Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
The indictment shall contain the elements of the offense intended to be charged. It shall sufficiently apprise the defendant of what he must be prepared to meet, and whether the record shows with accuracy to what extent he may plead a former acquittal or conviction.
The petitioners in these six cases were convicted of violating 2 U. S. C. § 192, which makes it a misdemeanor for any person summoned to testify before a committee of Congress to refuse to answer "any question pertinent to the question under inquiry." In each case the indictment returned by the grand jury stated that the questions to which answers were refused "were pertinent to the question then under inquiry" by the subcommittee; but it failed to identify the subject under subcommittee inquiry when the witness was interrogated. In each case a motion was filed to quash the indictment before trial for failure to state the subject under inquiry; but in each case the motion was denied.
Did the omissions from the indictments of the subject under congressional committee inquiry violate petitioners' rights under U.S. Const. amend. VI?
The Court held that pursuant to U.S. Const. amend. VI, an accused shall enjoy the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation. The grand jury indictment required by 2 U. S. C. § 194 as a prerequisite to a prosecution for a violation of § 192 must state the question which was under inquiry at the time of the defendant's alleged default or refusal to answer, as found by the grand jury. Accordingly, the court reversed the convictions, and held that an indictment must identify the subject under inquiry.