528 F.2d 999 (5th Cir. 1976), 73--3383, United States v. James

Docket Nº:73--3383.
Citation:528 F.2d 999
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Wayne Maurice JAMES, a/k/a Offaga Quaddus, Ann Lockhart, a/k/a Tomu Sanna, Robert Charles Allen Stalling, a/k/a Brother Black, Toni Rene Austin, a/k/a Njeri Quaddus, Thomas Edward Norman, a/k/a Hekima Ana, Denis Paul Shillingford, Richard Bullock Henry, a/k/a Imari Abubakari Obedele, Defendants-Appel
Case Date:March 19, 1976
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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528 F.2d 999 (5th Cir. 1976)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Wayne Maurice JAMES, a/k/a Offaga Quaddus, Ann Lockhart,

a/k/a Tomu Sanna, Robert Charles Allen Stalling, a/k/a

Brother Black, Toni Rene Austin, a/k/a Njeri Quaddus, Thomas

Edward Norman, a/k/a Hekima Ana, Denis Paul Shillingford,

Richard Bullock Henry, a/k/a Imari Abubakari Obedele,


No. 73--3383.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

March 19, 1976

Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc

Denied June 7, 1976.

See 532 F.2d 1054.

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Robert Hauberg, U.S. Atty., James B. Tucker, Daniel E. Lynn, Asst. U.S. Attys., Jackson, Miss., Timothy J. Wilson, Atty. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for plaintiff-appellee.

Jack H. Young, Jr., Jackson, Miss. (court-appointed), for Austin.

Fred L. Banks, Jr., Jackson, Miss. (court-appointed), for Stalling.

Hermel Johnson, Jackson, Miss. (court-appointed), for James.

Raymond E. Willis, Detroit, Mich. (court-appointed), for Henry.

George M. Strickler, Jr., New Orleans, La. (court-appointed), for Shillingford.

Firnist J. Alexander, Jr., Jackson, Miss. (court-appointed), for Norman.

Constance Iona Slaughter, Forest, Miss. (court-appointed), for Lockhart.

William H. Allison, Jr., Louisville, Ky., fordefendants-appellants.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Before WISDOM and BELL, [*] Circuit Judges, and BREWSTER, District Judge.

BREWSTER, District Judge:

This appeal involves seven appellants, each of whom was convicted for one or more of the offenses charged in a four court indictment. 1

Each of the seven appellants was convicted under Count I alleging a conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, 2 to commit the offenses of (1) assault on federal officers engaged in the performance of their duties, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111, 3 (2) of using firearms to commit the assault in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), and (3) of unlawfully possessing unregistered firearms required by law to registered, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d). 4 The firearms were described as an automatic rifle, a fragmentation bomb and incendiary devices. Three overt acts hereinafter after discussed were alleged.

Henry, Shillingford, Norman and James 5 were the only appellants named in Counts II and III charging respectively the substantive offenses above described as the first and second objects of the conspiracy. 6

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James was the only defendant named in Count IV, which charged him with the substantive offense above described as the third object of the conspiracy.

Each defendant was found guilty by a jury of all of the charges against him. Toni Austin and Ann Lockhart, the two female defendants, were each sentenced to three years on her Count I conviction. Henry, Shillingford, Norman and James each received a seven year sentence on his Count II conviction. The sentence on each of the other convictions was five years. By provision for concurrent and consecutive sentences on their convictions, Henry, Shillingford, Norman and James each had twelve years to serve.

The date of the commission of each of the substantive offenses was August 18, 1971. 7 The conspiracy charged in Court I was claimed to have begun on or about July 15 and to have continued to and including August 18, when it culminated in a shoot-out at about 6:30 A.M. between FBI Agents and members of the police force of Jackson, Mississippi, on the one hand, and the appellants on the other, at the 'capitol' of the Republic of New Africa (RNA) in Jackson, resulting in the death of a Jackson policeman, the wounding of another and of an FBI Agent. The FBI was there to execute an arrest warrant on Jerry R. Steiner in pursuance of a complaint charging him with unlawful interstate flight to avoid prosecution on a first degree murder charge in Michigan. The Jackson police were participating to execute warrants on misdemeanor charges on three persons they had good reason to believe were in the house with Steiner and others. The warrant was not served on Steiner because, for some reason that was never satisfactorily explained, he left the house at 11:00 p.m. on the night before the visit by the FBI to serve the warrant on him. The FBI had no knowledge of his departure until after the shoot-out.

