486 F.2d 1139 (D.C. Cir. 1973), 71-1252, United States v. Moore

Docket Nº:71-1252.
Citation:486 F.2d 1139
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America v. Raymond MOORE, Appellant.
Case Date:May 14, 1973
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
 
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Page 1139

486 F.2d 1139 (D.C. Cir. 1973)

UNITED STATES of America

v.

Raymond MOORE, Appellant.

No. 71-1252.

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.

May 14, 1973

Argued Sept. 10, 1971.

Certiorari Denied Oct. 23, 1973.

See 94 S.Ct. 298

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Patricia Wald, Washington, D. C. (appointed by this court), for appellant.

Roger M. Adelman, Asst. U.S. Atty. with whom Thomas A. Flannery, U.S. Atty. at the time the brief was filed, and John A. Terry, Philip L. Cohan and Richard L. Cys, Asst. U.S. Attys. were on the brief, for appellee.

Henry F. Greene, Robert C. Crimmins, Oscar Altshuler and John D. Aldock, Asst. U.S. Attys., also entered appearances for appellee.

George P. Lamb, Jr., Washington, D. C., filed a brief on behalf of the Washington Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse as amicus curiae.

Before BAZELON, Chief Judge, and WRIGHT, McGOWAN, TAMM, LEVENTHAL, ROBINSON, MacKINNON, ROBB and WILKEY, Circuit Judges, sitting en banc.

PER CURIAM:

Circuit Judge Wilkey, with whom Circuit Judges MacKinnon and Robb join, filed an opinion voting to affirm all convictions and the sentences in the District Court. Circuit Judge Leventhal, with whom Circuit Judge McGowan concurs, filed an opinion voting to affirm all convictions and to remand to the District Court for further consideration of NARA disposition on resentencing. Circuit Judge MacKinnon concurred in Part IV of Circuit Judge Leventhal's opinion, and Chief Judge Bazelon in Part V thereof. Circuit Judges MacKinnon and Robb filed separate opinions voting to affirm all convictions and the sentences in the District Court.

Circuit Judge Wright, with whom Chief Judge Bazelon and Circuit Judges Tamm and Robinson join, filed a dissenting opinion voting to remand for a new trial in which the jury would be permitted to decide whether the defendant as a result of his repeated use of narcotics lacked substantial capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. Chief Judge Bazelon filed a dissenting opinion, stating he would extend the possibility of this defense of lack of capacity to crimes other than narcotics possession.

There being a majority of five judges of the court voting to affirm all convictions, but there being no majority in favor of any specific disposition, Circuit Judges MacKinnon, Robb and Wilkey, without intimating any dissatisfaction with the sentences originally imposed by the District Judge, vote to join Circuit Judges McGowan and Leventhal in affirming defendant Moore's conviction on all counts, vacating the sentences

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imposed, and remanding to the District Court for resentencing.

So ordered.

WILKEY, Circuit Judge, with whom Circuit Judges MacKINNON and ROBB join.

This is an appeal from a conviction under two federal statutes for possession of heroin. Appellant contends that his conviction was improper because he is a heroin addict with an overpowering need to use heroin and should not, therefore, be held responsible for being in possession of the drug. After careful consideration, we must reject appellant's contention and affirm the conviction by the trial court.

I. The Undisputed Evidence and the District Court's actions

During January 1970 the Metropolitan Police began an investigation into a heroin trafficking operation allegedly being conducted in a Northwest Washington hotel. Through an informant, investigating officers learned that two men, identified simply as "Crip Green" and "Jumbo," were selling the drugs from two rooms in the hotel; acting under police supervision, the informant made heroin purchases from both of the suspects.

Based upon this information, search warrants for the two hotel rooms were obtained and executed on 29 January 1970. After knocking and announcing their identity and purpose, and receiving no reply, the officers forced their way into the room. The scene that greeted the officers was accurately described in appellant's own brief as follows:

The room was about 10-12 feet in depth. Against the far wall was a bed, the head of the bed being to the left and the foot to the right. Two chairs were positioned at the side of the bed, facing it, and about one foot away. Sherman W. Beverly was seated on the left-hand chair, and Raymond Moore was seated on the right-hand chair. Both were still seated, and simply twisted around in their chairs to look at the door, when Officer Daly entered.

