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United States v. Cool

decided: April 26, 1972.


Knoch, Senior Circuit Judge and Stevens and Sprecher, Circuit Judges.

Author: Knoch

KNOCH, Senior Circuit Judge.

The Defendants, Michael Wyan Cool and Marilyn D. Cool, were found guilty in a jury trial of violating Title 18 U.S.C. ยง 472, in possessing and concealing, with intent to defraud, counterfeit obligations, securities of the United States. Michael Cool was sentenced to serve ten years and Marilyn Cool, three years. This appeal followed.

There were marked conflicts in the testimony providing several issues of fact which turned on the credibility of the witnesses. A few examples are set out below.

On June 2, 1970, the defendants and Robert E. Voyles traveled together from St. Louis, Missouri, to Brazil, Indiana. Mr. Voyles and Mrs. Cool testified that the Cools were driving to New York to visit a relative and Mr. Voyles was traveling with them. He said he planned to leave them at Detroit, Michigan, to visit his uncle in Pontiac. At the time he was testifying as a witness for the defendants, Mr. Voyles had already pleaded guilty to an indictment, one count of which charged him with acting in complicity with the defendants to possess and conceal about $8300 in counterfeit $20 Federal Reserve Notes. He testified that he was carrying this counterfeit in a satchel, but he denied that either of the defendants knew that the satchel which he had brought into the automobile contained counterfeit.

He testified further that, unbeknown to the defendants whom he left in a restaurant in Brazil with the excuse that he was going to visit friends, he did pass two counterfeit $20 bills. Other witnesses testified that he bought small items of women's wear in two stores in Brazil. He said that he got the keys to the automobile trunk in which he stowed the satchel from Mr. Cool. He testified that he took a few counterfeit bills only and concealed the sack containing the rest of the counterfeit under the front bumper by the headlight and then returned the keys to Mr. Cool in the restaurant.

As he was leaving the second store in which he had passed counterfeit, he was seen to approach a parked automobile in which both defendants were sitting, Mr. Cool at the wheel. Mr. Voyles was recognized by one of his earlier victims who pointed him out to two Brazil City Police Officers. He was seen entering the passenger side next to Mrs. Cool.

After his arrest, Mr. Voyles rode to the police station in the police car and the two defendants were asked to follow in their own automobile.

Mrs. Cool testified that when Mr. Voyles had not returned after about thirty minutes, knowing that Brazil was not a large town, she and her husband went to look for Mr. Voyles in the main section of town and had just seen him and pulled over to pick him up when the police arrived. Mr. Voyles testified to the same effect.

The jury could have discredited this explanation of the defendants' presence at the scene of the offense and concluded that they were in fact deliberately waiting to pick up Mr. Voyles knowing the real nature of his errand.

At the police station, the defendants were listed in the arrest reports as Alford and Marilyn Gibbs. Special Agent R. David Freriks testified that the defendants gave him their names as Marilyn and Alford Marvin Gibbs at their initial interview with him.

Mr. Voyles testified that he gave the name of Robert Gibbs as that was the name he was using. He said when he was out of town, he liked to have some kind of identification, even if it were not his own. Officer Harrison testified that Mr. Voyles said he and Mr. Cool were brothers. Mrs. Cool denied giving her name as other than "Marilyn," which Mr. Voyles corroborated, although her husband did give his name as "Gibbs." City Attorney and County Prosecutor John Baumunk testified that the defendants indicated that they were husband and wife.

Mrs. Cool explained this concerted use of the name "Gibbs." She testified that when all three entered the police station, Mr. Voyles had asked the defendants to give the name "Gibbs" because Mr. Voyles did not want his real name on record. She said that her husband complied with this request; she refused to do so.

At the time of her arrest, Mrs. Cool was carrying in her purse the total sum of $568.81 in valid currency arranged in little packets and stowed in various compartment of her purse. Mrs. Cool testified that all this money was the personal property of her husband and herself, that none of it was the proceeds of the various passings of counterfeit and that it was maintained in this fashion merely to keep it handy. Government counsel argued to the jury that it would be a reasonable inference that these individual packets represented the proceeds of individual transactions in ...

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