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United States v. Panczko

September 28, 1966

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
PAUL PANCZKO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Schnackenberg, Swygert and Cummings, Circuit Judges.

Author: Schnackenberg

SCHNACKENBERG, Circuit Judge.

Paul Panczko, defendant, appeals from a judgment of the district court convicting him on both counts of an indictment, which in count I charged him and Guy Mendola (who died before the return of the indictment), Paul Vincent Lacinak, Robert E. Connors and Granville Lee Turner, with a conspiracy to pass and sell certain counterfeit United States federal reserve notes. Trial was by jury. Several overt acts were alleged and reliance was placed on Title 18 United States Code § 371.

Panczko was charged in count II with a violation of § 473; 18 U.S.C. in that he did sell, transfer and deliver to Lacinak certain federal reserve notes, knowing them to be counterfeit.

Panczko was sentenced to imprisonment for five years on count I and ten years on count II, the sentences to run consecutively.

1. The government called Lacinak and several others as its witnesses. We have examined this evidence and find that the jury was justified in finding that the evidence supports the charges against Panczko. It is not necessary to analyze that evidence in detail, with one or two exceptions.

We have already had occasion to consider the nature of the proof which meets the requirements in a prosecution such as this. In United States v. Crowe, 7 Cir., 188 F.2d 209, at 212 (1951), we said:

"The record discloses that Crowe had control or possession of counterfeit bills, such as those described in the indictment. They were of no value to him unless he could get them into circulation and realize cash, or something of value. He was the general distributor. All the bills in evidence were traced back to him. Adrian Higgins visited Crowe's home several times and came out with a quantity of the counterfeit bills, some of which he passed, some he sold or gave to others to pass. * * *"

Moreover, at 213, we added:

"* * * Overt acts of the parties may be considered with other evidence and attending circumstances in determining whether a conspiracy exists, and where the overt acts are of a character which are usually, if not necessarily done pursuant to a previous scheme and plan, proof of the acts has a tendency to show such pre-existing conspiracy, so that when proven they may be considered as evidence of the conspiracy charged. United States v. Holt, 7 Cir., 108 F.2d 365."

To the same effect is United States v. Morris, 7 Cir., 225 F.2d 91, 93 (1955), cert. denied, 350 U.S. 901, 76 S. Ct. 179, 100 L. Ed. 792. We agree with government counsel that the evidence in the case at bar would support a reasonable inference that Mendola and Panczko, former prisonmates of Lacinak, gave Lacinak counterfeit money to pass in exchange for good money which they would share upon Lacinak's return to Chicago, and that the understanding among them was that Lacinak, with his wife and child as a cover, was to travel about the United States to accomplish a common purpose -- to pass the counterfeit money and return with good money.

2. We cannot agree with defense counsel that Panczko is entitled to have the judgment against him set aside on the ground that the government unreasonably delayed the bringing of its charges against him. They attempt to rely on the language of the sixth amendment to the constitution of the United States, because they say that it guarantees a "speedy" trial. However, they do admit that the indictment was returned within the period provided by the applicable statute of limitations. Certainly the government is entitled to a reasonable time in which to investigate a case such as this, and prepare it for prosecution, limited only by the statute of limitations.*fn1

Many years ago Mr. Justice McKenna said in Beavers v. Haubert, 198 U.S. 77, 87, 25 S. Ct. 573, 576, 49 L. Ed. 950 (1905):

"* * * The right of a speedy trial is necessarily relative. It is consistent with delays and depends upon circumstances. It secures rights to a defendant. It does not ...


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