Criminal Procedure – Venue – Federal Offenses Committed Outside the Jurisdiction of Any State or District
The defendant, an army staff sergeant, was under custody at Fort Meade, Maryland, awaiting disposition of charges of sodomy lodged against him under the Articles of War. After a delay of four months, the charges were dropped and he was shipped by the Army to Fort Jay, New York, where he was separated from the service. Immediately upon his release, he was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under a commissioner’s warrant charging him with treason committed in Japan during a prior enlistment in the army. At the trial in the District Court for the Southern District of New York, the issue of venue was submitted to the jury and was found to be proper. Venue was governed by a federal statute which provides that “the trial of all offenses begun or committed . . . out of the jurisdiction of any particular State or district, shall be in the district where the offender is found, or into which he is first brought.” After conviction, with the cooperation of the Army, the defendant obtained confidential records not previously available; these records showed that the Army had brought the defendant to New York at the request of the Department of Justice for the purpose of turning him over to the FBI. On the basis of this newly discovered evidence, the defendant moved to vacate the conviction for improper venue. The district court denied the motion. · On appeal, held, reversed. Had the newly discovered evidence been before the jury, they could not have found that the defendant was “found” in the Southern District of New York; he was “found” in Maryland within the meaning of the federal venue statute. United States v. Provoo, (2d Cir. 1954) 215 F. (2d) 531.