905 F.2d 966 (6th Cir. 1990), 89-6056, United States v. Crismon

Docket Nº:89-6056.
Citation:905 F.2d 966
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Gertie CRISMON, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:June 18, 1990
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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905 F.2d 966 (6th Cir. 1990)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Gertie CRISMON, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 89-6056.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

June 18, 1990

Argued April 6, 1990.

W. Hickman Ewing, Jr., U.S. Atty., Timothy R. DiScenza, Asst. U.S. Atty., Van S. Vincent, argued, Memphis, for plaintiff-appellee.

Kemper B. Durand, argued, Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson, Mitchell, Blanchard, W. Otis Higgs, Jr., Peete, Higgs & Armstrong, Memphis, for defendant-appellant.

Before MARTIN and JONES, Circuit Judges, and FEIKENS, Senior District Judge. [*]


Defendant-Appellant, Gertie Crismon ("defendant"), was convicted of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to sell marijuana. She appeals, asserting essentially four errors: (1) failure to grant defendant's oral motion to suppress evidence obtained as the consequence of an arrest made without probable cause and/or coerced consent; (2) denial of defendant's motion for acquittal; (3) failure to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; and (4) failure to grant a new trial warranted by erroneous jury charges and instructions that negated defendant's right to cross-examination. We affirm.


On December 7, 1988, in Memphis, Tennessee, airport police officer Drake observed defendant arrive on a flight from Los Angeles, California. Defendant was observed going in and out of the baggage lobby door several times as if looking for someone. She claimed two suitcases and a garment bag. She was then observed to take a Sheraton Hotel shuttle to the airport Sheraton.

Officer Drake decided to follow her because he thought her behavior was suspicious and because he thought her attire--

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tennis shoes, a pair of jogging pants, and a coat--was unusual for a woman going to the Sheraton.

Officer Drake learned that she had checked in under the name of Chonte Larkins. The room had been paid for in cash and rented for one night. There was no Chonte Larkins on defendant's flight. In fact, defendant had flown under the name Jon Crismon.

Police set up a surveillance from a vacant room across the hallway from defendant. Nothing new came to the police's attention, but when a special agent arrived, they went to defendant's room and knocked on the door and asked to speak to her. She opened the door. The officers identified themselves as police and showed identification. They advised her that they were conducting an investigation and that they wished to talk with her. She let them in.

In the room, the police observed the three bags she had picked up at the airport. The police asked to search the luggage. Officer Drake told her,

If you do not feel comfortable about it, what we'll do is we'll go out and we'll call the dogs and we'll try to attain [sic] a search warrant.... What we'll do, we'll sit here and we'll wait until the dogs arrive and we'll conduct our business that way.

She asked how it would affect her if something were found in the luggage. The police offered her a consent form. They explained to her that she did not have to sign the form. She signed but wrote on the bottom that she did not understand it. The police told her that since she did not need to sign the form in the first place if she did not want to, she need not try to void her consent. She then crossed out and initialed the phrase that stated she did not understand.

The police then searched her luggage. One suitcase contained a garment bag, which itself contained women's clothing. That suitcase also contained a thermal bag with six, separately wrapped, one-kilogram packages of...

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