The opinion of the court was delivered by: Juergens, Chief Judge.
This matter is before the Court upon the propriety of accepting
a plea of NOLO CONTENDERE on behalf of the defendant, Minnesota
Mining and Manufacturing Company.
The Court has never looked with favor upon such pleas. At a
hearing on October 20, 1965, the government stated it did not
oppose the acceptance of such a plea.
The primary question in the acceptance of a nolo contendere
plea is whether or not under all the circumstances it is
justified and whether or not the public interest will be better
served by the acceptance of such a plea.
Frankly speaking, it is very difficult for this Court to
justify the acceptance of a nolo plea in any criminal case. The
defendant or defendants are either guilty or they are not guilty.
I am assuming since the government does not oppose the
acceptance of the plea, and in fact agrees that the Court should
accept such a plea, that its position is that there is
justification for the acceptance of such a plea and that there is
no harm to the public. But, on the other hand, we might
conjecture that there will be a tremendous advantage to the
defendant by the Court accepting its nolo contendere plea.
In view of the statements of counsel for the government made
both orally and in written briefs and in view of the
interpretation that the Court places on the government's position
in not opposing such a plea that no public harm would ensue in
accepting the nolo contendere plea and in spite of this Court's
disfavor of such a plea, I did accept the plea of nolo contendere
of this defendant. The record so shows.
Each party to this cause submitted material relating to
sentencing ex parte in camera on December 3, 1965, for this Court
to consider in imposing a penalty on this defendant for violating
the Sherman Anti-Trust laws of the United States.
For all purposes so far as penalties are concerned, a plea of
nolo contendere is in effect a plea of guilty before this Court.
The fact that the Court has agreed to accept a nolo contendere
plea does not mean that the defendant can expect to receive any
less or any more consideration than it would have received had
the plea been that of guilty. For all intents and purposes the
defendant stands before this Court convicted by its own plea.
The grand jury for the Eastern District of Illinois returned a
nine count indictment. The defendant has plead nolo contendere to
Counts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 and thereby recognizes that by tendering
pleas of nolo contendere to the foregoing counts of the
indictment, it is admitting its guilt to those counts for
purposes of this criminal case. I have been informed that the
government will dismiss Counts 5, 6, 8 and 9.
The grand jury returned an indictment containing many similar
charges with respect to each of the three industries which 3M
undertook to dominate, namely, (1) pressure sensitive tape, (2)
magnetic recording media and (3) aluminum presensitized
lithographic plates, by employing or attempting to employ in each
of them a system of coercing competitors into accepting highly
restrictive license agreements.
With regard to the tape industry — Count 1 charges an attempt
to monopolize; Count 2, conspiracy to restrain trade; and Count
3, conspiracy to monopolize.
With regard to the magnetic recording media (concerning which
this Court has some knowledge, having heard Armour Research
Foundation of Illinois Institute of Technology v. C.K. Williams &
Co., 170 F. Supp. ...