Cramer v. United States

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Not to be confused with Cramer v. United States (1923), an opinion involving individual aboriginal title in California.
Cramer v. United States
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued March 9, 1944
Reargued November 6, 1944
Decided April 23, 1945
Full case name Anthony Cramer v. United States
Citations 325 U.S. 1 (more)
Conviction for treason must meet the definition given in Article III of the constitution.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Harlan F. Stone
Associate Justices
Owen J. Roberts · Hugo Black
Stanley F. Reed · Felix Frankfurter
William O. Douglas · Frank Murphy
Robert H. Jackson · Wiley B. Rutledge
Case opinions
Majority Jackson, joined by Roberts, Frankfurter, Murphy, Rutledge
Dissent Douglas, joined by Stone, Black, Reed
Laws applied
U.S. Const. art. III § 3

Cramer v. United States, 325 U.S. 1 (1945), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States reviewed the conviction of Anthony Cramer, a German-born naturalized citizen, for treason. The case was reargued on November 6, 1944, and finally decided on April 23, 1945.[1]

Anthony Cramer in 1942

Cramer had associated with two Germans, Werner Thiel and Edward Kerling]], and had prior business dealings with one of them. The two were later found to be in the United States for the purpose of sabotage. Cramer was also arrested and convicted on the basis of this association.

The Court decided 5-to-4 to overturn the jury verdict. Writing for the majority, Justice Robert H. Jackson said that the US Constitution is clear in its definition of treason, limited to the waging of war, or giving material assistance to an enemy. The prosecution and its witnesses could demonstrate only an association and not that Cramer had given "Aid and Comfort," as defined in Article III. Jackson wrote that the jury had been given no evidence that Cramer had "even paid for their drinks."

Writing for the dissent, Justice William O. Douglas claimed that acts, though innocent by nature, may serve a treasonous plan. Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone concurred with the dissent.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • ^ Text of Cramer v. United States, 325 U.S. 1 (1945) is available from:  Findlaw  Justia