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Gebardi v. United States

Citation. 22 Ill.287 U.S. 112, 53 S. Ct. 35, 77 L. Ed. 206 (1932)
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Brief Fact Summary.

A man and woman were both convicted of violating the Mann Act (the Act) insomuch as they conspired together to transport an unmarried woman from one state to another for purposes of sexual intercourse.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Conspiracy between man and woman to violate the Act cannot exist because the Act does not punish a woman for acquiescing in the illicit transport for sex purposes, but only the man for transporting her. Absent involvement of the woman, the man cannot be in a conspiracy by himself and with himself alone.


A man and woman, then unmarried, agreed to travel from state to state and engage in illicit sexual intercourse in violation of the Act. There was evidence that the woman consented to go on these journeys with the man. They were convicted of conspiring to violate the Act.


Can a man and woman be convicted of conspiring to violate the Act if the Act itself does not provide for any punishment for the woman for committed the completed substantive offense?


No. Reversed. The man and woman cannot have conspired to violate the Act insomuch as the statute does not punish a woman who consents to transportation out of state for illicit sexual purposes. If the woman cannot be a conspirator to the violation of the Act, then the man cannot be guilty either, as there is no evidence that he conspired with anyone else to violate the Act.


In this case, the woman could not have been prosecuted for violating the Act as a result of her willful participation in these interstate journey’s taken for purposes of illicit sexual intercourse. Since she could not have been charged with the substantive offense, she could not therefore be guilty of conspiring to commit that offense because if she had in fact committed it, it would be no crime. The Act only punishes the man for his involvement, not the woman for her involvement. If the woman cannot be charged with the conspiracy, then neither can the man, for a conspiracy requires at least two persons.

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