336 F.2d 785 (6th Cir. 1964), 15591, United States v. Denton

Docket Nº:15591.
Citation:336 F.2d 785
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Woodrow Allen DENTON, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:September 17, 1964
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Page 785

336 F.2d 785 (6th Cir. 1964)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Woodrow Allen DENTON, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 15591.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.

Sept. 17, 1964

Page 786

John F. Dugger, Morristown, Tenn., H. M. Bacon, Morristown Tenn., on brief; Bacon & Dugger, Morristown, Tenn., of counsel, for appellant.

William E. Bowman, Asst. U.S. Atty., Knoxville, Tenn., John H. Reddy, U.S. Atty., Knoxville, Tenn., on brief, for appellee.

Before WEICK, Chief Judge, and PHILLIPS and EDWARDS, Circuit Judges.

EDWARDS, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from a guilty verdict and a sentence entered after jury trial before the United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Northeastern Division. The information charged defendant with possessing property on December 4, 1962, which property was intended for use in violating Chapter 51, Int.Rev.Code of 1954 (Title 26 U.S.C. § 5686(a)). 1 This statute prohibits the possession of property intended to be used in violating Federal statutes requiring licenses and taxes for the manufacture and sale of liquor.

Testimony at the trial established that the property which defendant possessed (when arrested under a warrant previously issued by a U.S. Commissioner) was thirty cases of half-gallon jars. They were new and empty. The basic fact question tried to the jury was whether defendant intended these jars to be used to can apples as he testified or to contain 'moonshine' as the prosecution charged.

On appeal defendant contends that there was no substantial evidence to support the jury's guilty verdict; that the arrest warrant was illegally issued and hence the jars seized incident to its service should have been suppressed as evidence; that the judge made three prejudicial errors in charging the jury on intent; and that he erred in the sentence administered.

Our review of the record convinces us that there was substantial evidence to support the jury verdict. There was, of course, no dispute as to defendant's being in possession of the fruit jars. The question was whether or not the thirty cases of jars were intended for use in the distribution of illegal liquor. Government agents testified that such jars were customarily employed in the illegal whiskey business in that portion of Tennessee. Government agents also testified that defendant on the occasion in question had sought to conceal the cases of jars in his car, and chose an indirect route of travel.

One such agent quoted defendant as saying after arrest that he had intended to 'take them and sell them to the boys up on the creek.' Asked the meaning of that term, the agent replied, 'That's the boys that are in the whiskey business in and around Cosby, Tennessee.'

This statement was denied by defendant, and probably was not the decisive testimony bearing on intent. After defendant testified that he had contemplated using these thirty cases of half-gallon jars for canning forty bushels of 'specked' apples which he had from six apple trees and that they would about serve the purpose, and after he had denied seeking or buying substantial quantities of jars from other named

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stores in the same season of the same year, rebuttal witnesses produced by the prosecution testified in square contradiction to purchases of 130 cases of fruit jars by defendant and orders for substantially greater quantities.

Defendant also admitted on the stand that he had been convicted twice in 1939 for violation of the Internal Revenue laws pertaining to liquor but denied being 'in the whiskey business' since that time.

All in all we regard this record as more than adequate to meet the substantial evidence test.

Appellant's contention concerning the invalidity of the arrest warrant is based squarely on Giordenello v. United States, 357 U.S. 480, 78 S.Ct. 1245, 2 L.Ed.2d 1503 (1958). There the inadequacies of the complaint upon which the warrant was issued were spelled out thus:

'The complaint contains no affirmative allegation that the affiant spoke with personal knowledge of the matters contained therein; it does not indicate any sources for the complainant's belief; and it does not set forth any other sufficient basis upon which a finding of probable cause could be made.' Giordenello v. United States, supra, at 486, 78 S.Ct. at 1250.

The complaint in the instant appeal, however, contained the following sworn allegations:

'That on or about November 1, 1962, at Cocke County in the Eastern District of Tennessee, .......... and WOODROW DENTON did possess an unregistered still; carry on business of a distiller without giving bond and with intent to defraud the United States of the tax thereon; work at unregistered distillery where no sign posted; carry distilled spirits and raw material to or from a distillery; make mash at place other than designated premises; possess...

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