Eugene V. Debs was indicted on four counts under the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917, c. 30, Tit. 1, § 3, 40 Stat. 219, as amended by the Act of May 16, 1918, c. 75, § 1, 40 Stat. 553. Two counts remained for the Supreme Court to condider. The first alleged that, on or about June 16, 1918, at Canton, Ohio, the defendant caused and incited and attempted to cause and incite insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny and refusal of duty in the military and naval forces of the United States and with intent so to do delivered, to an assembly of people, a public speech. The second alleged that he obstructed and attempted to obstruct the recruiting and enlistment service of the United States and to that end and with that intent delivered the same speech.

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The Espionage Act (June 15, 1917, c. 30, Title I, § 3, 40 Stat. 217, 219) provides that: "Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States . . . shall be punished." Sugarman was charged with having violated this section on July 24, 1917, by words spoken in an address made at a Socialist meeting which was attended by many registrants under the Selective Service Act, sustained in Selective Draft Law Cases, 245 U.S. 366. He was tried in the District Court of the United States for the District of Minnesota, found guilty by the jury, and sentenced. See 245 Fed. Rep. 604. Thirty-one exceptions were taken to rulings of the trial judge. Instead of seeking review by the Circuit Court of Appeals under § 128 of the Judicial Code, the case is brought here under § 238.

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