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United States v. Hughes

November 13, 2002

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CHAD HUGHES AND GARY BOVEY, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. No. 00 CR 151--Rudy Lozano, Judge.

Before Coffey, Ripple and Manion, Circuit Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ripple, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED SEPTEMBER 5, 2002

A four-count indictment charged Chad Hughes and Gary Bovey with various offenses involving the production and distribution of counterfeit United States currency. Count I alleged that both individuals had conspired to make and to pass counterfeit currency; Count II alleged that both individuals had made counterfeit currency; and Counts III and IV charged them with passing counterfeit currency. After a jury trial, Mr. Hughes was convicted on all counts; he was sentenced to concurrent terms of 18 months' imprisonment on each count. Mr. Bovey was convicted on Counts I, II and III; he was sentenced to concurrent terms of 27 months' imprisonment on each count. A fine also was imposed on Mr. Hughes, and a period of supervised release and restitutionary obligations were imposed on each defendant. Both defendants now appeal to this court. For the reasons set forth in the following opinion, we affirm the judgments entered by the district court. *fn1

I. BACKGROUND

According to the Government's case at trial, Mr. Hughes and Mr. Bovey began producing counterfeit United States currency during 1996 or 1997. The pair produced the counterfeit bills with a Hewlett Packard ink jet printer that Mr. Bovey had stolen from an office supply store. Mr. Hughes and Mr. Bovey used bonded paper as well as colored ink to produce the bogus currency. At least one individual, Chris Ward, witnessed both defendants produce the fake bills.

In February 2000, Mr. Hughes and Mr. Bovey passed several counterfeit bills to unsuspecting merchants in the West Lafayette, Indiana area. For instance, Mr. Hughes paid for two purchases at a local tavern with counterfeit one hundred dollar bills. He also passed a counterfeit twenty dollar bill to a sales clerk at a Target store.

An investigation into the forged bills led authorities to Mr. Hughes and Mr. Bovey. When the investigators first contacted them about the counterfeit bills, both defendants indicated that they had not passed fake one hundred dollar bills on the days in question. These statements further strengthened the investigators' suspicions because, during these interviews, they had not mentioned the denomination of the phony currency. A grand jury returned a multi-count indictment against Mr. Hughes and Mr. Bovey for their involvement in the production and distribution of counterfeit currency.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Mr. Hughes

1.

Prior to trial, Mr. Hughes moved to dismiss the indictment on the ground that the first count was duplicitous because it charged him with conspiring to make and to pass counterfeit currency. In his view, this allegation comprised two separate crimes and therefore should not have been included in a single count. The district court denied the motion. The court reasoned that a conspiracy, even one with multiple illicit objectives, constitutes a single crime.

Before this court, Mr. Hughes again submits that the first count of the indictment contained duplicitous charges. In his view, the district court should have dismissed this count of the indictment. " 'Duplicity' is the joining of two or more offenses in a single count." United States v. Marshall, 75 F.3d 1097, 1111 (7th Cir. 1996). "The overall vice of duplicity is that the jury cannot in a general verdict render its findings on each offense, making it difficult to determine whether a conviction rests on only one of the offenses or both." United States v. Buchmeier, 255 F.3d 415, 425 (7th Cir. 2001) (internal quotations omitted). A duplicitous indictment also "may expose a defendant to other adverse effects including improper notice of the charges against him, prejudice in the shaping of evidentiary rulings, in sentencing . . . and of course the danger that a conviction will result from less than a unanimous verdict." Id. at 425 (internal quotations omitted).

Count I of the indictment alleged that the defendants had conspired to make and to pass counterfeit bills in violation of the federal conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371. As Mr. Hughes notes, making counterfeit bills alone constitutes a federal crime; passing such counterfeit currency also constitutes a federal crime. See 18 U.S.C. § 471 (unlawful to ...


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