Delli Paoli v. United States

Decision Date14 January 1957
Docket NumberNo. 33,33
Citation352 U.S. 232,77 S.Ct. 294,1 L.Ed.2d 278
PartiesOrlando DELLI PAOLI, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES of America
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Mr. Daniel H. Greenberg, New York City, for petitioner.

Mr. J. F. Bishop, Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Mr. Justice BURTON delivered the opinion of the Court.

A joint trial in this case resulted in the conviction of five co-defendants on a federal charge of conspiring to deal unlawfully in alcohol. Only the petitioner, Orlando Delli Paoli, appealed. The principal issue is whether the trial court committed reversible error, as against petitioner, by admitting in evidence a confession of a co-defendant, made after the termination of the alleged conspiracy. The trial court declined to delete references to petitioner from the confession but stated clearly that the confession was to be considered only in determining the guilt of the confessor and not that of other defendants. For the reasons hereafter stated, we agree that, under the circumstances of this case, such a restricted admission of the confession did not constitute reversible error.

In the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the jury convicted petitioner and four co-defendants, margiasso, Pierro, Whitley and King, of conspiring to possess and transport alcohol in unstamped containers and to evade payment of federal taxes on the alcohol.1 The Government's witnesses testified that they had observed actions of the defendants which disclosed the procedure through which Margiasso, Pierro and petitioner supplied unstamped alcohol to their customers, such as King and Whitley. The Government also offered, for use against Whitley alone, his written confession made in the presence of a government agent and of his own counsel after the termination of the conspiracy.2 The court postponed the introduction of Whit- ley's confession until the close of the Government's case. At that time, the court admitted it with an emphatic warning that it was to be considered solely in determining the guilt of Whitley and not in determining the guilt of any other defendant. The court repeated this admonition in its charge to the jury.

The Court of Appeals affirmed petitioner's conviction, with one judge dissenting. 2 Cir., 229 F.2d 319. We granted certiorari especially to consider the admissibility of Whitley's post-conspiracy confession. 350 U.S. 992, 76 S.Ct. 544.


Petitioner first attacks the sufficiency of the evidence connecting him with the conspiracy. The Government's evidence, exclusive of Whitley's confession, showed that the defendants' conspiracy to deal in unstamped alcohol centered around a garage used for storage purposes in a residential district of the Bronx in New York City and gasoline service station, also in the Bronx. The service station was used by Margiasso, Pierro and petitioner as a place to meet customers and transfer alcohol.

In December 1949, petitioner, using the alias of 'Bobbie London,' was associated with Margiasso and Pierro in inspecting the garage and in negotiating for its purchase. For $2,000 in cash, title to the garage and an adjacent cottage was taken in the name of Pierro's sister. In 1950, the garage was repaired, its windows boarded up and its doors strengthened and padlocked. Petitioner lived not far away, in the Bronx, and was observed, from time to time, at the garage or using a panel truck which was registered under a false name. During the daytime, this truck generally was parked near petitioner's home or the garage but neighbors testified that it was in use late at night. In it petitioner transported various articles to the garage or elsewhere. On one occasion, petitioner, with Margiasso, loaded it with bundles of cartons suited to the packing of 5-gallon cans. Late in 1951, petitioner used an additional truck, also registered under a false name. In addition, he frequently drove to the service station in a Cadillac car. On December 18, 1951, he used this car in making delivery of a large package to a near-by bar.

During December 1951, the service station often was used as a meeting place for Margiasso, Pierro and petitioner. Margiasso and petitioner were there on the evening of December 28.3 At about 7 and 10 p.m., respectively, King and Whitley arrived. Each turned over his car to Margiasso. Margiasso drove King's car to the garage and returned with it heavily loaded. King then drove it away. Government agents followed him until he stopped in Harlem. There they arrested him and took possession of 19 5-gallon cans of unstamped alcohol found in his car. Later in the evening, Margiasso took Whitley's car to the garage and was arrested in it when leaving the still open garage. The agents thereupon seized 113 5-gallon cans of unstamped alcohol they found in the garage. Whitley, who had been waiting for Margiasso at the service station with $1,000 in a paper bag, was arrested on the agents' return with Margiasso.

