Callanan v. United States

364 U.S. 587

 

RULE:

The commission of a substantive offense and the conspiracy to commit it are separate and distinct offenses.

FACTS:

Petitioner was convicted of obstructing commerce by extortion and conspiracy to obstruct commerce by extortion in violation of the Hobbs Antiracketeering Act, 18 U.S.C.S. § 1951, and was sentenced to two consecutive 12-year sentences. Petitioner sought correction of the sentences and claimed that the crimes were merged and only one sentence should have been imposed. The appellate court affirmed the sentencing and order of the trial court, which held that the Hobbs Act gave no indication of a departure from the usual rule that a conspiracy and the substantive crime, which was its object, may be cumulatively punished. Petitioner appealed the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which affirmed the trial court's imposition of consecutive 12-year sentences for convictions for obstructing commerce by extortion and conspiracy to obstruct commerce by extortion in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 1951. Petitioner sought correction of the sentences.

ISSUE:

Is the commission of a substantive offense and the conspiracy to commit it separate and distinct offenses?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

On certiorari, the Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court and held that commission of the substantive offense and a conspiracy to commit it were separate and distinct offenses and the cumulative sentences imposed consecutively were not cumulative punishments, noting that the danger which a conspiracy generates is not confined to the substantive offense, which is the immediate aim of the enterprise. The court held that petitioner was convicted of violating two separate provisions of the Hobbs Act, whereby Congress defined two historically distinctive crimes composed of differing components and the two sentences, imposed consecutively, were appropriate.

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