526 F.2d 8 (8th Cir. 1975), 75--1004, United States v. Fairfield

Docket Nº:75--1004.
Citation:526 F.2d 8
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Fred Eugene FAIRFIELD and Harold Edgar Halley, Appellants.
Case Date:November 10, 1975
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 8

526 F.2d 8 (8th Cir. 1975)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Fred Eugene FAIRFIELD and Harold Edgar Halley, Appellants.

No. 75--1004.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

November 10, 1975

Submitted May 15, 1975.

Dick H. Mudge, Jr., Edwardsville, Ill., for Harold Edgar Halley.

Page 9

Charles A. Gallipeau, Kansas City, Mo., for Fred Eugene Fairfield.

Anthony Nugent, Asst. U.S. Atty., Kansas City, Mo., for appellee.

Before LAY and HENLEY, Circuit Judges, and REGAN, [*] District Judge.

REGAN, District Judge.

Fred Eugene Fairfield and his codefendant Harold Edgar Halley were convicted by a jury of violating the conspiracy statute (Section 371, 18 U.S.C.) by conspiring to conceal, sell and dispose of a stolen motor vehicle which was and had been moving as part of interstate commerce. The jury was unable to agree on another count which charged defendants with the substantive offense of transporting the motor vehicle from Illinois to Missouri in violation of Section 2312, 18 U.S.C., and on a gun charge against Fairfield alone. Both defendants appealed. Defendant Halley died prior to the submission of his appeal, so that the prosecution as to said defendant has abated. Durham v. United States, 401 U.S. 481, 91 S.Ct. 858, 28 L.Ed.2d 200 (1971); Pipefitters Local No. 562 v. United States, 407 U.S. 385, 92 S.Ct. 2247, 33 L.Ed.2d 11 (1972); Crooker v. United States, 325 F.2d 318 (8th Cir. 1963). Fairfield, the remaining appellant, challenges (1) the sufficiency of the evidence; (2) the legality of his arrest and the search of an automobile; and (3) instructions to the jury.

Evidence adduced by the Government (none was offered on behalf of defendants) showed: An unpaid confidential informant (Hank Gravino) had been furnishing reliable information to various law enforcement officials, including Jack Knox, a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Hank was a most unusual undercover informant. A young assistant manager of a finance company in Kansas City, Missouri, he had no criminal record or aspirations but had undertaken, as a public service, to ferret out violations of law. Hank was acquainted with an ex-convict, Arthur Buschman, a used car dealer in California, Missouri, who was not averse to making 'easy money' by participating in illegal transactions.

In the course of their dealings, Hank had led Buschman to believe that he had underworld connections and was desirous of buying any kind of stolen property. As it happened, defendant Halley (whom Buschman had known for four years only as 'Paul' and whose conviction for murder had recently been reversed) approached Buschman several weeks before the events in issue concerning his pressing need for a trustworthy fence for late model automobiles. Having been taken in by Hank's story of underworld connections, Buschman vouched for Hank's criminal 'legitimacy' and gave 'Paul' one of Buschman's business cards on which he wrote Hank's home and office telephone numbers.

About two weeks later Buschman was told by Paul in a telephone conversation that he had a 1973 white Eldorado Cadillac 'without papers' priced at $2,500, a third of its actual value. Buschman informed Hank of the availability of the automobile, and arrangements were made for Paul to bring it to Kansas City from the St. Louis Metropolitan area. It developed, however (as Paul later told Hank), that there were too many problems relating to that car to risk closing the deal.

A week later, Paul again called Buschman stating that he had for sale another 1973 Eldorado Cadillac 'without papers,' this one brown-over-brown, which he priced at $3,000. Buschman relayed this information to Hank, and again a deal was set up whereby accompanied by another automobile the stolen car would be driven from the St. Louis Metropolitan area and delivered to Hank in Kansas City for $3,000. Hank had reason to believe that Halley would probably be armed. The understanding agreed upon was that Paul and his...

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