Remmer v. United States

Citation205 F.2d 277
Decision Date30 June 1953
Docket NumberNo. 13281.,13281.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)




Gillen & Golden, San Francisco, Cal., Lohse & Fry, Reno, Nev. and Spurgeon Avakian, Oakland, Cal., for appellant.

Charles S. Lyon, Asst. Atty. Gen., Ellis N. Slack, Meyer Rothwacks, Joseph F. Goetten, Joseph A. Sommer, Alonzo W. Watson, Sp. Assts. to Atty. Gen., Miles N. Pike, U. S. Atty., Reno, Nev., for appellee.

Before MATHEWS, STEPHENS and ORR, Circuit Judges.

ORR, Circuit Judge.

Appellant stands convicted on four counts of an indictment charging wilful attempts to defeat and evade taxes due and owing from him and his wife for the years 1944 and 1945 in violation of § 145(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C.A. § 145(b).1 He was sentenced to imprisonment for five years and a fine of $5,000 on each of the four counts, the sentences of imprisonment to run concurrently and the fines to be cumulative. The judgment is challenged upon numerous grounds.

I. Bill of Particulars.

Appellant first contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a bill of particulars made pursuant to the provisions of Rule 7(f), Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.2 Particular stress is placed upon the fact that the indictment did not inform him as to the source or sources of his alleged net income, the item or items making up his alleged net income, and the method or methods by which the Government computed his alleged net income. An application for a bill of particulars is one addressed to the sound discretion of the court. Our inquiry: Was that discretion abused? Wong Tai v. United States, 1927, 273 U.S. 77, 47 S.Ct. 300, 71 L.Ed. 545; Himmelfarb v. United States, 9 Cir., 1949, 175 F.2d 924, certiorari denied 338 U.S. 860, 70 S.Ct. 103, 94 L.Ed. 527; Maxfield v. United States, 9 Cir., 1945, 152 F.2d 593, certiorari denied, Wilton v. United States, 327 U.S. 794, 66 S.Ct. 821, 90 L.Ed. 1021. A bill of particulars should be granted where it is thought necessary (1) to protect the defendant against a second prosecution for the same offense, or (2) to enable the defendant to adequately prepare his defense and avoid surprise at the trial. In the instant case the indictment charged that appellant filed tax returns disclosing a certain net income and tax due, whereas, in fact the net income and tax due were of a specified greater amount. It is apparent that the offense charged is sufficiently defined to protect appellant from double jeopardy. We deem it significant that appellant has not contended that he was subjected to surprise during the trial by the nature of the Government's case and thus unprepared to meet the charges against him. See Himmelfarb v. United States, supra; Maxfield v. United States, supra. The situation is quite different from that in Singer v. United States, 3 Cir., 1932, 58 F.2d 74, upon which appellant relies, since there emphasis was placed upon the frequent interruptions of the trial that were necessary so that the prosecution could give the defendant information which would have been contained in a requested bill of particulars. Thus, the defendant in that case was in fact unable adequately to prepare his defense because of the failure to grant the bill. Moreover, the indictment in the Singer case failed to distinguish certain partnership gross income from partnership net income, an item upon which the defendant should have been advised and which could have been ascertained only from a bill of particulars. No such prejudice to appellant is evident in the instant case. The offense charged was specifically stated in the indictment. Appellant was in a position to know whether the facts alleged were true. The most to which appellant was entitled prior to trial was disclosure of the theory of the Government's case. United States v. Caserta, 3 Cir., 1952, 199 F.2d 905. That the Government was proceeding upon a net worth theory was made known to appellant during the course of argument on the motion for a bill of particulars.3 The District Court in the exercise of its discretion determined that granting the requested bill of particulars would merely apprise appellant of information in the hands of the prosecution to which he was not entitled. under the circumstances, no abuse of discretion appears. A bill of particulars has been denied in prosecutions under similar tax evasion indictments. See United States v. Rainey, D.C.W.D.Mo.1950, 10 F.R.D. 431; United States v. Mangiaracina, D.C.W.D.Mo.1950, 10 F.R.D. 415; but see United States v. Kelly, D.C.W.D. Mo.1950, 10 F.R.D. 191.

