307 F.2d 618 (D.C. Cir. 1962), 16436, Naples v. United States

Docket Nº:16436.
Citation:307 F.2d 618
Party Name:John A. NAPLES, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
Case Date:April 13, 1962
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Page 618

307 F.2d 618 (D.C. Cir. 1962)

John A. NAPLES, Appellant,


UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

No. 16436.

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.

April 13, 1962

         Argued Nov. 28, 1961.

          Opinion Rendered May 8, 1962.

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          Messrs. Albert J. Ahern, Jr., and Charles W. Halleck, Washington, D.C. (both appointed by the District Court after allowance of appeal in forma pauperis), for appellant.

         Mr. Arnold T. Aikens, Asst. U.S. Atty., with whom Messrs. David C. Acheson, U.S. Atty., Nathan J. Paulson and Frederick G. Smithson, Asst. U.S. Attys., were on the brief, for appellee. Mr. Charles T. Duncan, Principal Asst. U.S. Atty., also entered an appearance for appellee.

         Before WILBUR K. MILLER, Chief Judge, and EDGERTON, PRETTYMAN, BAZELON, FAHY, WASHINGTON, DANAHER, BASTIAN and BURGER, Circuit Judges, sitting en banc.

         DANAHER, Circuit Judge.

         A jury trial having been waived, Judge Holtzoff found the appellant guilty of murder in the first degree 1 in that he killed another in perpetrating a housebreaking while armed with or using a dangerous weapon. The trial judge reduced an additional first degree charge, premediated murder, and found appellant guilty of murder in the second degree. 2 Appellant also was found guilty of housebreaking as charged in the third count; and guilty of petit larceny. Sentence was imposed on the first count conviction only. 3

         Appellant's present counsel urge that the trial court erred:

         (1) in ruling that probable cause was shown for the arrest and thereafter receiving in evidence articles searched for and seized;

         (2) in admitting (a) statements shortly after arrest, made by the prisoner before he had been presented before a magistrate; (b) evidence obtained during a reenactment of the crime, because of an unreasonable delay in so presenting the accused; and (c) statements made at the jail, after Naples had been so presented;

         (3) in denying the accused shortly after arrest, a mental examination by a psychiatrist of his own selection;

         (4) in concluding that Naples competently waived a jury trial; and

         (5) in various conclusions and rulings relating to application of the Durham rule, particularly with respect to the causal relationship of the prisoner's mental disorder to the homicide, and with respect to the nature and quality of that mental disorder.


         On the night of December 16, 1958, the body of one Edna G. Jewel was discovered on the floor of her apartment at 225 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., in the District of Columbia. An autopsy disclosed that she had died from stab wounds in the neck and chest. The apartment had been ransacked; closets and bureau drawers had been opened and their contents had been thrown on the floor. Louis and John A. Naples, twin brothers, were previously

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known to Detective Buch who on the night of the crime, was one of many officers who made a police canvass of the neighborhood. He then learned that the Naples brothers lived at number 227 Massachusetts Avenue, next door to the scene of the homicide.

         The next day Detective Buch received a telephone call from an unidentified caller who stated that he had a 'friend' who was known to carry a knife and who might have been involved in the homicide. The caller phoned again shortly and suggested that the officer meet him at the Palace Theater where the officer was to ask for 'Louis.' Buch went to the theater and there recognized Louis Naples who then told him that it was his brother, the appellant here, to whom he had referred. Appellant carried a knife in an overnight bag, Louis said, and had told him the previous night that he had done something awful and would not be home for some time. Louis phoned the Y.M.C.A. and reported to officer Buch that the appellant had spent the night there, but was coming to the theater. The officer verified the fact that John Naples had checked out of the Y.M.C.A. When John Naples arrived at the theater carrying a canvas bag, the officers arrested him.

          There was probable cause 4 for the officers without warrant to arrest John Naples. Since there was probable cause for the arrest, the officers were justified in examining the canvas bag in which they found a bayonet and various other articles which properly were received in evidence at the trial.


