462 F.2d 1201 (D.C. Cir. 1972), 71-1444, United States v. Crosby

Docket Nº:71-1444.
Citation:462 F.2d 1201
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America v. Robert H. CROSBY, Appellant.
Case Date:May 10, 1972
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
 
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Page 1201

462 F.2d 1201 (D.C. Cir. 1972)

UNITED STATES of America

v.

Robert H. CROSBY, Appellant.

No. 71-1444.

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.

May 10, 1972

Argued Feb. 28, 1972.

Miss Marsha E. Swiss, Washington, D. C. (appointed by this court), for appellant.

Mr. Julius A. Johnson, Asst. U. S. Atty., with whom Messrs. Thomas A. Flannery, U. S. Atty. at the time the brief was filed, and John A. Terry and Warren L. Miller, Asst. U. S. Attys., were on the brief, for appellee. Mr.

Page 1202

Harold H. Titus, Jr., present U. S. Atty., also entered an appearance for appellee.

Before WRIGHT and WILKEY, Circuit Judges, and JAMES F. GORDON, [*] Chief Judge, U. S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.

JAMES F. GORDON, Chief Judge:

The appellant, Robert H. Crosby, appeals his conviction of murder in the second degree and possession of a prohibited weapon, violations of 22 D.C. Code § 2403 and 22 D.C.Code § 3214(b) respectively.

The offenses arose from a division of proceeds dispute between appellant and one Fred Lee Brooks as to the fruits gained from the sale of stolen property. The altercation resulting in Brooks' death was witnessed by one Farrie Chapman, a government informer and an habitual user of narcotics.

During the course of the trial, appellant's counsel requested, and properly received, from the learned District Judge a voir dire examination, out of the presence of the jury, of the government's chief witness, Chapman, for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not he was incompetent to testify.

During the voir dire examination there surfaced two pieces of intelligence to the effect that on occasions in 1961 and in 1969 Chapman had been locally hospitalized for worry and anxiety and observation for periods of 11 and 14 days, respectively; the latter hospitalization having occurred just some months prior to the altercation about which Chapman was purporting to testify as an eyewitness. As to this intelligence, the trial court denied a request by appellant's counsel that the hospitalization records be subpoenaed and examined by the Court as an aid to determination of competency; as well as a request for their use upon subsequent cross-examination for the purpose of an attempt at impeachment of Chapman, if necessary.

The trial judge determined Chapman competent, finding him not to be then under the influence of drugs and cogent in his responses. The trial proceeded to its conclusion with disclosure to the jury of Chapman's...

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