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Blackmer v. United States.

Law Dictionary
CASE BRIEFS

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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International Law Keyed to Damrosche


Citation. Blackmer v. United States, 284 U.S. 421, 52 S. Ct. 252, 76 L. Ed. 375, 1932 U.S. LEXIS 882 (U.S. Feb. 15, 1932)

Brief Fact Summary. For his failure to respond to subpoenas served upon him in France which required his appearance in the United States, Blackmer (D) was found to be in contempt of court.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. There must be due process for the exercise of judicial jurisdiction in personam.

Facts. Blackmer (D), a U.S. (P) citizen who was residing in France, was served subpoenas to appear in court as a witness in a criminal trial in the U.S. Contempt proceedings were initiated against Blackmer (D) when he failed to respond to the subpoenas and he was found guilty and fined. Blackmer (D) appealed on the ground that the federal statute was unconstitutional.

Issue. Must there be due process for the exercise of judicial jurisdiction in personam?

Held. (Hughes, C.J). Yes. There must be due process for the exercise of judicial jurisdiction in personam. The court may adjudge the witness guity of contempt if the witness fails to comply with the court order. Congress acted pursuant to its authority in enacting the statute and it could prescribe a penalty to enforce it. Affirmed.

Discussion. The statute was not found to be unconstitutional by the Court. Blackmer (D) alleged that there was inadequate notice, but since he still retained his U.S. citizenship, he was still subject to the U.S. authorities.


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