Samuels v. McCurdy

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Samuels v. McCurdy
Argued January 22, 1925
Decided March 2, 1925
Full case nameSamuels v. McCurdy, Sheriff of DeKalb County, Georgia
Citations267 U.S. 188 (more)
45 S. Ct. 264; 69 L. Ed. 568; 1925 U.S. LEXIS 364; 37 A.L.R. 1378
Court membership
Chief Justice
William H. Taft
Associate Justices
Oliver W. Holmes Jr. · Willis Van Devanter
James C. McReynolds · Louis Brandeis
George Sutherland · Pierce Butler
Edward T. Sanford · Harlan F. Stone
Case opinions
MajorityTaft, joined by Holmes, Van Devanter, Brandeis, Sutherland, Sanford
Stone took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Samuels v. McCurdy, 267 U.S. 188 (1925), was a United States Supreme Court case regarding the application of ex post facto in the case where an object was legally purchased and possessed, but was then later banned by statute.


In 1917, Georgia's prohibition law became effective prior to federal prohibition with the Eighteenth Amendment. Sig Samuels legally purchased alcohol for personal use prior to the ban which the DeKalb County Sheriff seized with a valid search warrant after the law became effective.[1] Samuels sued for a return of his property for violating his due process. He also claimed the law was being applied in an ex post facto fashion because consumption per se was not forbidden by Georgia's law.

Opinion of the Court[edit]

The court found that ex post facto does not apply, because possession is an ongoing condition.

This law is not an ex post facto law. It does not provide a punishment for a past offense. It does not fix a penalty for the owner for having become possessed of the liquor. The penalty it imposes is for continuing to possess the liquor after the enactment of the law.

— Chief Justice Taft, writing for the court

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Samuels v. McCurdy, 267 U.S. 188 (1925).

External links[edit]