581 F.2d 408 (4th Cir. 1978), 77-1802, United States v. Squires

Docket Nº:77-1802.
Citation:581 F.2d 408
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Earl Lawrence SQUIRES, Appellant.
Case Date:August 15, 1978
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Page 408

581 F.2d 408 (4th Cir. 1978)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Earl Lawrence SQUIRES, Appellant.

No. 77-1802.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

August 15, 1978

Argued Nov. 8, 1977.

Michael H. Dills, Norfolk, Va., for appellant.

Stephen Wainger, Asst. U. S. Atty., Norfolk, Va. (William B. Cummings, U. S. Atty., Alexandria, Va., and William John Ginivian, Third Year Law Student on brief), for appellee.

Before HAYNSWORTH, Chief Judge, WINTER, Circuit Judge, and FIELD, Senior Circuit Judge.

HAYNSWORTH, Chief Judge:

The defendant appeals from his convictions on ten counts, charged in two separate indictments, of violating the National Stolen Property Act, 18 U.S.C.A. § 2314. Except with respect to the matter mentioned

Page 409

in footnote 12, we find no error in the convictions on the counts charged in Indictment 77-3-N. But with respect to Indictment 77-2-N, we conclude that the defendant committed only one substantive offense, rather than five, and that his convictions on the last four counts of that indictment must be reversed.

I. Indictment 77-3-N

The four offenses charged in Indictment 77-3-N were based on Squires' sale of 10,000 counterfeit cashier's checks and a Paymaster check-writing machine to an undercover FBI agent. 1 Only one of his contentions merits substantial discussion. 2

Squires contends that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to prove a Conspiracy to violate 18 U.S.C.A. § 2314, as charged in Count One of Indictment 77-3-N, because his co-conspirators supposedly did not know that Squires would transport the counterfeit cashier's checks in interstate commerce. We reject that contention on the ground that such knowledge is not required by § 2314 or the conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C.A. § 371. The absence of such knowledge does not disprove the existence of a conspiracy.

The evidence amply supported the jury's conclusion that Squires had conspired with Joseph Shelton to print the 10,000 cashier's checks to Squires' specifications and that Squires later transported the checks that Shelton had printed from Virginia into North Carolina to complete Squires' sale. The evidence also probably justified a conclusion that the printer actually knew, or should have known, that the counterfeit checks would be transported in interstate commerce. We do not know that the jury found that as a fact, however, but we hold that such knowledge or intent generally is not required by § 2314 or by the conspiracy statute, § 371, for proof of these offenses.

The third paragraph of § 2314 provides for punishment of a person who "with unlawful or fraudulent intent, Transports in interstate or foreign Commerce any falsely made, forged, altered or counterfeited securities or tax stamps, knowing the same to have been falsely made, forged, altered or counterfeited." (Emphasis added). Many courts have held that this substantive offense does not require proof that a defendant intended to transport counterfeit securities in interstate commerce. 3 The requirement of transportation in interstate commerce was adopted only to provide a basis

Page 410

for federal jurisdiction over the offense. Nothing in the text of § 2314, its purpose, or its legislative history indicates that the interstate commerce requirement serves more than a jurisdictional basis function. Because the requirement is merely jurisdictional, the lack of any intent or knowledge with respect to transportation in interstate commerce is not material to the substantive offense, 4 although, of course, only persons who did intend their basic conduct and who did satisfy the statute's other intent requirements may be convicted.

Just as the substantive offense here does not require intent or knowledge with respect to the interstate nature of the transportation of counterfeit securities, neither is such intent or knowledge necessary in order to obtain a conviction for Conspiring to commit this substantive offense. The Second Circuit once held that knowledge of the transportation in interstate commerce was an essential element to convict in the offense of conspiracy to violate § 2314 although it was not a necessary element of the substantive offense, United States v. Crimmins, 123 F.2d 271, 273-74 (1941). But the Supreme Court's more recent decision in United States v. Feola, 420 U.S. 671, 686-96, 95 S.Ct. 1255, 43 L.Ed.2d 541 (1975), casts grave doubt upon the viability of the analysis used in Crimmins. The same reasons that were given in Feola for holding that the conspiracy statute does not require any knowledge with respect to the...

To continue reading