Leary v. United States 395 U.S. 6 (1969)

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LEARY v. UNITED STATES 395 U.S. 6 (1969)

Timothy Leary, a celebrated 1960s connoisseur of mind-altering substances, was found in possession of marijuana and convicted of (1) failure to pay the federal marijuana tax; and (2) transportation and concealment of marijuana, knowing it had been illegally imported into the country. A unanimous Supreme Court held both convictions unconstitutional. Paying the tax would have incriminated Leary under state law; his omission to pay was justified by his right against self-incrimination. His other conviction had rested on a statutory presumption that a person in possession of marijuana knew it had been illegally imported. This presumption was irrational; much marijuana was grown in the United States. The presumption thus violated procedural due process.

Kenneth L. Karst
(1986)

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Leary v. United States 395 U.S. 6 (1969)

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