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United States v. Kilpatrick

decided: April 10, 1972.


Hastings, Senior Circuit Judge, Kiley, Circuit Judge, and Gordon, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Gordon

GORDON, District Judge.

The appellants Kilpatrick and Barker were each found guilty by the jury under the conspiracy count and three substantive counts under an indictment which charged them and thirteen others with violating certain laws of the United States relating to counterfeit money. In addition to the conspiracy count (count 1), Kilpatrick was convicted under counts 2, 5 and 11, and Barker was convicted under counts 8, 20, and 21.

Both Kilpatrick and Barker appeal their convictions, and three principal issues are advanced. First, the defendants urge that the evidence does not establish a single conspiracy but, instead, shows a series of unrelated transactions. Secondly, it is contended that it was improper to have admitted certain rebuttal testimony offered by the government. A third issue, advanced on behalf of Kilpatrick, is the claim that venue was incorrectly laid in the district court for the northern district of Illinois.

Both defendants were sentenced to five-year terms on the conspiracy count and to seven-year terms on each of the substantive counts, with all sentences to run concurrently.

The testimony in this case ran over a thousand pages, and our brief summary of it is principally designed to reflect some of the ways in which Kilpatrick and Barker were involved. Starting in the spring of 1967, Roy Morgan, who had access to counterfeit money in Alabama, offered to supply such money to the defendant Kilpatrick and Billy Lovell. Morgan claimed that at first Kilpatrick rejected the proposal, but when the offer was repeated, it was accepted. Don Baggett, Lovell's brother-in-law, testified that Lovell and Kilpatrick exhibited a counterfeit twenty dollar bill to him in Georgia in March, 1967; subsequently, on March 29, 1967, Baggett received $500.00 in counterfeit twenty dollar bills from Kilpatrick in Alabama.

Baggett then displayed the counterfeit twenty dollar bills to Connis Dukes in Chicago. A little later, Lovell, Baggett and Dukes drove to Alabama where the latter two persons paid $1200.00 for approximately $8,000.00 in counterfeit twenties, which were supplied by Lovell and Kilpatrick. Then Kilpatrick borrowed a 1965 Plymouth and drove Baggett and Dukes from Alabama to Chicago.

In May, 1967, Baggett first showed one of the counterfeit twenty dollar bills to Barker, who is the brother-in-law of Dukes. After making a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, Baggett returned to Chicago and sold $10,000.00 worth of the counterfeit twenty dollar bills to Barker for $2000.00.

In early June, 1967, Baggett again went to Nashville and this time was met by Kilpatrick and Lovell, who sold $80,000.00 worth of counterfeit bills to Baggett and Boris Mitcheff for an agreed purchase price of $4000.00. In July, 1967, Lovell came to Chicago with $60,000.00 worth of ten dollar counterfeit money which was sold to Baggett for 5% of the face value.

Baggett testified that he made four sales of counterfeit money, totalling $50,000.00, to Barker in the spring and summer of 1967. In addition to such purchases from Baggett, Barker negotiated with Lovell and Morgan about the purchase of counterfeit money. Morgan testified that he met Barker with Lovell in Cicero, Illinois, but no sale was consummated because Barker would not agree to the price that was proposed.


The appellants urge that the evidence shows a "series of similar but unrelated dealings." Taken as a whole, however, we believe that the testimony was sufficient to establish the existence of a unitary conspiracy. There was ample evidence presented from which the trier of fact could conclude that this was not a disconnected series of independent transactions, but rather was a unified project in which Kilpatrick and Barker not only played significant roles, but also were aware of the activities of the other affiliated participants.

Upon the evidence presented, the jurors could properly believe that Kilpatrick and Barker had knowledge of the interlocking alliances which were employed in carrying out the counterfeit money distribution scheme. With Baggett as the connecting link, the roles of the various participants were tied together. It may not be said that the roles of Kilpatrick and Barker were isolated, minimal, or episodic. The events took place within a relatively limited period of time. In the words of United States v. Nasse, 432 F.2d 1293, 1297 (7th Cir. 1970), cert. denied 401 U.S. 938, 91 S. Ct. 928, 28 L. Ed. 2d 217 (1971), cert. denied sub nom. David v. United States, 402 U.S. 983, 91 S. Ct. 1657, 29 L. Ed. 2d 148 (1971),

". . . the defendants knew that illegal acts on the part of a chain of participants . . . were ...

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