Federal Criminal Procedure-Transfer for Trial Under Rule 21(b)

Defendant, a Delaware corporation, was indicted in the Eastern District of Illinois for violations of the Sherman Act. Proceeding under Rule 21(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure defendant moved to transfer the trial to the District of Minnesota, where its principal business offices were located. The parties stipulated that the alleged offenses occurred in both Illinois and Minnesota and submitted affidavits, briefs, and oral argument on the transfer motion to petitioner, the district court judge. While evaluating numerous other factors relevant to the transfer motion, the district court gave some weight to the contention of government counsel that impartial jurors would be more difficult to obtain in Minnesota than in Illinois. The district court denied the motion to transfer. Arguing that the district court’s consideration of jury bias in the transferee district was improper, the defendant sought a writ of mandamus to compel the transfer. The court of appeals granted the writ and ordered transfer. On certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, held, reversed and remanded to the district court for redetermination of the transfer motion without reference to possible jury bias in the transferee district. Appellate supervision by writ of mandamus does not permit a circuit court to order transfer on the basis of its own findings after review discloses that one of the factors which led the district court to deny transfer under Rule 21(b) should not have been considered. Platt v. Minnesota Mining b Mfg. Co., 84 Sup. Ct. 769 (1964).