Brief Fact Summary. This matter came to the Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) on certiorari, to review a judgment of conviction for conspiracy to violate the Mann Act (the Act).
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The language of the Act fails to condemn a woman’s participation in inter-state transportations with her mere consent.
The Petitioners, a man and woman, not then husband and wife (Petitioners), were indicted for conspiring together and with others not named, to transport the woman between states for the purpose of engaging in sexual intercourse with the man. At trial, evidence was presented that allowed the court to find that the Petitioners had engaged in sexual relations during each of the journeys. Further, the evidence showed that the man purchased tickets for both himself and the woman on at least one journey. However, there was no evidence that any other person had conspired with the Petitioners.
Issue. Was the evidence presented in the lower court sufficient to support a conviction?
Held. No. On the evidence before the court, the woman Petitioner has not violated the Act and as a result, is not guilty of conspiracy to do so. Further, as there is no proof that the man conspired with anyone else to bring about the transportation, the convictions of both Petitioners must be reversed.
Discussion. Points of Law - for Law School Success
In the Gebardi case discussed above Mr. Justice Stone stated: we cannot infer that the mere acquiescence of the woman transported was intended to be condemned by the general language punishing those who aid and assist the transporter, any more than it has been inferred that the purchaser of liquor was to be regarded as an abettor of the illegal sale. View Full Point of Law
The court held that in applying the Act, it cannot be inferred that mere acquiescence by the woman transported shall lead to punishment under the act. Further, the court found that for the woman in this case to be convicted under the Act, she must take additional action beyond mere agreement to be transported for immoral purposes. The court ultimately based its holding on the legislative policy behind the Act. Through the court’s examination of the language of the Act, the court found that the legislature had specifically excluded from punishment women who merely consent to being transported for illegal purposes.