639 F.2d 1186 (5th Cir. 1981), 80-7253, United States v. Yeatts

Docket Nº:80-7253
Citation:639 F.2d 1186
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. H. Coleman YEATTS, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:March 16, 1981
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 1186

639 F.2d 1186 (5th Cir. 1981)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


H. Coleman YEATTS, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 80-7253

Unit B

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

March 16, 1981

Page 1187

Edward T. M. Garland, Atlanta, Ga., for defendant-appellant.

William L. Harper, U. S. Atty., William R. Toliver, Asst. U. S. Atty., Atlanta, Ga., for plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Before RONEY, FRANK M. JOHNSON, Jr. and HENDERSON, Circuit Judges.

FRANK M. JOHNSON, Jr., Circuit Judge:

Appellant H. Coleman Yeatts was convicted, after trial by jury, for possession of counterfeit United States gold coins with intent to defraud in violation of 18 U.S.C.A. § 485. 1 He appeals, urging four grounds of error. First, he claims that the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal notwithstanding the verdict. Second, he contends that possession of counterfeit United States gold coins with intent to defraud is not a criminal offense within the meaning of Section 485. Third, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to show that he had the requisite intent to defraud. Last, he contends that the jury

Page 1188

instructions constituted plain error by permitting the jury to consider evidence outside the record. We find no reversible error and accordingly affirm.

Yeatts is a professional coin and stamp dealer. He was a booth holder at a stamp trade show in Atlanta on February 24, 1978, when he offered to sell what appeared to be 10 to 15 United States gold coins to another booth holder, Harold Miller. Miller, also a professional coin and stamp dealer, was suspicious of the authenticity of the coins and questioned Yeatts about them. Yeatts admitted to Miller that he knew that those coins were counterfeit. Yeatts also indicated that he sold those types of coins to the "jewelry trade" and to other people who were not aware of the true nature of such coins. Yeatts then told Miller that he had given Miller the wrong group of coins and showed Miller another group of coins. Miller, again suspicious, questioned Yeatts about the authenticity of the second group of coins. Yeatts admitted that those coins were also probably counterfeit but stated that he felt that the coins were "good enough to pass." Miller then contacted the Atlanta office of the United States Secret Service.

Two Secret Service agents arrived at the stamp show and went to Yeatts' booth and asked him to step into the hallway. When they told Yeatts that they were investigating information that he possessed counterfeit coins, Yeatts told the agents that he was not aware that he possessed any counterfeit coins. The agents then asked Yeatts to show them the coins that he had and Yeatts went to his booth and returned to the hallway carrying 8 to 10 coins. When asked if he had any more coins, Yeatts admitted that he did and also admitted that he had been told by another dealer that the other coins might be counterfeit.

Yeatts then returned to his booth, accompanied by one of the agents. That agent observed Yeatts attempt to hide some of the coins, which were in two stacks in a box on the floor of the booth. Yeatts pushed one stack to a corner of the box and removed only one stack, and then started to leave the booth. Yeatts took the second stack out of the box only after the agent pointed out that he had forgotten one stack. Yeatts took the coins, about 35 in all, into the hallway where Miller examined them and stated that 27 of them appeared to be counterfeit. Yeatts surrendered the 27 coins to the agents.

Subsequent testing of the coins by the United States Bureau of Mint disclosed that the coins were indeed counterfeit. 2

Appellant filed a motion for judgment of acquittal notwithstanding the verdict on February 20, 1980. However, he failed to accompany his motion with a memorandum of law citing supporting authorities and allegations of fact relied upon and required by the local rules of the district court. 3 On March 27, 1980, the date of sentencing, appellant's counsel inquired about the status of the motion and the district court instructed him to supply the required memorandum by the following Friday, April 4, 1980. The court stated that it would reserve its ruling until it had reviewed appellant's supporting memorandum. There is no indication in...

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