Simpson v. United States

Decision Date27 February 1926
Docket NumberNo. 2341.,2341.
Citation11 F.2d 591
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit

J. Howard Hundley, of Charleston, W. Va. (J. Raymond Gordon, of Charleston, W. Va., on the brief), for plaintiffs in error.

B. J. Pettigrew, Asst. U. S. Atty., of Charleston, W. Va. (Elliott Northcott, U. S. Atty., of Huntington, W. Va., on the brief), for the United States.

Before WADDILL, ROSE, and PARKER, Circuit Judges.

PARKER, Circuit Judge.

The defendants were convicted under an indictment charging conspiracy to possess and transport intoxicating liquors in violation of the National Prohibition Act (Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1923, § 10138¼ et seq.). The point upon which they chiefly rely is that there was no sufficient evidence to support a conviction and that the court should have directed a verdict of not guilty. This requires that we review and analyze the evidence.

On the morning of July 9, 1924, officers of the law saw the defendants Chapman and Horton in conversation with the defendant Simpson at his home in the city of Charleston, W. Va. After talking with Simpson for a while, Chapman and Horton got in Simpson's car and drove off towards Huntington. About 12 hours later, as they were driving the same car back "off of" the Huntington road, the officers stopped them, and upon making search found 30 gallons of intoxicating liquor concealed in secret compartments of the car. This liquor was contained in jugs which were wrapped in 25-pound paper bags, and were placed in the secret compartments, which were concealed behind and beneath the seats, and were so ingeniously arranged as to be discoverable only by very close examination. It is a fair inference that these secret compartments were intended to be used in the illegal transportation of liquor. It was shown that the defendant Simpson a short time before this had purchased paper bags similar to those found wrapped around the jugs of liquor, and some of the bags corresponding to these were found by the officers in his garage.

The defendant Horton offered no explanation of his presence in the car transporting the liquor, and defendant Simpson offered no explanation of the fact that his car was equipped with secret compartments peculiarly adapted for concealing liquor during transportation, or of his purchase and possession of the paper bags. Defendant Chapman testified that he alone procured and transported the liquor, and that Simpson and Horton knew nothing about it; that he purchased the paper bags found on the liquor, and also those found in Simpson's garage; that he was negotiating with Simpson for the purchase of the car, and borrowed it for use on this occasion. He admitted that he and Horton were at Simpson's home just before he went with Horton to get the liquor, and that he left his Ford car at Simpson's and borrowed Simpson's car. He admitted, also, that he had had several conversations with Simpson, and that on the day preceding he told Simpson that he wanted to borrow the car, and that Simpson made no charge for its use.

We think that the motion for a directed verdict was properly overruled. Of course, if the testimony of Chapman was to be belived, none of the defendants were guilty of conspiracy. But neither the court nor the jury were bound by his explanation of the incriminating facts and circumstances relied on by the government. The question is whether these were susceptible of such an interpretation as would justify the jury in deducing a conclusion of guilt of the crime of conspiracy charged. We think that they were. There can be no question but that they were sufficient as against Chapman and Horton. Fisher v. United States (C. C. A. 4th) 2 F.(2d) 843...

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11 cases
  • United States v. Miller
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • December 13, 1982
    ...aiding and abetting a conspiracy. United States v. Falcone, 311 U.S. 205, 61 S.Ct. 204, 85 L.Ed. 128 (1940). See also United States v. Simpson, 11 F.2d 591 (4th Cir.1926), cert. denied, 271 U.S. 674, 46 S.Ct. 488, 70 L.Ed. 1145 (1926). However, an aider and abettor to a conspiracy must have......
  • Orton v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • April 12, 1955
    ...thereto and are equally guilty with the original conspirators. Comeriato v. United States, 4 Cir., 58 F.2d 557, 558; Simpson v. United States, 4 Cir., 11 F.2d 591, 593. The evidence here, taken as a whole, leaves no doubt that a general conspiracy or partnership in criminal purposes existed......
  • Williams v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • December 27, 1954
    ...2 Cir., 195 F.2d 583; Andrews v. United States, 4 Cir., 108 F.2d 511; Comeriato v. United States, 4 Cir., 58 F.2d 557; Simpson v. United States, 4 Cir., 11 F.2d 591. Since, as we have held, there was sufficient evidence to take to the jury the question of a general conspiracy to violate the......
  • Snead v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • December 10, 1954
    ...with knowledge of the existence of a conspiracy, aids in carrying out its unlawful design makes himself a party thereto. Simpson v. United States, 4 Cir., 11 F.2d 591." We agree with appellant that evidence of Snead's reputation as a violator of the liquor laws was not competent evidence on......
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