Morissette v. United States

September 18, 2017

Attorneys Barbara Hunyady & Megan Mulder attended the ceremony for the admission of the Morissette exhibit at the Genesee County Circuit Court. This photograph was used by Flint Attorney Andrew Jackson Transue to support his argument at the U.S. Supreme Court was put on permanent display at the Genesee County Courthouse.


Morissette v. United States, 342 U.S. 246(1952), is a U.S. Supreme Court case, relevant to the legal topic of criminal intent. Attorney Transue defended Morissette who was a recycler that collected spent bomb casings from an air force practice bombing range, thinking they were abandoned, then sold them as scrap metal for $84.00. He was charged and convicted of "knowingly" converting government property to himself or the junk dealer. He defended that he honestly believed the casings were abandoned, and appealed. The Supreme Court reversed the conviction on the basis that "an injury can amount to a crime only when inflicted by intention", that the person must intend to commit a crime.


This case remains an integral part of our criminal justice system and is a case law students study to this day.


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