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FRANCE v. UNITED STATES.

decided: January 4, 1897.

FRANCE
v.
UNITED STATES.



ERROR TO THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO.

Author: PECKHAM

[ 164 U.S. Page 677]

 Mr. JUSTICE PECKHAM delivered the opinion of the court.

The plaintiffs in error were indicted for and convicted of the offence of conspiracy, under section 5440 of the Revised Statutes. They were charged in the indictment with conspiring to violate the act of Congress, passed March 2, 1895, c. 191, for the suppression of lottery traffic through national and interstate commerce, etc. 28 Stat. 963.

The section of the Revised Statutes and the first section of the act, above referred to, are set forth in the margin.*fn1

[ 164 U.S. Page 678]

     The indictment contains six counts, charging overt acts on the part of plaintiffs in error, to have been committed in Hamilton County, Ohio, in October, 1895.

The trial of the plaintiffs in error having been duly commenced in the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of Ohio, it appeared in the course of the evidence then taken that there were two lotteries, called respectively the "H" or "Henry Lottery," and the "K" or "Kentucky Lottery," both of which were carried on in Covington, Kentucky, under the management of one of the plaintiffs in error, the others being engaged in the business under his direction.

Witnesses for the government testified to the manner in which the lotteries in question were conducted. It was shown by their evidence that the main office where the drawing was done was situated on the Kentucky side of the river and in the city of Covington. There was a drawing twice in each day for each lottery. The drawing in each case was from a glass wheel in which the numbers, from 1 to 78, were placed, and one number was drawn out at a time until 12 had been drawn. The betting is in regard to the sequence in which the numbers will be drawn from the wheel, and three numbers are usually chosen, such for instance as 7, 28, 16. This is called a "gig." If the player bet on these numbers and they are drawn from the wheel in that order, he has won his bet. There are agents for these lotteries, as some of the witnesses said, "in every street in Cincinnati." An agent has an office consisting of a single room, where he receives persons who

[ 164 U.S. Page 679]

     propose to patronize the lottery. The person, coming to the office, chooses his numbers; the agent gives him a paper containing nothing but the numbers and in the sequence which he has chosen, two copies of which the agent keeps. At a certain hour before the drawing of the lottery in Covington, each agent in Cincinnati sends his messenger with a paper showing the various numbers chosen and the amounts bet, and he also sends the money, less his commissions, to the main office across the river. These messengers must arrive a certain time before the drawing or they will not be permitted to share in the drawing which is then about to take place. After the drawing, what is termed an "official print" is made, which consists of a printed sheet showing the numbers in their consecutive order as they came out of the wheel and on the line beneath, the numbers are arranged in their natural order. This "official print" is in the form of a book, and after the drawing it is returned to the agent in Cincinnati, who on his part sends it back again just prior to the next drawing. In addition to the "official print," these messengers, after the drawing has been had, bring back to the agents at Cincinnati what is known as "hit-slips." These are slips of paper with nothing but the winning numbers on them, together with a statement of a sum in dollars. The agent understands this named sum to be the amount payable to those who have won upon the last drawing. The identification of the drawing at which the winning numbers came out is made by numbering each drawing. The money to the amount named on the paper is brought over by the messenger to the agent in Cincinnati.

Some of these messengers were arrested as they were coming from Covington, walking across the bridge, and just as they came to the Cincinnati side. They had with them in their pockets the official sheet and the hit-slips, as above described, containing the result of the drawing, which had just been concluded at Covington. They had the money to pay the bets, and were on their way to the various agents in the city of Cincinnati. Procuring the carrying of these papers was the overt act towards the accomplishment of the

[ 164 U.S. Page 680]

     conspiracy upon which the conviction of plaintiffs ...


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