MR. CHIEF JUSTICE TAFT delivered the opinion of the Court.
This is a review of a sentence against the petitioners upon a criminal information, filed in the District Court of the United States for Porto Rico, charging in the first count possession, and in the second count transportation, of intoxicating liquors in violation of the National Prohibition Act. The conviction on the possession count was set aside by the Circuit Court of Appeals, so that only the second count is here involved. Upon arraignment, petitioners waived a reading of the information and pleaded not guilty. Their counsel thereupon requested that they be furnished with a copy of the information free of charge. The request was denied by the court and an exception noted, the trial court stating that the defendants and their counsel were free to examine the information and to make copies themselves, or have the clerk make them on payment of his fee.
At the trial, Alfonso Ceballos, Chief of Police at Carolina, Porto Rico, testified for the prosecution that, having received a confidential telephone message that Segurola was driving a Buick automobile with a load of liquor from
In the cross-examination, Ceballos was asked who gave him the information by telephone. Counsel for the Government objected that "they are the secrets of the police force, which should not be stated in a court of justice, and the stating of the source of such information would be against public policy." The objection was sustained and an exception noted. Evidence was given of the alcoholic content of the liquor and the identity of that examined with that seized. When the liquor was offered and received in evidence, it was objected to on the ground that it had not been properly identified, but the objection was overruled and the liquor admitted. Thereafter, counsel for the defendants moved to suppress the liquor, as evidence, on the ground that the search was without a warrant and did not appear to have been made upon probable cause, and, also, for the reason that, upon the issue of probable cause, defendants were not permitted to cross-examine the seizing officer as to the person from whom he
The case was carried upon writ of error to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. 16 Fed. (2d) 563. That Court affirmed the judgment, holding that the refusal to furnish a copy of the information without payment of a fee to the clerk was right and, even if erroneous, was, under the circumstances, a harmless error; that the refusal to permit cross-examination of the officer as to his informant in respect to the coming of Segurola and the contents of his car was in accord with approved public policy and that the circumstances constituted probable cause for a legal seizure.
The error assigned to the failure to direct the delivery of a copy of the information rests on the second section of the Organic Act of Porto Rico, — Act of March 2, 1917, c. 145, 39 Stat. 951, U.S.C., Title 48, § 737, in which it is provided that "in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to have the assistance of counsel for his defense, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to have a copy thereof, to have a speedy and public trial, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor." The district judge held that this did not mean that the defendant was to have a copy of the information without paying the regular copying fees to the clerk. We think this was an erroneous construction of the statute. It was enacted by Congress to apply in a country where there were two languages, and in which a
The questions which have been chiefly argued here are, first, the correctness of the refusal of the court to allow the police officer to be cross-examined as to the name of the person who communicated to him the information that the defendants were engaged in transporting liquor in a Buick car; and, second, the question of the existence of probable cause to justify the seizure of the automobile under the circumstances shown.
We think that these two questions do not arise, and that the judgment should be affirmed, without regard to the proper answer to them. The results of the search
As there was no evidence introduced by the defendants to refute or deny the testimony unobjected to, which clearly showed the illegal transportation of the liquor and sustained the verdict, the admission in evidence of the liquor and the refusal to permit cross-examination of Ceballos worked no prejudice for which a reversal can be granted. Moreover, the principle laid down by this Court in Adams v. New York, 192 U.S. 585, and recognized as proper in Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 395, and in Marron v. United States, post, p. 192, applies to render unavailing, under the circumstances of this case, the objection to the use of the liquor as evidence based on the Fourth Amendment. This principle is that, except where there has been no opportunity to present the matter in advance of trial, Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298, 305; Amos v. United States, 255 U.S. 313, 316; Agnello v. United States, 269 U.S. 20, 34, a court, when engaged in trying a criminal case, will not take notice of
On behalf of Santiago, the companion of Segurola in the Buick, it is urged that there was no evidence to justify his conviction and that his is a case of poor dog Tray. He accompanied Segurola from Luquillo to Carolina and in the race of cars which occurred on that trip. There were 188 bottles of liquor lying loose in eleven sacks in a box back of the seat under him in the Buick. He could hardly have been unconscious of their presence. The seizing officer said that Santiago was present and saw the liquor as seized. But Santiago testified that he didn't see the liquor and did not know why he and his companion were being taken to the station. In view of the jar of the collision of the Buick with the electric wire post and the exciting race between the cars and the contradicting evidence of the government witnesses, the jury evidently
The judgment is