United States v. Wilson

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United States v. Wilson
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued January 18, 1833
Decided January 26, 1833
Full case nameUnited States v. George Wilson
Citations32 U.S. 150 (more)
7 Pet. 150; 8 L. Ed. 640; 1833 U.S. LEXIS 340
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 opinion
MajorityMarshall, joined by unanimous

United States v. Wilson, 32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 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."[2]

It remains unclear whether Wilson was ever actually executed.[3]


  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
  3. ^ "Can a Person Refuse a Presidential Pardon?". mentalfloss.com. 2019-02-27. Retrieved 2019-10-20.

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