Metoyer v. United States

Decision Date13 November 1957
Docket NumberNo. 13970.,13970.
PartiesJ. G. METOYER, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit

102 US App. DC 62, 250 F.2d 30 (1957)

J. G. METOYER, Appellant,
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

No. 13970.

United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit.

Argued September 26, 1957.

Decided November 13, 1957.

Mr. Belford V. Lawson, Jr., Washington, D. C. (appointed by the District Court), for appellant. Miss Marjorie McKenzie, Washington, D. C., also entered an appearance for appellant.

Mr. Carl W. Belcher, Asst. U. S. Atty., for appellee. Messrs. Oliver Gasch, U. S. Atty., and Lewis Carroll, Asst. U. S. Atty., also entered appearances for appellee.

Before EDGERTON, Chief Judge, and PRETTYMAN and BURGER, Circuit Judges.

250 F.2d 31

BURGER, Circuit Judge.

This case comes to us on a motion by appellant to reverse and a motion by the United States to affirm. Both motions rest on undisputed facts.

In June 1957, Metoyer was convicted after jury trial of second degree murder and duly sentenced. The District Court granted leave to appeal in forma pauperis. The record and a transcript of the trial are filed, but not printed, in this court.

Metoyer and two companions had been drinking and began to quarrel or brawl. Students of Gallaudet College undertook to stop the brawling and in a general scuffle Metoyer, according to his confession and his testimony on trial, drew a pistol and shot, not at any person but, as he thought, into the air to frighten the others and terminate the brawling.1 His testimony is that he left the scene not knowing one of the Gallaudet students was struck by the bullet and that he died from the wound some hours later.

The following day at 12:00 noon, Metoyer was picked up by police in Maryland and held without any questioning for one hour until the arrival of Washington, D. C., police who had been notified of his apprehension. It is not disputed that the opening question of the Washington police sergeant was whether he, Metoyer, was the man who fired the gun in the brawling. Metoyer at once said he was the man and promptly related all the circumstances of the shooting which had been witnessed by three or four persons present at the scene. Eyewitnesses who had been called to the police station identified Metoyer and confirmed his story. Within 20 or 25 minutes after the first voluntary statement, preparation of a written statement was commenced and at approximately 2:15 P.M. Metoyer signed the statement which was prefaced with a recital that it could be used against him. A warrant for Metoyer's arrest had been issued in Washington but was not delivered to the officers until about 3:15 or 3:30 P.M., at which time it was served on him. At 3:30 P.M. he was arraigned before a judge of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland at Rockville, was advised of his rights by the judge and extradition to the District of Columbia was ordered.

Metoyer now contends he did not understand that he was waiving extradition or what constituted extradition. After the arraignment hearing at Rockville, Maryland, he guided the District of Columbia police to his home at about 4:30 P.M., consented to their entering and delivered to them the pistol he had used. He was then taken to downtown Washington and again arraigned at 5:30 P.M.

On trial his confession was admitted over objection and the trial judge charged the jury to disregard the confession if they believed it was not voluntary.

Metoyer relies on Mallory v. United States, 1957, 354 U.S. 449, 77 S.Ct. 1356, 1360, 1 L.Ed.2d 1479 and on violations of Rule 5, Fed.R.Crim.P., 18 U.S.C.A., and on failure of police to inform the Maryland court of his confession and waiver of extradition when he was arraigned before that court at 3:30 P.M.2

Appellant urges not that the confession is a product of prolonged detention but that the "undue speed" which attended the actions of the police from 1:00 P.M., when the Washington police arrived at the jail in Maryland, until the arraignment at 3:30 P.M. in Rockville and at 5:30 in Washington, violated his rights. He also urges that failure promptly at 1:00 P.M. to advise him of his constitutional rights before he volunteered his oral confession and before he signed the written statement violated his rights under Mallory v. United States, supra.

250 F.2d 32

Essentially, Metoyer's present complaint is that his admittedly prompt and spontaneous admission of shooting the gun to "frighten" but not to kill was attended by such a swift sequence of events that he became emotionally unsettled, was unaware and uninformed of his right to remain silent and because of this his confession is inadmissible.

It is difficult to conceive how the actions of the police could have been other than what they were. The first hour of detention was not attended by any questioning whatever, since the Maryland authorities were simply holding Metoyer and his two drinking companions for the Washington police. Their arrival within one hour after receiving notice of his detention was as prompt as could reasonably be expected. On arrival the Washington officer's first obligation was to determine whether Metoyer was the man they sought and the first inquiry, directed to identification rather than general interrogation was described thus:

"When I first got there at 1 p. m. and was introduced to the three suspects, at that time, I immediately talked to the defendant Metoyer, and I asked him if he was the man that fired the gun in this particular case, and he said that he was." R. 352.

The answer to the question not only identified Metoyer as the man sought but was itself an admission of the shooting. Even then the police took the further precaution of seeking corroboration by having eye...

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  • People v. Cipriano, Docket Nos. 77682
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • June 1, 1987
    ...mere passage of time; it means passage of time during which that which should and could be done is not done." Metoyer v. United States, 102 U.S.App.D.C. 62, 65, 250 F.2d 30 (1957). Given defendant's association with the missing car of the crime victim and the fact that the car was observed ......
  • Jones v. United States
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 16, 1964
    ..."necessary". But this assumes some appropriate purpose for the delay other than obtaining a confession, as in Metoyer v. United States, 102 U.S.App.D.C. 62, 250 F.2d 30 (1957), and Heideman v. United States, 104 U.S.App.D.C. 128, 259 F.2d 943 (1958), where "inquiry to make sure that the pol......
  • Johnson v. State, 70
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • April 6, 1978
    ...824, 82 S.Ct. 840, 7 L.Ed.2d 789 (1962) (delay in arraignment of one hour for interrogation not unnecessary); Metoyer v. United States, 102 U.S.App.D.C. 62, 250 F.2d 30 (1957) (two-hour delay permissible). Some courts, however, have taken the opposing view that a delay of even a few minutes......
  • Frazier v. United States
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 14, 1969
    ...(1964) (Miller, J.); Jackson v. United States, 114 U.S.App.D.C. 181, 313 F.2d 572 (1962) (Edgerton, J.); Metoyer v. United States, 102 U.S.App.D.C. 62, 250 F.2d 30 (1957) (Burger, J.). 10 Compare, e. g., Greenwell v. United States, 119 U.S.App.D.C. 43, 336 F.2d 962 (1964) (allegations of co......
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