II. Accessibility of Records.

Appellant asserts that the trial court erred in denying the defense access to certain books, papers and documents in the possession of the Government. The following facts are pertinent to consideration of this contention.

Long prior to the filing of the criminal indictment in April of 1951, appellant knew that the Government was investigating his income tax liability. The Bureau of Internal Revenue issued 90-day letters in 1949 and prior to February of 1950 a federal income tax lien in excess of $800,000 was placed against his property. Numerous conferences were had subsequent to January 11, 1950, with various attorneys and accountants representing appellant in tax matters. Power of attorney was executed by appellant to counsel of record in the present litigation as early as March 10, 1950, for the purpose of representing appellant in tax conferences with the Government. Other attorneys and accountants have represented appellant with the Treasury Department since early in 1949, powers of attorney filed with that department disclose.

During the course of its investigation, the Government acquired voluntarily from third parties certain books, papers and documents pertaining to businesses in which it was alleged that appellant had an interest.4 Being advised, in the course of conferences, that an audit of appellant's affairs was being conducted, the Government gave appellant's accountants complete access to the aforementioned records in its possession. An affidavit executed by one of these accountants stated that the material consisted of a "mass of original documents" and that "this material filled a packing box of approximately fifty cubic feet in volume plus several other smaller cartons." Although the accountants surveyed the material at this time, spring of 1950, no complete analysis of the records is said to have taken place since appellant did not make sufficient funds available for the task. At another time prior to the filing of the indictment in this case, accountant Lawrence Semenza sought permission to examine these records in connection with work he was doing for appellant in computing his civil tax liability subsequent to issue of the 90-day letters. Semenza was not only allowed to examine the business records in the possession of the Government, but was allowed to select any records he desired for use in his own office.

After the filing of the indictment, no request was made by appellant's counsel for examination of the records not previously selected by Semenza until October 22, 1951, more than six months after the filing of the indictment. The Government agreed to allow inspection of these records only on the compliance with certain conditions: a sufficient showing of appellant's interest and consent of the third parties who had originally given the records to the Government.

Appellant first sought a court order on November 14, 1951, when a motion was made to inspect and take copies pursuant to the provisions of Rule 16, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.5 In conjunction with this motion, appellant also sought a continuance of his trial until April 1, 1952, to enable sufficient time for examination of the requested records. In this regard it should be noted that trial was set for November 28, 1951. The motions to inspect and take copies and for a continuance were denied by the trial court after a hearing.

The District Court properly exercised its discretion in denying these motions. As has been observed, at no time prior to the filing of the indictment was the freedom of appellant to examine the records in the possession of the Government in any way limited. At least three accountants representing appellant did in fact survey the material in question and one accountant was allowed to take all records he thought necessary for the computation of appellant's tax liability.6 Although it is true that accounting analysis of these records was at that time only for the purpose of settling appellant's civil tax liability, based on net income alleged by the Government in its 90-day letters to be $136,718.94 for 1944 and $265,661.78 for 1945, analysis of the materials for that purpose would of necessity cover the same ground and consider the same sources of income as would analysis for the purpose of the present criminal proceedings where the Government alleged lesser sums as income: $67,469.21 for 1944 and $75,865.19 for 1945. The opportunity afforded appellant to examine the records in question was sufficient to enable him to prepare an adequate defense. Furthermore, there is no adequate explanation as to why appellant waited more than six months after filing of the indictment to request permission of the Government to examine the records and first made his motion under Rule 16 two weeks before the trial was due to commence. The affidavits supporting the motion to produce and take copies conceded that accounting analysis of the records would probably take two or three months. One of appellant's counsel averred in his supporting affidavit that he first learned in October of 1951 that the Government had possession of various books and records of some of the business in which appellant had an interest.7 But the facts to which we have already referred...

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