Petitioner's presence at the service station on the evening of December 28 was closely related to these events. He waited there with King for Margiasso to return with King's car containing the 19 cans of alcohol. He was there again with Margiasso at about 10 p.m. but left shortly before Whitley came. He returned while Margiasso, Whitley and the agents were there and was arrested while attempting to drive away.

Petitioner contends that the above evidence shows merely that he was a friend and associate of Pierro and Margiasso. We conclude, however, from the record as a whole, that the jury could find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that petitioner was associated with Pierro and Margiasso in the purchase of the garage and the use of the panel truck, that he knew that unstamped alcohol was stored in the garage, that he had access to it and that he was an active participant in the transfers of alcohol to Whitley and King. Accordingly, we agree with Circuit Judge Learned Hand's statement made for the court below, following his own summary of the evidence of petitioner's participation in the conspiracy:

'Not only was all this enough to connect him with the business, but the jurors could hardly have failed to find that he was in the enterprise. The whole business was illegal and carried on surreptitiously; and the possibility that unless he were a party to the venture, Pierro and Margiasso would have associated (with) him to the extent we have mentioned is too remote for serious discussion.' 229 F.2d at page 320.4


In considering the admissibility of the Whitley confession, we start with the premise that the other evidence against petitioner was sufficient to sustain his conviction. If Whitley's confession had included no reference to petitioner's participation in the conspiracy, its admission would not have been open to petitioner's objection. Similarly, if the trial court had deleted from the confession all references to petitioner's connection with the conspiracy, the admission of the remainder would not have been objectionable. The impracticality of such deletion was, however, agreed to by both the trial court and the entire court below and cannot well be controverted.

This Court long has held that a declaration made by one conspirator, in furtherance of a conspiracy and prior to its termination, may be used against the other conspirators. However, when such a declaration is made by a conspirator after the termination of the conspiracy, it may be used only against the declarant and under appropriate instructions to the jury.

'* * * Declarations of one conspirator may be used against the other conspirator not present on the theory that the declarant is the agent of the other, and the admissions of one are admissible against both under a standard exception to the hearsay rule applicable to the statements of a party. Clune v. United States, 159 U.S. 590, 593, 16 S.Ct. 125, 126, 40 L.Ed. 269. See United States v. Gooding, 12 Wheat. 460, 468—470, 6 L.Ed. 693. But such declaration can be used against the co-conspirator only when made in furtherance of the conspiracy. Fiswick v. United States, 329 U.S. 211, 217, 67 S.Ct. 224, 227, 91 L.Ed. 196; Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263, 308—309, 12 S.Ct. 617, 631—632, 36 L.Ed. 429. There can be no furtherance of a conspiracy that has ended. Therefore, the declarations of a conspirator do not bind the co-conspirator if made after the conspiracy has ended. That is the teaching of Krulewitch v. United States, supra (336 U.S. 440, 69 S.Ct. 716, 93 L.Ed. 790), and Fiswick v. United States, supra. Those cases dealt only with declarations of one conspirator after the conspiracy had ended. * * * 'Relevant declarations or admissions of a conspirator made in the absence of the co-conspirator, and not in furtherance of the conspiracy, may be admissible in a trial for conspiracy as against the declarant to prove the declarant's participation therein. The court must be careful at the time of the admission and by its instructions to make it clear that the evidence is limited as against the declarant only. Therefore, when the trial court admits against all of the conspirators a relevant declaration of one of the conspirators after the conspiracy has ended, without limiting it to the declarant, it violates the rule laid down in Krulewitch. Such declaration is inadmissible as to all but the declarant.

'* * * These declarations (i.e., those admissible only as to the declarant) must be carefully and clearly limited by the court at the time of their admission and the jury instructed as to such declarations and the limitations put upon them. Even then, in most instances of a conspiracy trial of several persons together, the application of the rule places a heavy burden upon the jurors to keep in mind the admission of certain declarations and to whom they have been restricted and in some instances for what specific purpose. While these difficulties have been pointed out in several cases, e.g., Krulewitch v....

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