« PreviousContinue »
Opinion of the Court.
conspiracy, are to be considered as traitors." These two overt acts, if designed to speed up Japan's war production, plainly gave aid and comfort to the enemy in the constitutional sense.
The other overt acts were acts of cruelty to American prisoners of war.
Overt act (b) as alleged in the indictment and developed at the trial was that one Grant, an American prisoner, had been seen by a Japanese sentry coming out of the Red Cross storeroom with a package of cigarettes. He was thereupon thrown into a cesspool by a Japanese sergeant, ordered out, and knocked back repeatedly. While Grant was in the cesspool, petitioner hit him over the head with a wooden pole or sword, told him to squat down, and tried to force him to sit in the water. When Grant was taken from the pool, he was blue, his teeth were chattering, and he could not straighten up.
Overt act (c) as alleged in the indictment and developed at the trial was that in December, 1944, petitioner and Japanese guards lined up about 30 American prisoners and, as punishment for making articles of clothing out of blankets, struck them and forced them to strike each other. Petitioner hit prisoners who, he thought, did not hit each other hard enough.
Overt act (d) as alleged in the indictment and developed at the trial was that petitioner imposed cruelty on O'Connor, an American prisoner, who was sick and had stolen Red Cross supplies. He was knocked into the cesspool by Japanese soldiers and then repeatedly hit and thrown back into the pool by them and by petitioner, with the result that O'Connor temporarily lost his reason.
Overt act (g) as alleged in the indictment and developed at the trial was that in July or August, 1945, a Japanese sergeant compelled a work detail of American prisoners, who had returned early, to run around a quadrangle. Petitioner forced two of the Americans, who
Opinion of the Court.
were unable to run fast because of illness, to run the course an additional four and six times respectively. Petitioner threw pebbles and sod at them to make them run faster.
Overt act (i) as alleged in the indictment and developed at the trial was that in December, 1944, petitioner ordered one Carter, an American prisoner of war, to carry a heavy log up an ice-covered slope at the mine. When Carter slipped, fell, and was injured, petitioner although he knew Carter was badly hurt and needed attention delayed his removal back to camp for approximately five hours.
Overt act (k) as alleged in the indictment and developed at the trial was that in the spring or summer of 1945 petitioner participated in the inhuman punishment of one Shaffer, an American prisoner of war. Shaffer was forced to kneel on bamboo sticks on a platform with a bamboo stick inside the joints of his knees, and to keep his arms above his head holding a bucket of water and later a log. When Shaffer became tired and bent his elbows, petitioner would strike him. When Shaffer leaned over and spilled some water, petitioner would take the bucket, throw the water on Shaffer, and have the bucket refilled. Then Shaffer was required to hold up a log. It fell on him, causing a gash. After the wound was treated, petitioner placed bamboo sticks on the ground and once more made Shaffer kneel on them and go through the same performance.
As we have said, petitioner was not required by his employment to inflict punishment on the prisoners. His duties regarding the prisoners related solely to the role of interpreter. His acts of cruelty toward the prisoners were over and beyond the call of duty of his job, or so the jury might have found. We cannot say as a matter of law that petitioner did these acts under compulsion. He seeks, however, to find protection under Japanese municipal law. It is difficult to see how that argument helps
Opinion of the Court.
petitioner. The source of the law of treason is the Constitution. If an American citizen is a traitor by the constitutional definition, he gains no immunity because the same acts may have been unlawful under the law of the country where the acts were performed. Treason is a separate offense; treason can be committed by one who scrupulously observes the laws of other nations; and his acts may be nonetheless treasonable though the same conduct amounts to a different crime. It would take a long chapter to relate the numerous acts that supplement the crime of treason and build different and lesser crimes out of the same or related acts. See Cramer v. United States, supra, p. 45. But no matter the reach of the legislative power in defining other crimes, the constitutional requirements for treason remain the same. The crime of treason can be taken out of the Constitution by the processes of amendment; but there is no other way to modify or alter it.
The jury found that each of the six overt acts of cruelty actually gave aid and comfort to the enemy. These were not acts innocent and commonplace in appearance and gaining treasonable significance only by reference to other evidence, as in Cramer v. United States, supra. They were acts which showed more than sympathy with the enemy, more than a lack of zeal in the American cause, more than a breaking of allegiance to the United States. They showed conduct which actually promoted the cause of the enemy. They were acts which tended to strengthen the enemy and advance its interests. These acts in their setting would help make all the prisoners fearful, docile, and subservient. Because of these punishments the prisoners would be less likely to be troublesome; they would need fewer guards; they would require less watching. These acts would tend to give the enemy the "heart and courage to go on with the war." That was the test laid down by Lord Chief Justice Treby
Opinion of the Court.
in Trial of Captain Vaughan, 13 How. St. Tr. 485, 533. It is a sufficient measure of the overt act required by the Constitution. Cramer v. United States, supra, pp. 28, 29, 34. All of the overt acts tended to strengthen Japan's war efforts; all of them encouraged the enemy and advanced its interests.
Petitioner contends that the overt acts were not sufficiently proved by two witnesses. Each witness who testified to an overt act was, however, an eye-witness of the commission of that act. They were present and saw or heard that to which they testified. In some instances there was a variance as to details. Thus overt act (b) was testified to by thirteen witnesses. They did not all agree as to the exact date when the overt act occurred, whether in April, May, or June, 1945. But they all agreed that it did take place, that Grant was the victim, and that it happened between 3 and 6 o'clock in the afternoon; and most of them agreed that petitioner struck Grant. The Court of Appeals concluded, and we agree, that the disagreement among the witnesses was not on what took place but on collateral details. “While two witnesses must testify to the same act, it is not required that their testimony be identical.” Haupt v. United States, supra, p. 640. There is no doubt that as respects each of the eight overt acts the witnesses were all talking about the same incident and were describing the same conduct on petitioner's part.
Fourth. Petitioner challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to show the second element in the crime of treasonadhering to the enemy. The two-witness requirement does not extend to this element. Cramer v. United States, supra, p. 31. Intent to betray must be inferred from conduct. It may be inferred from the overt acts themselves (Cramer v. United States, supra, p. 31), from the defendant's own statements of his attitudes toward
Opinion of the Court.
the war effort (Haupt v. United States, supra, p. 642), and from his own professions of loyalty to Japan.
Evidence of what petitioner said during this period concerning the war effort and his professions of loyalty, if believed by the jury, leaves little doubt of his traitorous intent. “It looks like MacArthur took a run-out powder on you boys”; “The Japanese were a little superior to your American soldiers"; "You Americans don't have no chance. We will win the war.” “Well, you guys needn't be interested in when the war will be over because you won't go back; you will stay here and work. I will go back to the States because I am an American citizen"; "We will kill all you prisoners right here anyway, whether you win the war or lose it. You will never get to go back to the States”; “I will be glad when all of the Americans is dead, and then I can go home and live happy.” These are some of the statements petitioner made aligning himself with the Japanese cause. There was also evidence that he said that the prisoners would never go back to their wives and their families, that Japan would win the war and that he would return to the United States as an important man, that Japan would win if it took 100 years, that the Japanese were superior to the Americans and if the American Army had Japanese officers, they could whip the world, that there were more American boys who would be available to do the work, if the present prisoners were too weak to work. And on the day the work at the camp ended after Japan surrendered he commented, "You American bastards will be well fed" or "you will be getting fat from now on."
There was evidence that in May or June, 1945, petitioner said, "It don't make a damn to me which way the war goes because I am going back to the States anyway." At the trial he said he felt no loyalty to the United States during the period from March 1943 to December 1945,