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United States v. Green

February 12, 1964


Author: Kiley

Before HASTINGS, Chief Judge, and KNOCH and KILEY, Circuit Judges.

KILEY, Circuit Judge.

Appellants appeal from their conviction, by a jury, after a thirteen day trial on an indictment charging a conspiracy to violate the narcotics law*fn1 The five appeals were consolidated in this court.

In deciding the issue whether there was evidence upon which the jury could infer guilt of defendants beyond a reasonable doubt, we must take the testimony and reasonable inferences most favorable to the government. United States v. Glasser, 315 U.S. 60, 80, 62 S. Ct. 457, 86 L. Ed. 680 (1942), United States v. Micele, 327 F.2d 222 (7th Cir. 1964).

Thigpen*fn2, at defendant Spurlark's direction, purchased narcotics from Katy Lewis from 1951 through 1956. After her death in 1956 Spurlark directed Thigpen to purchase from defendant Willard Jones*fn3 In 1958 Spurlark directed him to pick up narcotics from defendant Gladys Davis. In 1958 Thigpen twice sold narcotics received from Spurlark to Narcotics Agent Bailey. From 1952 to 1955 witness*fn4 Wilson purchased narcotics from Spurlark and Lewis. He also arranged for his wife to purchase from them. Later Wilson bought narcotics from defendant Green and Green told him "you know Ted [Spurlark] and I are in business together * * * my partner." Witness William Smith purchased narcotics from Spurlark in 1953 and 1954 and thereafter from Katy Lewis until her death. After her death, Smith, at Spurlark's direction, bought narcotics from Jones and then from Gladys Davis. From 1952 to 1954 Evans*fn5 bought narcotics from Green, and later from Spurlark and Katy Lewis. In 1955 Spurlark told witness Mardis that he was putting Green "in charge of all activity on the west side."

In 1955, in a conversation at which Evans, Green, Spurlark and Mardis were present, Evans was told Green was to take over the sale of narcotics on the west side. Late in 1955, with Green's permission, Evans and defendant Faulkner "combined" their business for the sale of narcotics on the west side for a few months. In june of 1956 Faulkner and Spurlark brought narcotics back from New York to relieve a "shortage" in Chicago. Evans purchased narcotics from Green from 1955 to 1959 except for a two month period when, in Green's absence, he bought from Faulkner.

Witness Rouzer of Detroit made several purchases from Spurlark in 1955. In 1958, at Spurlark's direction, Rouzer twice went to Gladys Davis' apartment to await narcotics deliveries. And twice Spurlark sent Gladys Davis to Detroit to get money from Rouzer for Spurlark.

It is needless to detail more of the testimony which amply justified the jury in the inference that at the center of this narcotics web was Spurlark, holding it together, and operating from the Rodeo Lounge on Chicago's south side, through Dennis Green, Evans and Faulkner on the west side, and through the late Katy Lewis, Jones and Gladys Davis on the south side.

The testimony against defendant Gayles, an attorney, did not link him in any way with the sale or distribution of the narcotics. There is testimony favorable to the prosecution, however, and the inferences the jury could reasonably draw, to show that he was more than an attorney for the defendants; and that he knowingly participated intentionally, Direct Sales Co. v. United States, 319 U.S. 703, 711, 63 S. Ct. 1265, 87 L. Ed. 1674 (1943), in aiding his co-defendants, and others, from late 1954 to 1959, in carrying out their illegal enterprise: "After 1953" he was a manager, along with defendant Green, in the Morticians Underwriters Association, in which Spurlark and Faulkner had made investments. Gayles was present at the meeting and conversations in his home attended by Spurlark, Wilson, and police officers who were planning the arrest of "Big John," a competitor of Spurlark's whom the latter said "some people" wanted to "bust." Gayles told Wilson to be careful about telephones and tape recorders, and to use gloves when handling packages because the police "will be trying to get" him. Gayles told Evans and Faulkner to stay away "from around the Setup" tavern because police officers were looking for them. He told Evans that he would need "five hundred" to fix a case, after confirming that Green would vouch for the money.

There is no merit to the contention of defendants that more than one conspiracy was shown, to their prejudice, by the evidence, or that the evidence showed merely a number of unrelated episodes*fn6 There is testimony to show that Spurlark, beginning in 1952, was the source from which the narcotics flowed to his south and west side minions; and that Gladys Davis, Evans and Faulkner operated to some extent on both the south and west sides of the distribution structure. The jury could infer from this evidence that each defendant knew, or should have known, of the conspiracy. Poliafico v. United States, 237 F.2d 97 (6th Cir. 1956), cert. denied, 352 U.S. 1025, 77 S. Ct. 590, 1 L. Ed. 2d 597 (1957). It was not necessary that each co-conspirator knew all others or that each witness mention all, or that each one be involved throughout the entire span of seven years. United States v. Micele, 327 F.2d 222 (7th Cir. 1964). A fluctuation of the membership during the span of this record of continuous activity cannot be compared to the facts in United States v. Russano, 257 F.2d 712 (2d Cir. 1958), where the evidence established two conspiracies, with a break between the two. The rule in Kotteakos v. United States, 328 U.S. 750, 66 S. Ct. 1239, 90 L. Ed. 1557 (1946), is not applicable here, because the evidence shows but one conspiracy with Spurlark at the center and several conspirators radiating from him. The trial court properly denied motions for severance on grounds of variance or misjoinder.

Since the cases of Johnson and Williams were severed during trial, there is no merit to Gayles' contention of prejudicial joinder. The court, in ruling against Gayles' proffer of testimony of his pre-conspiracy participation in arrests of co-defendants, weighed the probable prejudice to Spurlark and Green against the probable gain to Gayles from the testimony. We see no abuse of discretion in the ruling, and cannot see error in denying him a severance because he could not, otherwise, introduce the testimony.

Gayles proffered an instruction which told the jury that Gayles' representation of co-defendants for narcotics violations was insufficient to prove his participation or membership in the conspiracy. It then went on to state, in the abstract, rights and duties of attorneys*fn7 in defense of alleged violations of law. The trial court read this instruction as tending to direct a verdict of not guilty, and added the following cautionary paragraph:

"You are not to infer from the foregoing however, that an attorney has any special status which permits him to perform an unlawful act, or to join an unlawful conspiracy, nor may he knowingly assist a client to commit an unlawful act or to further an unlawful conspiracy."

We cannot say the court misread the proffered instruction, nor that the modification directed a guilty verdict or otherwise prejudiced Gayles, nor that the ...

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