29 F.3d 62 (2nd Cir. 1994), 1148, United States v. Thompson

Docket Nº:1148, Docket 93-1602.
Citation:29 F.3d 62
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Earl THOMPSON, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:July 06, 1994
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

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29 F.3d 62 (2nd Cir. 1994)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Earl THOMPSON, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 1148, Docket 93-1602.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

July 6, 1994

Argued March 24, 1994.

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William I. Aronwald, Aronwald & Pykett, White Plains, NY, for defendant-appellant.

Marjorie Miller, Asst. U.S. Atty. for the S.D. of N.Y., New York City (Mary Jo White, U.S. Atty. for the S.D. of N.Y., John W. Auchincloss II, Asst. U.S. Atty. for the S.D. of N.Y., of counsel), for appellee.

Before OAKES, MESKILL, and ALTIMARI, Circuit Judges.

ALTIMARI, Circuit Judge:

Defendant-appellant Earl Thompson appeals from a judgment entered on August 23, 1993 after a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Broderick, J.), convicting him of one count of knowing possession of a false Social Security card in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1028(a)(6), three counts of bankruptcy fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 152, one count of perjury in connection with a separate civil judicial proceeding in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1623, and seven counts of laundering the proceeds of bankruptcy fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. Secs. 1956(a)(1) and 1957. Thompson was sentenced to serve 65 months' imprisonment, followed by a three-year term of supervised release, and a total of $600 in special assessments.

On appeal, Thompson challenges both his conviction and sentence. Regarding his conviction, Thompson challenges the district court's denial of his motion to suppress the contents of a briefcase discovered during an inventory search of his automobile, claiming that the search violated his Fourth Amendment rights. In addition, Thompson contends that the prosecutor's improper comments in rebuttal summation deprived him of a fair trial. Regarding his sentence, Thompson claims that the district court erred in

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declining to downwardly depart from the calculated Sentencing Guidelines range.

For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the district court's judgment.


On March 5, 1990, an officer of the Ramapo, New York Police Department ("R.P.D.") arrested Thompson for driving while intoxicated shortly after Thompson drove away from his residence. The arresting officer detained Thompson based on information that the R.P.D. received from an undercover agent, who had observed Thompson at home in an intoxicated condition shortly before he began driving his car. At the time of his arrest, the R.P.D. was conducting an undercover investigation of Thompson for alleged sexual assault.

Following his arrest, Thompson's vehicle was impounded and subjected to an inventory search. Pursuant to R.P.D. regulations, a detailed inventory of the entire vehicle was conducted. During the course of the search, an officer examined the contents of a closed briefcase, which was unlocked with Thompson's key. The briefcase contained approximately $23,500 in cash, $15,000 in postal money orders, $200,000 in bank and teller checks, a metal plate facsimile of a Social Security card, and documents relating to various bank accounts maintained under a variety of names. After preparing an inventory report, the R.P.D. turned the contents over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (the "FBI").

The FBI's investigation disclosed that Thompson, an attorney admitted to the bar in New York State, had filed for bankruptcy protection on January 22, 1990. Although Thompson claimed in his petition to have assets totalling only $1,500, the FBI's investigation revealed that during the pendency of his bankruptcy proceeding, Thompson concealed approximately $400,000 in assets...

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