Chieftain Pontiac Corp. v. Julian, 4787.

Decision Date21 January 1954
Docket NumberNo. 4787.,4787.
PartiesCHIEFTAIN PONTIAC CORP. et al. v. JULIAN, U. S. Atty.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit

Thomas W. Lawless, Boston, Mass., for appellants.

James J. Sullivan, Jr., Asst. U. S. Atty., Boston, Mass. (Anthony Julian, U. S. Atty., Boston, Mass., with him on the brief), for appellee.

Before MAGRUDER, Chief Judge, and WOODBURY and HARTIGAN, Circuit Judges.

MAGRUDER, Chief Judge.

We have before us appeals from an order of the district court entered February 27, 1953, dismissing, upon authority of our decision in Centracchio v. Garrity, 1952, 198 F.2d 382, certiorari denied 1952, 344 U.S. 866, 73 S.Ct. 108, 97 L.Ed. 672, three pre-indictment petitions for the return of property and for the suppression of evidence. By order of this court the appeals were consolidated and heard upon a single record, since they present the same question.

The petitioners were Chieftain Pontiac Corporation, Clayton B. Luckenbach, and Alvin E. Godshall, officers and sole stockholders of the corporate petitioner.

In substance the three petitions alleged the following: That respondent United States Attorney had given notice of intention to present certain evidence to the grand jury to the end that an indictment against petitioners might be obtained for violations of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C.A. § 1 et seq., in respect of their income tax returns for the years 1946, 1947 and 1948; that on April 25, 1949, two special agents of the Internal Revenue Bureau called on petitioners and represented that they were investigating possible income tax violations of a third party and that they desired to examine the books and papers of petitioners with reference thereto; that in a later conversation with said special agents petitioners indicated that there were some irregularities with reference to their own tax returns, and were informed by the said agents of the so-called "voluntary disclosure policy" theretofore announced by the Treasury Department, to the effect that the Commissioner of Internal Revenue does not recommend criminal prosecution in the case of any taxpayer who makes a voluntary disclosure of omissions or other misstatements in his income tax return before an investigation of his income tax liabilities is under way; that the said agents falsely and fraudulently represented to and assured petitioners that their income tax liabilities were not under investigation by the Treasury Department, and therefore that they were eligible to obtain the benefit of this voluntary disclosure policy; that in fact said special agents then knew, and petitioners did not know, that an investigation of petitioners' affairs was currently pending, and then intended, in the event of disclosure, to instigate criminal prosecutions against petitioners; that in reliance upon these fraudulent representations petitioners proceeded to make a full and complete disclosure, including a written admission that their income had been understated for the years in question, and furnished said government agents a list of all customers during the period involved, all duplicate sales vouchers, checks, records and files and other information necessary to enable the agents to determine petitioners' income tax deficiencies; that the turning over of the papers and documents, under the circumstances, "was not voluntary but in effect was an illegal search and seizure of said papers"; that the papers thus turned over to the government came into the possession of the respondent U. S. Attorney, who was preparing to use the same in obtaining grand jury indictments against petitioners. It was prayed in the petitions that the district court enter an order directing that all the statements and other material supplied by petitioners to the said agents be suppressed as evidence in any grand jury hearing or other criminal proceedings against the petitioners, and that all of the said papers in the hands of the U. S. Attorney be returned to petitioners.

A full hearing was held on the petitions, at which evidence was taken. The district court, without making specific findings of fact on the conflicting evidence as to whether the Treasury agents had made the fraudulent representations as alleged, did find that petitioners had "voluntarily turned over the evidence and made the disclosures for the purpose of a determination of their income tax liabilities." In the light of this "indisputable fact" the district court felt obliged to dismiss the pre-indictment petitions on the authority of the Centr...

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19 cases
  • Rodgers v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of California
    • 6 Enero 1958
    ...try the case. Biggs v. United States, 6 Cir., 1957, 246 F.2d 40; Benes v. Canary, 6 Cir., 1955, 224 F.2d 470; Chieftain Pontiac Corp. v. Julian, 1 Cir., 1954, 209 F.2d 657. Centracchio v. Garrity, 1 Cir., 1952, 198 F.2d 382, was also a case involving the Fifth but not the Fourth Amendment. ......
  • Moyer v. Brownell
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Pennsylvania
    • 5 Enero 1956
    ...v. Garrity, 1 Cir., 1952, 198 F. 2d 382, certiorari denied 344 U.S. 866, 73 S.Ct. 108, 97 L.Ed. 672, and Chieftan Pontiac Corp. v. Julian, 1 Cir., 1954, 209 F.2d 657, which would make any consideration of plaintiff's claimed denial of constitutional rights unnecessary at this time. See Bene......
  • Austin v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • 21 Noviembre 1961
    ...F. 2d 547. 8 Centracchio v. Garrity, 1 Cir., 198 F.2d 382, cert. denied 344 U.S. 866, 73 S.Ct. 108, 97 L.Ed. 672; Chieftain Pontiac Corp. v. Julian, 1 Cir., 209 F.2d 657; Biggs v. United States, 6 Cir., 246 F.2d 40, cert. denied 355 U.S. 922, 78 S.Ct. 364, 2 L.Ed.2d 353; Benes v. Canary, 6 ......
  • Di Bella v. United States United States v. Koenig
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • 19 Marzo 1962
    ...96 U.S.App.D.C. 44, 223 F.2d 336 (1955). 7 First Circuit: Centracchio v. Garrity, 198 F.2d 382, 385 (1952); Chieftain Pontiac Corp. v. Julian, 209 F.2d 657, 659 (1954) (by implication). Second Circuit: United States v. Poller, 43 F.2d 911 (1930); In re Milburne, 77 F.2d 310 (1935); United S......
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