         Following the arrest at 1:15 P.M., the prisoner was brought to Precinct No. 9, arriving about 1:30 P.M. Lieutenant Culpepper there in charge immediately informed Naples that he need not make a statement, that he did not have to say anything. Naples replied 'I know that.' Culpepper asked Naples if he thought he would feel better if he told the truth. Naples responded: 'The truth about what?'

         The officer then asked 'Haven't you done something that you know is wrong and that you are ashamed of?' As Naples replied 'Do you mean about the lady', ' the lieutenant said 'Yes.' The trial judge overruled defense counsel's objections to further testimony as to the statement then given by Naples. The officer related the explanation by Naples as to what had occurred the previous night. 5 Naples had entered No. 225, next door to his own residence, looking for something to steal. He saw that Edna Jewel's door was slightly open; he ascertained that no one was then present, entered the apartment and searched it, took two dollars from a table drawer, and was entering a closet when the victim came in. She screamed at him and threw a book at him.

         'He said that at that time everything went dark. He did not remember anything until he came to. He saw the lady on the floor, there was a lot of blood about, and he knew that he had hurt her.'

         Lieutenant Culpepper showed Naples the knife which had been taken from his canvas bag and asked about it. Naples said that was the one he had with him in his bag when he went into the apartment. He added that when he came to, he had the knife in his hand and there was blood on it.

          The entire conversation did not take over five or ten minutes. There was no suggestion on the record that the Naples statement was other than completely voluntary and spontaneous. The trial judge correctly 6 ruled that the Na

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ples admissions to Lieutenant Culpepper might be received in evidence.


         After the admissions by Naples, the police clearly were in position to present him before a committing magistrate. Available then was the further evidence to be supplied by the apartment manager who had discovered the body. The testimony of the coroner and that of police at the scene could have been adduced. In sum, with ample basis upon which to proceed. Naples was not then brought before a magistrate, although Fed.R.Crim.P. 5(a), 18 U.S.C.A. expressly provides that a person arrested without a warrant shall be taken without unnecessary delay before a magistrate at which time 'complaint shall be filed forthwith.' The Supreme Court has explained, 'Provisions related to Rule 5(a) contemplate a procedure that allows arresting officers little more leeway than the interval between arrest and the ordinary administrative steps required to bring a suspect before the nearest available magistrate.' 7 Naples, however, was not then 'processed' through the ordinary administrative steps. Another course was in prospect. Indeed, he was not presented before a magistrate until 4:30 P.M. or 5 P.M., and so was not 'as quickly as possible' 8 advised of his rights.

         Instead, Naples about 1:55 P.M. was put in a police cruiser with three officers. Two others followed in another car. Captain Hartnett testified he then told Naples he would like to stop at the apartment on the way from Precinct No. 9 to police headquarters 'so we could go through and let him show us exactly what transpired there, and he said that he was willing to do it.' The five police officers accompanied Naples into the apartment, to the scene of the homicide.

         In the first Watson case, which was pre-Mallory, we pointed out with reference to a 'reenactment' that 'the police were not yet through with him.' 9 We noted that the Government is under a particularly heavy burden to establish consent as basis for a waiver of constitutional rights 'where the individual is under arrest, ' 10 a principle no less apt where a question of applicability of the exclusionary rules is under consideration. In the second Watson case, post-Mallory, a unanimous court struck down evidence secured during a 'reenactment' carried out after a time when the accused should have been presented. The prosecutor there had offered such evidence despite this court's earlier clear ruling. We would expect that the Government would not again, at least under circumstances such as were shown here, proffer evidence that a so-called 'willing' but unwarned and uncounselled accused reenacted a 'crime' during a period of unnecessary delay within the meaning of Rule 5.

          Defense counsel objected to evidence of statements made by, and police description of the actions of, the accused during the course of the reenactment by

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the unwarned and uncounselled prisoner. The objection should have been sustained.


         Over objection by trial counsel, an officer was permitted to narrate details of a conversation with the prisoner. The trial judge had already ruled that the evidence gleaned during reenactment was admissible, erroneously as we have noted. He felt that a like ruling would apply to the admissions at the jail, but stated the Government must show that such admissions were voluntary. The questioned episode occurred...

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