Clinton v. Com., 5558

Docket NºNo. 5558
Citation204 Va. 275, 130 S.E.2d 437
Case DateApril 22, 1963
CourtSupreme Court of Virginia

Page 437

130 S.E.2d 437
204 Va. 275

Record No. 5558.
Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia
April 22, 1963.

[204 Va. 276] Calvin H. Childress (Herbert S. Reid, Jr., on brief), for the plaintiff in error.

D. Gardiner Tyler, Assistant Attorney General (Robert Y. Button, Attorney General, on brief), for the Commonwealth.


SNEAD, J., delivered the opinion of the court.

Page 438

Catherine Clinton was indicted on two counts charging (1) that she did feloniously receive money from the earnings of Katherine R. Taylor, who was engaged in prostitution, for a consideration not deemed good and valuable in law in violation of § 18.1-208, Code of 1950, as amended, and (2) that she did unlawfully and feloniously place Katherine R. Taylor in a house of prostitution with intent that she should live a life of prostitution in violation of § 18.1-205. The jury found defendant guilty as charged under the first count and fixed her punishment at 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $500. The trial court overruled defendant's motion to set aside the verdict

Page 439

on the grounds that it was contrary to the law and the evidence and entered judgment in accordance with the verdict. We granted defendant a writ of error.

The defendant did not testify or offer any evidence in her behalf.

The evidence discloses that the defendant and Mrs. Katherine Taylor had been friends for quite a while, but had not seen each other 'in years'. In September 1961, pursuant to a telephone call made by defendant to Katherine Taylor the parties met in a restaurant in the city of Norfolk. There they had a 'general conversation.' They discussed their financial difficulties. Defendant revealed that she had a $1,000 fine to pay and Katherine Taylor said she had unpaid bills. Defendant stated that she had 'some numbers that she could [204 Va. 277] contact and we could both make some money'; and that 'she had the best clientele in town.'

About 10 days later defendant went to Katherine Taylor's home to ascertain if she was still interested in the proposition. Later they toured different sections of the city to locate an apartment, but a location was not decided upon. Subsequently defendant advised her that she had rented an apartment at Ocean View. According to the landlord's desk clerk, defendant, who was accompanied by her husband, Harry Clinton, rented the one-room efficiency apartment at 9630 1st View street in the fictitious name of 'Mr. and Mrs. Charles Morrison.' Katherine Taylor testified that defendant called 'different numbers' to let 'the men know that she [defendant] was in business.' When asked what her compensation was, she replied that the men paid $10 and that she received $5. Defendant received one-half because she had the 'numbers' and had to pay the telephone bill and the 'upkeep of the apartment.' With one exception, all of the engagements Katherine Taylor had with men for sexual intercourse secured by defendant were had at the defendant's apartment. Prostitution was not a new experience for Katherine Taylor. She testified that she had formerly worked with defendant in Richmond.

The defendant's apartment was kept under surveillance by Norfolk police officers for four days, during which time they observed men visit the apartment. Part of the time officer Earl H. Beach was stationed in the adjoining apartment where he heard conversations and sounds which tended to show that the premises were used as a house of prostitution. This evidence was obtained by listening through the medicine cabinet in the wall dividing the two apartments and by an amplifying device 'stuck in the wall.'

On the morning of October 25, 1961, a man, later identified as S. N. Edwards, entered the apartment. The defendant arrived shortly thereafter. About 10 minutes later she and Betty Johnson left the premises and took a seat in Harry Clinton's automobile which was parked across the street in the Colonial Stores' parking lot. The police officers broke the glass in the door of the apartment, entered and found Katherine Taylor and Edwards undressed and preparing for sexual intercourse. They, along with defendant, her husband and Betty Johnson, were taken into custody and the indictment of defendant followed.

Here, defendant argues that the trial court erred (1) in refusing to declare a mistrial for admitting certain evidence of S. N. Edwards [204 Va. 278] which tended to show that she formerly operated a house of prostitution at another place; (2) in admitting evidence obtained in the adjoining apartment through the use of a mechanical listening device stuck in the wall which separated the two apartments; and (3) in refusing Instruction No. D-3. These questions will be discussed in the order mentioned.

S. N. Edwards testified that after a telephone conversation with defendant he went to her apartment. There the conversation between the two was 'more or less a sparring deal' as he was attempting to identify himself and show he was not connected with

Page 440

law enforcement. He told her that the purpose of the visit was to meet her and look the place over as he had out-of-town friends who might be interested in contacting her.

On direct examination Edwards testified as follows:

'Q. Tell us what actually was said. * * *.

'A. All right; what I said first. I told her that I thought her name was familiar and I asked her if she operated in the other place in town.

'The Court: Operated what? * * *?

* * *

'A. Well, a house of prostitution, but those words weren't used. I didn't ask her.

'The Court: What did you use? How did you come to the understanding?

'A. Just what I said, sir, because it was obvious what was going on. It was just a line of conversation and it was taken, well, that both parties knew what was going on.

'She asked me if I had ever visited places down at East Ocean View and I told her I had not and she mentioned some other places, I believe, but I don't recall where it was and I said, no, that I had never visited any other places.

'Then I asked her, to prolong the conversation, if she was ever down at Lynnhaven.

'Mr. Reid: Your Honor, I object to this.

'The Court: Overruled.

'Mr. Reid: I save the point.

'A. She says, 'Yes, I did.' I said, 'Well, did you have a young girl working for you that had long hair and wore it up in a pony tail, about five years ago?' Then she mentioned some name which was vague to me because I was just carrying on a conversation and [204 Va. 279] Mrs....

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17 cases
  • State v. Cartwright
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oregon
    • September 28, 1966
    ...Supreme Couret of Virginia which held admissible evidence of conversations overheard by eavesdropping officers: Clinton v. Commonwealth, 204 Va. 275, 130 S.E.2d 437 (1963). As stated in the opinion of the Virginia Court, a Page 826 witness testified that the instrument used was a 'spiked de......
  • Beatty v. United States, 23226.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 12, 1967
    ...violates the Fourth Amendment. Clinton v. Virginia, 377 U.S. 158, 84 S.Ct. 1186, 12 L.Ed.2d 213 (1964) reversing Clinton v. Commonwealth, 204 Va. 275, 130 S.E.2d 437 (1963); Silverman v. United States, 365 U.S. 505, 81 S.Ct. 679, 5 L.Ed.2d 734 (1961); Goldman v. United States, 316 U.S. 129,......
  • United States v. Desist, 313
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • October 13, 1967
    ...under Supreme Court decisions, citing Clinton v. Virginia, 377 U.S. 158, 84 S.Ct. 1186, 12 L.Ed.2d 213 (1964), reversing per curiam 204 Va. 275, 130 S.E.2d 437 (1963), and Silverman v. United States, 365 U.S. 505, 81 S.Ct. 679, 5 L.Ed.2d 734 (1961). This was the contention made below, but J......
  • Cheng v. Com., s. 891096 and 891098
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • June 8, 1990
    ...its discretion, and absent a showing of abuse of discretion, the court's ruling will not be disturbed on appeal. Clinton v. Commonwealth, 204 Va. 275, 280, 130 S.E.2d 437, 441 (1963). In the present case, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the A number ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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