607 F.2d 1129 (5th Cir. 1979), 79-5201, United States v. Authement

Docket Nº:79-5201
Citation:607 F.2d 1129
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Richard AUTHEMENT, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:December 05, 1979
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 1129

607 F.2d 1129 (5th Cir. 1979)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Richard AUTHEMENT, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 79-5201


United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

December 5, 1979

Daniel J. Markey, Jr., New Orleans, La., for defendant-appellant.

John Bilyeu Oakley, Walter W. Barnett, Drew S. Days, III, Asst. Attys. Gen., Civil Rights Div., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., for plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Before AINSWORTH, FAY and RANDALL, Circuit Judges.

Page 1130


The appellant, Richard Authement, a former Houma, Louisiana police officer, appeals his jury conviction for willful deprivation of the civil rights of Cecil Weldon Robbins, a burglary suspect, under color of law in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242.

Authement and codefendant Duplantis were among several police officers who answered a burglary call at the Houma Greyhound Bus Station in the early morning hours of June 25, 1978. Robbins was ordered out of the building by the police officers and arrested. The Government alleged that Robbins was then shoved down on the pavement, beaten and kicked by Authement and Duplantis. Robbins could not positively identify which officers committed this initial assault, but one of Authement's fellow officers who was present that morning testified that Duplantis either kicked or kneed Robbins while he was in a prone position on the ground and that Authement hit Robbins' head on the cement several times. Robbins was then handcuffed and put in the back seat of a patrol car. Authement opened the right rear door of the car, ordered Robbins to move over and, according to Robbins, jabbed Robbins several times with a nightstick. Robbins was then taken to the police station, the handcuffs were removed, and he was left alone in a small room. Robbins testified that Authement entered the room wearing a set of brass knuckles and threatened to use them if Robbins did not cooperate. Authement then struck Robbins in the chest with the brass knuckles, knocking him into a nearby chair. In addition, Robbins testified that one of the police officers whom he could not identify stomped on his bare feet; one of the police officers who testified at trial identified Duplantis as the officer who stomped on Robbins' toes.

Robbins was booked for burglary and resisting arrest, but the resisting arrest charge was later dropped. The next day he sought medical treatment and was hospitalized for eleven days. He was suffering from facial abrasions and contusions, a fracture on the bone underneath the left eye, and bruised kidneys. Hospital photographs of Robbins' injuries were admitted into evidence over objection.

Authement gave the brass knuckles and his nightstick to his attorney, Daniel Markey. The Government served a subpoena Duces tecum on Markey demanding production of the two items. Authement moved to quash the subpoena, contending Inter alia that production would violate the attorney-client privilege and his fifth amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination. After a hearing, the magistrate recommended quashing the subpoena, but the district court...

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