. . . In front of Mr. Beverly's chair, about one inch from the edge of the bed, was a white-framed mirror on which there was a quantity of white powder (later found to be 1,854.5 milligrams of a mixture containing 4-7% heroin). [Footnote omitted.] To the right of the mirror, in front of Appellant's chair, was a flat square cardboard record album cover, on which there was also a quantity of white powder (later determined to be 1,824 milligrams of a mixture containing 4-7% heroin). Between these two "cutting boards" lay 93 new gelatin capsules and 81 used gelatin capsules (as determined by the fact that there was a small but detectable amount of white powder containing heroin in the capsules). To the left of the mirror lay 67 capsules filled with a white powder (later found to be a total of 3,650 milligrams containing 4-7% heroin). Toward the far edge of the bed there was a woman's stocking stretched over a wire coat hanger (called a cutting screen). Next to the cutting screen was an unopened package containing about 10 hypodermic syringes and needles. Lying on the album, in front of Mr. Moore's chair, was an ace of hearts cut in half (often called a cutting card). Near the pillow were a set of keys that were found to fit the door of room 15. Under the pillow was a 38-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol.

It is obvious that these implements were intended for use in mixing undiluted heroin with lactose and/or quinine to reduce it to a street concentration of about 5-10%, cutting into the quantity normally injected, and capping it in a form in which it can be sold and carried.

After Appellant and Beverly were arrested, they were searched. A plastic vial containing 50 capsules of a white powder (later found to be a total of 2,274.9 milligrams of a mixture

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containing 4-7% heroin) was found in Appellant's right front trouser pocket. Nothing was found on Beverly. 1

Upon this evidence a four-count indictment was returned charging appellant with violations of the Harrison Narcotics Act, 26 U.S.C. § 4704(a) (1964), and the Jones-Miller Act, 21 U.S.C. § 174 (1964). 2 Advancing his argument that he was a hopelessly dependent addict and could not, therefore, be held responsible for possession of heroin, appellant sought to have the indictment dismissed under the authority of this court's opinion in Watson v. United States. 3

At the hearing on this motion appellant stated and the Government stipulated that appellant was indeed a heroin addict. Appellant further testified that he was not a heroin pusher, had never engaged in drug trafficking, and had simply come to the hotel room where he was arrested in order to purchase the illicit drug.

Relying on our opinion in Watson, appellant argued that he was a mere nontrafficking addict and that the indictment should be dismissed for any one of three reasons. First, appellant argued that it is unconstitutional to hold a nontrafficking addict guilty of simple possession of heroin. This position rests on an amplification and extrapolation of the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Eighth Amendment advanced in the admittedly confused and divergent opinions in Robinson v. California 4 and Powell v. Texas. 5 The second ground, an extension of the common law principle that there cannot be the requisite free will if the illegal act is performed because of overpowering compulsion, asserts that a narcotics addict is excused from any criminal penalties for the illegal acts of purchase, possession, and use of narcotics to satisfy his personal addictive needs. The third is appellant's construction and interpretation of the series of four congressional acts, which not once since 1909, neither in black letter

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statute nor in committee report, have specifically exempted the non-trafficking addict from criminal penalties for purchase, possession, and use.

The Government responded by arguing first that there was no constitutional, common law, or statutory rationale for permitting a non-trafficking addict a defense to a charge of possession of heroin. Secondly, it contended that in any event Moore was not a non-trafficking addict but was in fact engaged in pushing the drug and, even if there were a defense available to mere addicts, such a defense should not be permitted here.

Following a hearing, the trial court denied appellant's motion to dismiss. The trial judge, however, reserved his judgment on whether evidence of addiction could be introduced to the jury by the defense.

At trial the principal prosecution witness was the arresting officer who testified to the facts described above. In addition he testified that he had no personal knowledge that appellant was engaged in drug trafficking, that no tests had been conducted to determine if appellant's fingerprints were on the paraphernalia in the room, that no tests were conducted to determine if heroin powder was present on appellant's hands, and that he had not checked the hotel register and had no way of knowing whether appellant was in any way connected with the room in which he was arrested. On cross-examination the officer admitted that some addicts' habits require 50 to 100 capsules per day, and that having that many capsules in his pockets would not necessarily be inconsistent with appellant being a mere non-trafficking addict...

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