179 F.2d 656 (5th Cir. 1950), 12711, Williams v. United States

Docket Nº:12711.
Citation:179 F.2d 656
Case Date:January 10, 1950
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 656

179 F.2d 656 (5th Cir. 1950)




No. 12711.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

January 10, 1950

Page 657

         A. C. Dressler, Miami, Fla., Bart A. Riley, Miami, Fla., for appellant.

         Leo Meltzer, Sp. Asst. to Atty. Gen., Fred Botts, Asst. U.S. Atty., Miami, Fla., Herbert S. Phillips, U.S. Atty., Tampa, Fla., for appellee.

         Before HOLMES, WALLER and SIBLEY, Circuit Judges.

         WALLER, Circuit Judge.

         This case is another instance where in applying the third degree in an endeavor to unearth a crime a more reprehensible crime was thereby committed.

         The appellant, Williams, a private detective, was indicated, along with Perry, Bombaci, Ford, Yuhas, and Lindsley Lumber Co., an alleged corporation, in four counts under Section 52 (now Sec. 242), Title 18, U.S.C.A. Section 20, U.S. Criminal Code, for willfully depriving four persons (Purnell, Robinson, Sturniolo, and Priest) of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and also in four counts, under Section 51 (now Sec. 241), Title 18 U.S.C.A., Section 19, U.S. Criminal Code, for conspiring to injure, oppress, or interfere with the same four individuals in the exercise of rights and privileges under the Constitution and laws of the United States. There was a mistrial of all of the defendants under the four conspiracy counts under Section 51. There was a conviction of the appellant, Williams, on each of the four counts charging the substantive offenses under Section 52, but the other defendants were acquitted under those counts. Later there was a retrial of the four defendants under a revised indictment on the conspiracy counts, which resulted in all four being convicted, from which an appeal was also taken to this Court. See Williams et al. v. U.S., 5 Cir., 179 F.2d 644, for more complete details of the facts common to both cases.

         The appeal which we are here considering is by Williams from his conviction and sentence under the four substantive counts under Section 52 of Title 18. 1 The indictment in the present case charged, in Count 2, that the appellant, together with defendants

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Perry and Bombaci, were special police officers under written authority from the City of Miami, Florida, and acting under the laws of the State and ordinances and regulations of the municipality, who with Charles R. Ford, a police officer of the City of Miami, acting under the laws of the State, together with Andrew J. Yuhas and the Lindsley Lumber Company, did willfully, and under color of the laws, statutes, ordinances, regulations, and customs of the State of Florida and of the municipality of Miami, subject, and cause to be subjected, Frank J. Purnell, Jr., an inhabitant of the State of Florida, to deprivations of the rights, privileges, and immunities secured to him and protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, to wit, 'the right and privilege not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law, the right and privilege to be secure in his person while in the custody of the State of Florida, the right and privilege not to be subjected to punishment without due process of law, the right and privilege to be immune, while in the custody of persons acting under color of the laws of the State of Florida, from illegal assault and battery by any person exercising the authority of said State, and the right and privilege to be tried by due process of law and if found guilty to be sentenced and punished in accordance with the laws of the State of Florida; that is to say, on or about the 28th day of March, 1947, the defendants arrested and detained and caused to be arrested and detained the said Frank J. Purnell, Jr., and brought and caused him to be brought to and into a certain building sometimes called a shack on the premises of the Lindsley Lumber Co., at or near 3810 N.W. 17th Avenue, in said City of Miami, Florida, and did there detain the said Frank J. Purnell, Jr., and while he was so detained the defendants did then and there...

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