436 F.2d 1171 (5th Cir. 1970), 29114, United States v. Lowery

Docket Nº:29114.
Citation:436 F.2d 1171
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Raymond W. LOWERY, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:December 11, 1970
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 1171

436 F.2d 1171 (5th Cir. 1970)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Raymond W. LOWERY, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 29114.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

December 11, 1970

Page 1172

Charles E. Hughes, Jackson, Miss., for defendant-appellant.

Robert E. Hauberg, U.S. Atty., E. Donald Strange, Daniel E. Lynn, Asst. U.S. Attys., Jackson, Miss., for plaintiff-appellee.

Before JOHN R. BROWN, Chief Judge, WISDOM and MORGAN, Circuit Judges.

WISDOM, Circuit Judge:

Raymond W. Lowery was convicted by a jury on a one-count indictment charging him with transporting in interstate commerce a stolen 1964 Ford Mustang automobile knowing it to have been stolen, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2312. 1 He was sentenced to serve five years in the custody of the Attorney General. We affirm.

On May 2, 1969, Mrs. Marilyn Edwards, the manager of the Drake Motel in Jackson, Mississippi, reported to the local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that a man, later identified as Raymond W. Lowery, had registered at the motel under the name of Dr. H. F. Mitchell and paid his bill using a Phillips 66 credit card issued to Dr. Mitchell. She explained that she had telephoned the Phillips 66 home office

Page 1173

and learned that Dr. Mitchell's credit card had been reported stolen. F.B.I. Special Agent Ronald L. Johnson then reported this information to the Jackson Police Department, which dispatched two detectives to the Drake Motel to investigate. The detectives, Lavelle Tullos and John Moulder, arrived at the motel and learned from Mrs. Edwards that a man had registered under the name of Dr. H. F. Mitchell and had used a reportedly stolen credit card to pay the bill. Mrs. Edwards also advised the detectives what room the man and his party occupied. Accompanied by four F.B.I. agents, the two detectives proceeded to that room and knocked on the door. Orbie Renfroe answered the door and invited the officers into the room. In the room were also Lowery and an unidentified woman. The officers identified themselves, stated that they were there in regard to a forgery involving a stolen credit card and then arrested all three occupants of the room. At the trial Mrs. Edwards identified Lowery as the man who had registered under the name of Dr. Mitchell and presented the stolen credit card. It is undisputed that at the time of the arrests the officers possessed neither an arrest nor a search warrant.

The officers then took Lowery and his companions to the City Jail where several officers questioned them. During the course of these interrogations, the officers learned that Lowery had traveled from California to Mississippi in a 1964 Ford Mustang automobile and that the Mustang was then located at Morton, Mississippi, approximately 45 miles from Jackson. Lowery explained that the Mustang was not his but that he had obtained the use of the automobile from a friend in Long Beach, California, by paying him $50. F.B.I. Agent Johnson, acting again without a warrant, drove to Morton to inspect the Mustang. A telephone call to California revealed that the license plates on the Mustang had been reported stolen and, in any event, did not belong on the Mustang. Johnson then ascertained the Mustang's vehicle identification number, a check of which revealed that the automobile itself had been reported stolen. This Dyer Act prosecution followed.

I.

Lowery argues first that his arrest without a warrant, subsequent interrogation, and the search of his automobile were illegal; thus the evidence obtained as a result-- presumably his statements to the police officers and the Mustang's vehicle identification number-- should have been suppressed.

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