The actual trial of this case lasted twenty-two days. Several additional days were devoted to hearings on more than thirty-five pre-trial motions. 8 The transcript of the proceedings on the motions contains almost 1800 pages, and of the proceedings on the trial, over 4900 pages. In addition, there are voluminous exhibits. The case was bitterly contested from the time of the return of the indictment. Almost twenty points are urged as a basis for reversal. Some of them are fragmented 9 with the result that there are actually many more legal questions than points of error. It is obviously impractical to indulge in an extended discussion of each claim of error; but the transcripts of all the proceedings have been read, and each claim of the appellants has been thoroughly considered.

The factual summary is detailed and complete to save repetition in the discussion of the grounds urged for reversal. The evidence will necessarily be viewed from the standpoint most favorable to the government. Glasser v.

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United States, 1942, 315 U.S. 60, 80, 62 S.Ct. 457, 86 L.Ed. 680.

A general knowledge of the RNA is necessary to an understanding of this case. The appellants claim that hostility of the FBI and the Jackson law enforcement officers toward the RNA caused such officers to use the arrest warrants as a pretext to intrude and search RNA properties on August 18th. The government contends that the purposes and setup of the RNA furnished both the motive and the framework for the actions of the appellants that constituted the offenses here involved. The fugitive Steiner and all of the appellants, except Ann Lockhart, were 'citizens' of the RNA; and some of the appellants were high officials of it.

The RNA claims that it is an independent foreign nation composed of 'citizens' descended from Africans who were at one time slaves in this country. It contends that the African slaves in America were converted into a free community by, successively, the Confiscation Acts of 1861 and 1862, the Emancipation Proclamation of January, 1863, and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It further insists that the citizenship of the slaves, upon being freed, reverted to that of their ancestors at the time they were taken in Africa to be brought to America. 10 That means to the RNA that they resumed African citizenship and owed no allegiance to this country. 11 The RNA claims that it, and not the United States, is soverign over Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, because those are lands 'upon which the Africans had lived in the majority traditionally and which they had worked and developed.' It says that it has asserted sovereignty over those lands ever since 'the blacks occupying it took up arms against the authority of the United States and thus asserted their New African nation's claim to the land, and, briefly, to independence' when President Andrew Johnson issued proclamations in 1865--1866 giving that land back to its former owners. The RNA says that its sovereignty over the lands in the five named states has never ceased, and that the United States has merely operated there without right or authority. It claims that its efforts to regain that land have intensified since the 'formal revial and organization' of the New African Government by proclamation on March 31, 1968. 12

The provisional 'capitol' of the RNA on August 18 was a residential building at 1148 Lewis Street in Jackson, but the RNA was in the process of moving it to another residential building in Jackson at 1320 Lynch Street. The officers of the RNA worked and lived in the 'capitol'. Some 'citizens' and a few potential 'citizens' also stayed in the 'capitol' for periods of time. An armed guard was usually stationed at or near the entrance of the 'capitol', and persons not well known to them were searched before being allowed to enter. 'Citizens' in the 'capitol' had been seen to point weapons at police cars as they drove by.

'Security' was an uppermost concern of those who worked in the 'capitol'. A substantial part of the time of a three day RNA meeting known as 'The People's Center Conference' (PCC), held in Jackson in mid-July, attended by 'citizens' of RNA from Africa and throughout the United States, was devoted to discussion of security measures for its

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officials and 'capitol'. RNA 'citizens' were 'cautioned to be wary of bad faith arrest tactics which might come from local police'. 13 Military-type drills with weapons were held periodically from the time of such meeting until August 18. The 'citizens' participating in those drills were taught that, upon the command, 'jump', they should get their weapons and go to certain vantage points where they could fire at persons trying to 'intrude' the 'capitol'. They kept their long guns stacked, military-style, in one of the rooms of the 'capitol' where they would be readily accessible if a 'jump' order were given.

Appellant Henry was President of the RNA during all of the period pertinent to this case.

The FBI kept advised of the developments of the RNA through a paid black informer who posed as a 'citizen' of RNA and was on the 'inside'.

On the late evening of August 13, after regular business...

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