United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois, S.D
January 6, 1954
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Platt, District Judge.
Robert L. Knetzer was found guilty of concealing assets from
his trustee in bankruptcy in violation of Title 18 U.S.C.A.
§ 152. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment, $5,000
fine, and to pay costs. The court in accordance with Rule
46(a)(2), Fed.Rules Crim.Proc., 18 U.S.C.A., admitted Mr.
Knetzer to bail, requiring an appearance bond which also
included a provision for the payment of fine and costs. Rule
38(a)(3), Fed.Rules Crim.Proc. While Mr. Knetzer was on bail
and the appeal was pending he died. The United States Court of
Appeals, Seventh Circuit, issued a mandate to the District
Court which stated in part:
"It having been shown of record that the sole
appellant Robert L. Knetzer died on August 25,
1953; that the appeal is one which can be
prosecuted only by said deceased; that no right
of appeal exists or can exist in any other person
and that the appeal is, by said death, fully and
entirely abated, now, therefore, upon stipulation
of counsel, the appeal is because of such
The United States applied to this court for forfeiture of the
bond and judgment against the sureties after making a written
demand for payment of fine and costs on each of them.
The question presented is whether the forfeiture of the bond
should be declared against the sureties after the death of the
principal. The obligation of the supersedeas bond was to pay
the fine and costs assessed against the principal. The
prosecution abated upon the death of the defendant. Singer v.
United States, 323 U.S. 338, 346, 65 S.Ct. 282, 89 L.Ed. 285;
United States v. Dunne, 9 Cir., 173 F. 254, affirming United
States v. Mitchell, C.C., 163 F. 1014. The punishment or
judgment was imposed upon the defendant personally as a result
of the prosecution and abated upon his death. Pino v. United
States, 7 Cir., 278 F. 479; United States v. Pomeroy, C.C.,
152 F. 279, reversed on other grounds 2 Cir., 164 F. 324;
United States v. Dunne, supra. The fine is a part and parcel
of the judgment or punishment, and also abated upon the death
of the defendant. United States v. Dunne, supra; United States
v. Mitchell, supra. The fine was not a debt of the deceased,
nor could it be collected from his estate. Dyar v. United
States, 5 Cir., 186 F. 614, 623; United States v. Mitchell,
supra; United States v. Pomeroy, supra. This is based upon
sound reason, since the administrator has no right to pursue
the appeal in a criminal case. United States v. Mook, 2 Cir.,
125 F.2d 706; Rossi v. United States, 8 Cir., 21 F.2d 747;
O'Sullivan v. People, 144 Ill. 604, 32 N.E. 192, 20 L.R.A.
143. Inasmuch as the obligation of the bond is to pay the fine
to the United States, and the fine has become extinct, the
government has nothing to collect, and the sureties are
The same reasoning applies to the costs which are incidental
to the judgment in a criminal proceeding. O'Sullivan
v. People, supra; State v. Kriechbaum, 219 Iowa 457,
258 N.W. 110, 96 A.L.R. 1317.
Forfeiture is therefore denied and order will be entered
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