The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 272: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States and the Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, June-August, 1921. Page: 43
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WIGGINS V. UNITED STATES G6
the same, is hereby declared to be a common nuisance, and any person who
maintains such a common nuisance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon
conviction thereof shall be fined not more than $1,000 or be imprisoned for
not more than one year, or both. If a person has knowledge or reason to be-
lieve that his room, house, building, boat, vehicle, structure, or place is occu-
pieu or used for the manufacture or sale of liquor contrary to the provision
or this title, and suffers the same to be so occupied or used, such room, house,
building, boat, vehicle, structure, or place shall be subject to a lien for and
may be sold to pay all fines and costs assessed against the person guilty of
such nuisance for such violation, and any such lien may be enforced by action
in any court having jurisdiction."
The statute thus makes any room or place where intoxicating liquor
is manufactured, sold, kept, or bartered in violation of the act, and
all intoxicating liquor and property kept and used in maintaining the
same, a common nuisance, and makes any person who maintains such
a common nuisance guilty of a misdemeanor and liable to the penalty
of the law. To convict the defendant of the offense charged in the
information against him, it was necessary to prove he was a person
maintaining a common nuisance as defined in the statute.
As to the defendant's ownership of the premises there is evidence in
the record showing that the bartender, after his arrest, sent for Wig-
gins, and that in a short time Wiggins came into the place while the
officers were still there, and got into conversation with them He ask-
ed one of the officers, "Can't we do anything about this?" He was
asked, "Who are you, the proprietor?" He answered "Yes." One
of the police officers testified as follows:
"Q. Did you have any conversation with him? A. I was standing in the
rear of the store, the rear room, and he came over to me; he said: 'What is
the trouble?' I told him the bartender was arrested for selling liquor, and h"
said, 'Jesus,' he said, 'This is too bad; I am only after coming from court.'
He said. 'Are there anything can be done'' I said, 'Not that I know of.' He
said, 'Well, what are you waiting for?' I said, 'Why, we are seizing al this
liquor back of the bar' Just directly in back of the mirrors of the bar was a
room He said. 'That is terrible; that is only in here a couple of days; I
only got that in here a couple of days ago.' He said, 'Are there any chance
of my getting some of it out?' I said, 'No; there is not any.' I said, 'Deane
just notified the revenue department and they are sending men up to
heize it' He said, 'That is a lot of expense to lose all that' He said, 'Are
there anything we can do at all?' I said, 'Absolutely nothing.' "
The defendant made statements to other officers admitting ownership
of the liquors and his desire to keep the liquors which had been seized.
The admissions of a defendant, made voluntarily, and not impeached
as having been made involuntarily, are strong evidence of the truth
of what they purport to say. As there was, evidence that the defendant
admitted that he was the proprietor of the place and that he owned the
liquors, the court could not have done otherwise than send the case
to the jury, and there was no error in overruling the motion to dismiss.
It appears that after the bartender was placed under arrest he
handed a key to one of the officers, and the latter used it to unlock a
closet, which the officers opened and liquor secreted therein was taken
into their possession. The four bottles previously referred to in the
preliminary statement were produced at the trial and marked for iden-
tification; subsequently, when the chemist was on the stand, these
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The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 272: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States and the Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, June-August, 1921., legislative document, 1921; Saint Paul, Minnesota. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38843/m1/65/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.