversed a conviction on an issue that it recognized was "not presented to the Court of Appeals and was not briefed or argued in this Court.

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Whitfield

stating the grounds on which an appellate court may, sua sponte, notice error

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Todd

In Silber, the defendant was convicted of refusing to answer questions posed by a congressional committee, in violation of 2 U.S.C.A. § 192 (West 1997).

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Promise

In Silber v. United States, 370 U.S. 17, 82 S.Ct. 1287, 8 L.Ed.2d 798 (1962) he Court holds that it has the power o notice a "plain error", though it is not assigned or specified, citing United Brotherhood of Carpenters, etc. v. United States, 330 U.S. 395, 67 S.Ct. 775, 91 L.Ed. 973 (1947).

Summary of this case from United States v. Summerour
Case details for

Silber v. United States

Case Details

Full title:SILBER v . UNITED STATES

Court:U.S.

Date published: Jun 25, 1962

Citations

370 U.S. 717 (1962)
82 S. Ct. 1287

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