Bynum v. United States, No. 14403.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
Writing for the CourtHASTIE, Circuit
Citation262 F.2d 465,104 US App. DC 368
Docket NumberNo. 14403.
Decision Date15 December 1958
PartiesClayborne BYNUM, Appellant v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

104 US App. DC 368, 262 F.2d 465 (1958)

Clayborne BYNUM, Appellant
v.
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

No. 14403.

United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit.

Argued June 17, 1958.

Decided December 15, 1958.

Petition for Rehearing Denied January 20, 1959.


262 F.2d 466

Mr. Henry Lincoln Johnson, Jr., Washington, D. C., for appellant.

Mr. Nathan J. Paulson, Asst. U. S. Atty., with whom Messrs. Oliver Gasch, U. S. Atty., Carl W. Belcher and Thomas A. Flannery, Asst. U. S. Attys., were on the brief, for appellee.

Before FAHY and WASHINGTON, Circuit Judges, and HASTIE, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.*

Petition for Rehearing In Banc Denied January 20, 1959.

HASTIE, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from a conviction of robbery. D.C.Code § 22-2901 (1951). A principal issue is whether the court below erred in admitting into evidence certain fingerprints which had been obtained from the accused while he was detained pursuant to an allegedly illegal arrest. The circumstances here are such as to require us to examine the rationale and to judge the reach of authoritative decisions which, in other circumstances, have held evidence obtained through illegal arrest and detention to be inadmissible.

Appellant was arrested on an occasion when he had come voluntarily to a police station to make inquiry about his brother who was being detained there. He was arrested without warrant and, as we shall demonstrate later, the record does not disclose probable cause for believing he had committed a felony. It is not disputed that almost immediately after arrest appellant was taken to police headquarters for booking proceedings which included the taking of his fingerprints. He was later indicted, and at his subsequent trial for robbery these fingerprints were introduced in evidence and became an important part of the proof that certain other fingerprints, said to have been found at the scene of the crime, were appellant's fingerprints. These simple facts define the issue in controversy.

In admitting the fingerprints the trial judge appears to have thought it sufficient that the evidence was plainly relevant and that no reason appeared to doubt its trustworthiness. Certainly appellant does not deny that he was fingerprinted during his detention. And a police officer called as a witness duly identified the prints offered in evidence as those taken from appellant's fingers. While there could have been some mistake or misrepresentation in this connection this is a risk incidental to all identification of objects offered in evidence. There can be no doubt that the identification of these fingerprints was quite adequate and their relevancy as an essential link in a chain of evidence connecting the accused with the crime charged was obvious.

But there remains the question whether the fact that an illegal arrest enabled the police to take these fingerprints while the suspect was illegally detained is in itself and without more a sufficient ground for excluding them from evidence. The court below thought it was not. We think it was.

Here it becomes important to determine the rationale of those decisions of the Supreme Court which, in other circumstances, have excluded evidence as the product of unlawful arrest and detention. It is well settled that an article taken from the person of an individual on the occasion of an illegal arrest is not admissible in evidence against him although it is relevant and entirely trustworthy as an item of proof. United States v. Di Re, 1948, 332 U.S. 581, 68 S.Ct. 222, 92 L.Ed. 210; Bolt v. United States, 55 App.D.C. 120, 2 F.2d 922. Again, if the police have obtained a statement from an accused person during his illegal detention, no showing that the

262 F.2d 467
statement has been obtained without coercion and accurately recorded can make it admissible, although it may seem to be a trustworthy and patently relevant voluntary statement. Upshaw v. United States, 1948, 335 U.S. 410, 69 S.Ct. 170, 93 L.Ed. 100; Mallory v. United States, 1957, 354 U.S. 449, 77 S.Ct. 1356, 1 L.Ed.2d 1479. In these situations it is deemed a matter of overriding concern that effective sanctions be imposed against illegal arrest and detention and the risks of overreaching inherent in such action. Even though highly probative and seemingly trustworthy evidence is excluded in the process, this loss is thought to be more than counterbalanced by the salutary effect of a forthright and comprehensive rule that illegal detention shall yield the...

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94 practice notes
  • United States v. Poole, No. 72-1533.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • January 17, 1974
    ...of detention following upon an unlawful arrest. The applicable case among our precedents is Bynum v. United States, 104 U.S.App.D.C. 368, 262 F.2d 465 (1959), in which this court held that fingerprints taken from one illegally arrested must be excluded, and where it espoused the principle t......
  • Sullivan v. Murphy, No. 71-1632.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 16, 1973
    ...274 F.2d 767 (1960), cert. denied, 379 U.S. 908, 85 S.Ct. 202, 13 L.Ed.2d 180 (1964), with Bynum v. United States, 104 U.S.App.D.C. 368, 262 F.2d 465 (1958). See Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 487-488, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963) ; Pennsylvania ex rel. Craig v. Maroney, 57 ......
  • People v. Sesslin, Cr. 11519
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 10, 1968
    ...v. Bilderbach, supra, 62 Cal.2d at 768, 44 Cal.Rptr. at 319, 401 P.2d at 927; see also Bynum v. United States (1959) 104 U.S.App.D.C. 368, 262 F.2d 465, 466--467; State v. Miller (1966) 76 N.M. 62, 412 P.2d 240, [68 Cal.2d 428] We find no basis upon which to conclude that the connection bet......
  • People v. Stuller, Cr. 4001
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 14, 1970
    ...and seizures. (Davis v. Mississippi, 394 U.S. 721 (22 L.Ed.2d 676, 89 S.Ct. 1394) see also Bynum v. United States, 104 U.S.App.D.C. 368, 262 F.2d 465.) However, a crucial distinction is noted between Davis and the instant case; in Davis, the defendant was arrested without probable cause; hi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
94 cases
  • United States v. Poole, No. 72-1533.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • January 17, 1974
    ...of detention following upon an unlawful arrest. The applicable case among our precedents is Bynum v. United States, 104 U.S.App.D.C. 368, 262 F.2d 465 (1959), in which this court held that fingerprints taken from one illegally arrested must be excluded, and where it espoused the principle t......
  • Sullivan v. Murphy, No. 71-1632.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 16, 1973
    ...274 F.2d 767 (1960), cert. denied, 379 U.S. 908, 85 S.Ct. 202, 13 L.Ed.2d 180 (1964), with Bynum v. United States, 104 U.S.App.D.C. 368, 262 F.2d 465 (1958). See Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 487-488, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963) ; Pennsylvania ex rel. Craig v. Maroney, 57 ......
  • People v. Sesslin, Cr. 11519
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 10, 1968
    ...v. Bilderbach, supra, 62 Cal.2d at 768, 44 Cal.Rptr. at 319, 401 P.2d at 927; see also Bynum v. United States (1959) 104 U.S.App.D.C. 368, 262 F.2d 465, 466--467; State v. Miller (1966) 76 N.M. 62, 412 P.2d 240, [68 Cal.2d 428] We find no basis upon which to conclude that the connection bet......
  • People v. Stuller, Cr. 4001
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 14, 1970
    ...and seizures. (Davis v. Mississippi, 394 U.S. 721 (22 L.Ed.2d 676, 89 S.Ct. 1394) see also Bynum v. United States, 104 U.S.App.D.C. 368, 262 F.2d 465.) However, a crucial distinction is noted between Davis and the instant case; in Davis, the defendant was arrested without probable cause; hi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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