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229. Particular Allegations—Place of Offense

Under early English law, when jurors were also witnesses summoned from the vicinage, the sheriff needed to know where the crime was committed in order to summon the proper jury. However, under current Federal law, the indictment or information need not allege a place where the offense occurred. Uniformly indictments allege that the crime took place "in the . . . District of . . ." but omit any reference to such particulars as State, county, city, or township. "Most authorities assume that an allegation is sufficient after verdict which shows it (the crime) to have been done within the jurisdiction of the court." See Ledbetter v. United States, 170 U.S. 606, 613 (1898).

Where place is an element of the offense, however, it must be set out. For example, in an indictment under 18 U.S.C. § 2312, interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle, the State from which the vehicle was taken and into which it was transported should be named, these being essential to the offense.

An allegation that the bank robbery occurred "in the State and District of New Jersey" met the requirements of an indictment. See United States v. Bujese, 371 F.2d 120 (3d Cir. 1967). Likewise, it was sufficient that acts of bribery occurred in "the Western District of Texas." See United States v. Sutherland, 656 F.2d 1181 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 949 (1982). "[I]t is well established that an indictment is not legally insufficient for failure to include . . . an allegation [as to the place where the crime occurred]." See United States v. Honneus, 508 F.2d 566, 570 (1st Cir. 1974), cert. denied, 421 U.S. 948 (1975). Even when an indictment alleged that a murder took place in the town of Popular instead of Brackton, and the indictment was therefore dismissed by the government after the jury had been impaneled, the indictment was sufficient to support a defense of double jeopardy against the subsequent, corrected indictment. See United States v. LeMay, 330 F. Supp. 628 (D. Mont. 1971).

[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 231]

Updated January 22, 2020