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United States v. Spino

April 9, 1965

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JOSEPH NELLO SPINO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Author: Knoch

Before KNOCH, CASTLE and KILEY, Circuit Judges.

KNOCH, Circuit Judge.

Defendant, Joseph Nello Spino, was charged in a four-count indictment with (two counts) interstate travel (between Illinois and Indiana) in aid of an unlawful activity under Indiana law in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1952, and with (two counts) wilfully and knowingly making, subscribing, and filing a false wagering tax return on May 4 and May 31, 1962, by failing to list four agents (other than the one he had listed) who were receiving wagers on defendant's behalf, in violation of Title 26 U.S.C. § 7206 (1).

The jury found defendant guilty on all four counts. He was sentenced to serve eighteen months on each count, concurrently, and fined $3,000.

Defendant lists the following as errors:

"1. The verdict is not supported by substantial evidence such as to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"2. The court erred in denying defendant's motions for judgment of acquittal as to each count of the indictment.

"3. The prosecutor committed prejudicial misconduct during his summation and argument to the jury, testifying to them as a fact his inside mis-information.

"4. Title 18, U.S.C.A. Interstate Travel in Aid of Racketeering is unconstitutional."

Title 18, U.S.C. § 1952, prohibits travel in interstate commerce by any mode of transport with the intent to promote, carry on, or facilitate the carrying on of a business enterprise involving gambling in violation of the laws of the state where it is carried on. United States v. Zizzo, 7 Cir., 1964, 338 F.2d 577. In that decision, at page 579, this Court upheld the constitutionality of the statute.

We must view the evidence, of course, in the light most favorable to the government and may reject no inferences properly deducible from that evidence. United States v. Shaffer, 7 Cir., 1961, 291 F.2d 689, 691; Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60, 80, 62 S. Ct. 457, 86 L. Ed. 680 (1942); United States v. Coduto, 7 Cir., 1960, 284 F.2d 464, 466.

Defendant was under extensive surveillance by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Treasury Department, whose testimony was offered at the defendant's trial. These special agents testified to numerous instances of defendant's interstate travel between locations in Chicago and Cicero, Illinois, to 3460 Pennsylvania Avenue, East Chicago, Indiana, where gambling activity in violation of Indiana Statutes ( §§ 10-2304, 10-2307, 10-2312, Burns' Ind.Stat.1956 Replacement) was in operation. A representative of the Illinois Bell Telephone Company testified to telephone calls between defendant's home in Chicago and the East Chicago, Indiana, location.

There was further testimony from which the jury could reasonably have concluded that defendant was the man in charge of the operations in East Chicago, and the jury could have inferred with equal reason that he was being financed by sources in Chicago, Illinois.

Defendant states that he did not operate the East Chicago establishment until June, 1962, when he took over a lease from Frank Santos, also known as Efrain Frank Santos, who had rented the premises in December, 1961, and who paid the rent until June 1, 1962. Mr. Santos testified that he brought in a pool table and a poker table which he later removed to allow one Johnny Reveira to bring in a Monte table and equipment for Bolita, a numbers game played with a cage of ping pong balls, on which bets could be brought in for bettors who were not present at the drawings.Special Agent Michael Gonzales testified to placing Bolita bets in May and June, 1962, with Castro Rosado, Genaro Ruiz, ...


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