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Stegeman v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

April 22, 1970

No. 22171


 [*985]  BROWNING, Circuit Judge:

The Stegemans were convicted of violations of 18 U.S.C. § 152. Count One of the indictment alleged that involuntary petitions in bankruptcy were filed against them in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon on December 15, 1960, and that, earlier the same month, in contemplation of bankruptcy proceedings, they knowingly and fraudulently transferred certain property from the District of Oregon to Canada. Count Two alleged that after the filing of the petition in bankruptcy they knowingly and fraudulently concealed within the District of Oregon certain property belonging to their bankruptcy estates.

The Stegemans do not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. They rely instead upon specifications of error in the refusal of a requested instruction and in the admission of evidence.

In connection with the charge in Count Two, the Stegemans contend that it was error for the district court to refuse to instruct [**2]  the jury that because the Stegemans were in Canada beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the district court from the date of the institution of the bankruptcy proceedings until the Stegemans were extradited to this country for prosecution, they had no duty to disclose their assets but only to refrain from affirmative acts of concealment within the District of Oregon. The Stegemans urge that 18 U.S.C. § 152 is not violated by a mere failure of a bankrupt to disclose, absent a duty to disclose; that the only basis for such a duty is section 7(a) (8) of the Bankruptcy Act, 11 U.S.C. § 25(a) (8), requiring a bankrupt to file a schedule of his assets; and that this section is applicable only to debtors who have been personally served within the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court.

No prior personal service upon the Stegemans was required to compel their obedience to 18 U.S.C. § 152. "] The jurisdiction of the United States over its absent citizen, so far as the binding effect of its legislation is concerned, is a jurisdiction in personam, as he is personally bound to take notice of the laws that are applicable [**3]  to him and to obey them." Blackmer v. United States, 284 U.S. 421, 438, 52 S. Ct. 252, 255, 76 L. Ed. 375 (1932). Hence, if Congress intended 18 U.S.C. § 152 to apply to conduct outside the United States, and if the Stegemans' failure to disclose was included within the conduct prohibited, the instruction was properly refused.

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425 F.2d 984 *; 1970 U.S. App. LEXIS 9632 **

Fred H. STEGEMAN and Ione E. Stegeman, Appellants, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee

Disposition:  [**1]   The convictions are affirmed.


concealment, bankrupt

Criminal Law & Procedure, Fraud, Bankruptcy Fraud, General Overview, Jurisdiction & Venue, Venue, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, International Law, Foreign & International Immunity, Sovereign Immunity, Bankruptcy Law, Case Administration, Bankruptcy Crimes, Elements, Penalties, Debtor Benefits & Duties, Commencement of Case, Statute of Limitations, Time Limitations, Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Procedural Due Process, Scope of Protection