469 F.2d 380 (5th Cir. 1972), 71-3572, United States v. Jacquillon

Docket Nº:71-3572.
Citation:469 F.2d 380
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. George Camillo JACQUILLON, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:November 01, 1972
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 380

469 F.2d 380 (5th Cir. 1972)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


George Camillo JACQUILLON, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 71-3572.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

November 1, 1972

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         Richard E. Norred, Shreveport, La. (Court-appointed), for defendant-appellant.

         Donald E. Walter, U. S. Atty., David R. Lestage, Asst. U. S. Atty., Shreveport, La., for plaintiff-appellee.

         Before WISDOM, THORNBERRY and GODBOLD, Circuit Judges.

         WISDOM, Circuit Judge:

         George Camillo Jacquillon, defendant-appellant, appeals from a conviction for bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). We affirm.

         On March 5, 1971, a robber entered the Citizens National Bank in Morgan City, Louisiana, proceeded directly to a teller, and gave her a check drawn on the bank. When the teller informed him that there was no account in the name designated on the check, the robber presented a blank check and directed the teller to read the message on the reverse side. It read: "I have a gun. Give me all big bills or I will shoot you." The teller gave $5,000 in cash and a green bank money bag to the robber, who immediately left the bank.

         A bank employee telephoned the police and stated that the robber, wearing a yellow jacket, had just left the bank and was running toward Tri-City Motors, located about a block from the bank. This information was immediately transmitted by radio dispatch to Officer Pierron. A radio malfunction, however, prevented his hearing a description of the clothes the robber was wearing. Officer Pierron quickly drove to the scene and soon observed Jacquillon in a yellow jacket running with a green bag from the Tri-City Motors parking lot. As Jacquillon began to run across the highway, Officer Pierron ordered him to stop. Jacquillon continued to run a few more yards but stopped when the officer repeated his command. Officer Pierron then arrested Jacquillon and seized the green bag. It was a Citizens National Bank money bag containing the stolen currency. Immediately after the arrest, a bank employee who had been following the robber arrived and identified Jacquillon as the man who robbed the bank.

         Jacquillon was subsequently indicted by the grand jury and charged with bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). In response to a joint motion, the district court ordered Jacquillon to be examined by a psychiatrist to determine his competency to stand trial. After a hearing, the district court held that the examination indicated that Jacquillon was competent. At arraignment he entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. The district court granted Jacquillon's motion for a bifurcated trial, in which the merits and the issue of sanity would be tried separately. On December 7, 1971, the jury returned a verdict of guilty, and after a separate hearing, found that Jacquillon was sane at the time of the commission of the crime. He was sentenced to serve a term of twelve years.

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          On appeal, Jacquillon alleges a number of grounds for reversal. We first meet the contention that there was no probable cause for arrest; that the evidence subsequently seized was the product of an illegal search; and that it should not have been admitted at trial. The standard to be applied in determining probable cause is whether at the moment of arrest the arresting officer had knowledge of facts and circumstances, obtained from trustworthy sources, that would be sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that the accused had committed or was committing an offense. Beck v. Ohio, 1964, 379 U.S. 89, 85 S.Ct. 223, 13 L.Ed.2d 142; Wong Sun v. United States, 1963, 371 U.S. 471, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441. Jacquillon asserts that the fact that Officer Pierron observed him running with a bag from an area near the bank only minutes after the crime cannot provide the basis for a legal arrest.

          Although the flight of the appellant alone is not sufficient to constitute probable cause, it is a fact to be considered. Johnson v. Middlebrooks, 5 Cir. 1967, 383 F.2d 386. The record reveals more than just his flight, however. Officer Pierron knew that the bank had been robbed minutes earlier and that the robber, a male, had been seen running toward Tri-City Motors, located only a block from the bank. Arriving at the scene, the officer observed Jacquillon running with a green bag from Tri-City Motors parking lot. The officer directed Jacquillon to halt. Jacquillon continued to run but stopped when the officer repeated his command. He was then arrested and the green bag was seized. There could be no absolute certainty at this point that Jacquillon was the robber. It is only necessary, however, that there be a reasonable basis for believing that the accused had committed an offense. In the instant case, the robbery, the robber's flight, and the officer's observation of Jacquillon running with a bag in the same area where the robbery occurred were substantially contemporaneous events. Viewing the situation as a whole, we think that there was probable cause for the arrest...

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