United States v. Wilson

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Not to be confused with "United States v. Wilson, 420 U.S. 332 (1975)", a case regarding double jeopardy on a directed verdict after jury conviction.
United States v. Wilson
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued January 18, 1833
Decided January 26, 1833
Full case name United States v. Wilson
Citations 32 U.S. 150 (more)
32 U.S. 7 Peters 150 (1833)
A pardon cannot be recognized by a judge if it has not been brought judicially before the court by plea, motion, or otherwise.
Court membership
Chief Justice
John Marshall
Associate Justices
William Johnson · Gabriel Duvall
Joseph Story · Smith Thompson
John McLean · Henry Baldwin
Case opinions
Majority Marshall

United States v. Wilson, 32 U.S. 150 (1833), was a case in the United States in which the defendant, George Wilson, was convicted of robbing the US Mail in Pennsylvania and sentenced to death.[1] Due to his friends' influence, Wilson was pardoned by Andrew Jackson. Wilson, however, refused the pardon. The Supreme Court was thus asked to rule on the case.[1]

The decision was that if the prisoner does not accept the pardon, it is not in effect: "A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it is rejected, we have discovered no power in this court to force it upon him." Therefore, Wilson was hanged.[2]


  1. ^ a b Bohm, Robert M., DeathQuest: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Capital Punishment in the United States, p25
  2. ^ http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a2_2_1s29.html