387 F.2d 307 (8th Cir. 1967), 18890, Gullett v. United States

Docket Nº:18890, 18898.
Citation:387 F.2d 307
Party Name:James D. GULLETT, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee. Delmar R. WARNER, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
Case Date:December 27, 1967
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 307

387 F.2d 307 (8th Cir. 1967)

James D. GULLETT, Appellant,


UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

Delmar R. WARNER, Appellant,


UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

Nos. 18890, 18898.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

December 27, 1967

Page 308

Sam F. Hamra, Jr., Springfield, Mo., for appellant, James D. Gullett.

Rolland L. Comstock, Springfield, Mo., for appellant, Delmar R. Warner.

Anthony P. Nugent, Jr., Asst. U.S. Atty. for Western District of Missouri, for appellee; Calvin K. Hamilton, U.S. Atty., Kansas City, Mo., and Bruce C. Houdek, Asst. U.S. Atty., on brief.

Before VOGEL, Chief Judge, and BLACKMUN and LAY, Circuit Judges.

VOGEL, Chief Judge.

These are consolidated appeals from judgments of conviction entered June 8, 1967, based upon jury verdicts finding both defendant Gullett and defendant Warner guilty of violating 15 U.S.C.A. § 902(g), which proscribes interstate transportation of stolen firearms, and finding defendant Gullett guilty of violating 15 U.S.C.A. § 902(e), which proscribes interstate transportation of a firearm by one convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for over one year.

The claims of error herein arise out of the arrest of the two defendants and the trial court's denial of their motions to suppress evidence seized at the time of arrest.

The arrest of the defendants occurred on a public highway in Missouri, without warrant, and by members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The Patrol has the power of investigation, arrest, search and seizure on Missouri highways. §§ 43.180, 43.200 V.A.M.S. Rodgers v. United States, 8 Cir., 1966, 362 F.2d 358, 361, certiorari denied, 385 U.S. 993, 87 S.Ct. 608, 17 L.Ed.2d 454. 1

Both defendants made motions to suppress certain evidence obtained by the Highway Patrolmen at the time they were stopped and arrested.

A review of the testimony taken at the hearings on the motions reveals the following: On May 31, 1966, at about noon, three young men, two of them being defendants Gullett and Warner, and a young woman stopped at a tire shop in Lebanon, Missouri. The operator of the tire shop sold them one tire for $7.50, which defendant Gullett paid for in change, mostly quarters. (Gullett claims that they purchased two tires but concedes he paid for one of them with coins.) One member of the party attempted to sell the operator of the tire store cigarettes but the latter declined, although it was indicated that they had different brands of cigarettes for sale. After the party left at approximately 1:00 p.m., the tire shop operator called his son, the Lebanon police chief, and told him that the occupants of a gray 1955 Buick had paid for a tire with quarters and had offered to sell him cigarettes. He also described the number of people in the car and gave the police chief the license number thereof. The information was passed out by the Highway Patrol Communications

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Division in Rolla, Missouri, at about 1:15 p.m. The radio operator testified:

'Q. And what was the content of that?

'A. They radioed our office information, Gray 1955 or '56 Buick, Ohio BD345, stated it left Lebanon on Highway 66, occupant trying to sell a quantity of cigarettes. They had purchased tires, using quarters, and left about one p.m. It was occupied by, they stated, three boys and one girl.'

Sergeant Claud Arnold of the Missouri Highway Patrol called in at 1:21 p.m., advising that he had located the car near Conway. Arnold, together with Sergeant Wilson, also of the Highway Patrol, approached the car and by signal got its driver to pull to the side of the road, where it stopped. According to Sergeant Arnold, defendant Warner was the driver of the car. Arnold asked him for his driver's license, which Warner did not produce. Arnold then asked for proof of ownership of the car and was told that it belonged to James Gullett, who was in the back seat. Defendant Gullett went through his billfold and produced three papers which tended to prove ownership of three cars other than the 1955 gray Buick. The three men occupants were thereupon ordered out of the car and told they were under arrest 'for investigation of car theft'.

After the defendants had been told they were under arrest, Sergeant Arnold asked them to open the car trunk. This the defendant Gullett did without objection. The trunk appeared full of luggage, clothing, cigarettes and a gun or guns protruding from a wrapped coat. Search of the trunk disclosed three rifles. Two pistols were found in the car, one under a pillow and the other behind the back seat. In addition, the officers found between 30 and 40 cartons of...

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