Coleman v. United States, No. 10365.

Docket NºNo. 10365.
Citation379 A.2d 710
Case DateOctober 31, 1977
CourtCourt of Appeals of Columbia District
379 A.2d 710
Earl COLEMAN, Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES, Appellee.
No. 10365.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Argued September 15, 1977.
Decided October 31, 1977.

Page 711

William J. Genego, appointed by this court, with whom Stuart H. Gitlitz, Washington, D. C., appointed by this court, was on the brief, for appellant.

Earl J. Silbert, U. S. Atty., John A. Terry, William D. Pease, Lawrence H. Wechsler and Steven D. Gordon, Asst. U. S. Attys., Washington, D. C., were on the brief, for appellee which was submitted without oral argument.

Before NEWMAN, Chief Judge, and GALLAGHER and YEAGLEY, Associate Judges.

YEAGLEY, Associate Judge:


Appellant appeals from his conviction on three counts of first-degree premeditated murder (D.C.Code 1973, § 22-2401), three counts of first-degree felony murder (D.C. Code 1973, § 22-2401), attempt to commit robbery while armed (D.C.Code 1973, §§ 22-2902, -3202), first-degree burglary while armed (D.C.Code 1973, §§ 22-1801(a), -3202), carrying a pistol without a license (D.C.Code 1973, § 22-3204) and carrying a dangerous weapon (a shotgun) (D.C.Code 1973, § 22-3204). We find his assignments of error to be without merit and therefore affirm.

On the evening of October 24, 1974, a man and two women were murdered. The evidence introduced against appellant at his trial indicated that the man had been appellant's partner in a narcotics distribution operation and that appellant killed him and the two women after a falling out over a debt which appellant claimed the man owed him. Appellant presented as his defense the alibi that at the time the three murders were committed, he was home in bed. Several witnesses testified in support of appellant's alibi.

The first claim raised on appeal is that the trial court erred in ruling that appellant could not assert his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination as a bar to certain questions asked by the government on cross-examination. It is

Page 712

well settled that a defendant who takes the stand on his own behalf may not utilize his Fifth Amendment privilege in order to bar cross-examination reasonably related to the scope of direct examination. Branch v. United States, 84 U.S.App.D.C. 165, 171 F.2d 337 (1948); 8 Wigmore, Evidence § 2276(2) (McNaughton rev. 1961). Furthermore, the extent of cross-examination in any particular case is a matter within the discretion of the trial court and this discretion is extremely broad when the defendant asserts an alibi defense. United States v. Higginbotham, 539 F.2d 17 (9th Cir. 1976).

In this case, defendant testified extensively on direct examination as to the narcotics operation in which he and his associates were involved. On cross-examination, the prosecutor suggested to appellant that the apartment where he met his associates on the night in question was the base of their narcotics operation. When appellant denied that this was the only base, the prosecutor asked him, "[w]here else did you have?" Appellant asserted his privilege against self-incrimination, and the trial judge ruled that he had waived his Fifth Amendment privilege with respect to the prosecutor's question by his direct...

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38 practice notes
  • JOHNSON v. U.S., No. 91-CF-5
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • October 17, 1996
    ...of committing the crime is some evidence of the probability of his guilt, and is therefore admissible." Coleman v. United States, 379 A.2d 710, 712 (D.C. We later stated unequivocally in King v. United States, 618 A.2d 727, 730 (D.C. 1993): Our cases have repeatedly held that admissibi......
  • State v. Reid
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • December 27, 2006
    ...of committing the crime is some evidence of the probability of his guilt, and is therefore admissible." Coleman v. United States, 379 A.2d 710, 712 (D.C.App.1977). Similarly, in People v. Houston, the Michigan Court of Appeals determined that proof that Houston had possessed a .380 han......
  • Hartridge v. U.S., No. 97-CF-1867.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • March 23, 2006
    ...guilt, and is therefore admissible.'" McConnaughey v. United States, 804 A.2d 334, 339 (D.C.2002) (quoting Coleman v. United States, 379 A.2d 710, 712 (D.C. 1977)). Given the ballistics' testimony, the evidence regarding the guns also served as direct and substantial proof of the crime......
  • Jones v. United States, No. 82-1051.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • May 31, 1984
    ...connection between the evidence of appellant's possession of a gun and his recent threats to kill Ms. Nicks. See Coleman v. United States, 379 A.2d 710, 712 (D.C.1977) (trial court has broad discretion as to admissibility of evidence). Elaine Harris testified that a month before the killing......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
38 cases
  • JOHNSON v. U.S., No. 91-CF-5
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • October 17, 1996
    ...means of committing the crime is some evidence of the probability of his guilt, and is therefore admissible." Coleman v. United States, 379 A.2d 710, 712 (D.C. We later stated unequivocally in King v. United States, 618 A.2d 727, 730 (D.C. 1993): Our cases have repeatedly held that admissib......
  • State v. Reid
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • December 27, 2006
    ...means of committing the crime is some evidence of the probability of his guilt, and is therefore admissible." Coleman v. United States, 379 A.2d 710, 712 (D.C.App.1977). Similarly, in People v. Houston, the Michigan Court of Appeals determined that proof that Houston had possessed a .380 ha......
  • Hartridge v. U.S., No. 97-CF-1867.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • March 23, 2006
    ...his guilt, and is therefore admissible.'" McConnaughey v. United States, 804 A.2d 334, 339 (D.C.2002) (quoting Coleman v. United States, 379 A.2d 710, 712 (D.C. 1977)). Given the ballistics' testimony, the evidence regarding the guns also served as direct and substantial proof of the crime ......
  • Jones v. United States, No. 82-1051.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • May 31, 1984
    ...connection between the evidence of appellant's possession of a gun and his recent threats to kill Ms. Nicks. See Coleman v. United States, 379 A.2d 710, 712 (D.C.1977) (trial court has broad discretion as to admissibility of evidence). Elaine Harris testified that a month before the killing......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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