Snead v. United States, No. 6874.

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
Writing for the CourtPARKER, , SOPER, Circuit , and HOFFMAN
Citation217 F.2d 912
PartiesHenry Grady SNEAD, Claimant, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 6874.
Decision Date10 December 1954

217 F.2d 912 (1954)

Henry Grady SNEAD, Claimant, Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

No. 6874.

United States Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit.

Argued October 5, 1954.

Decided December 10, 1954.


217 F.2d 913

C. Carter Lee, Rocky Mount, Va., and R. Roy Rush, Roanoke, Va., for appellant.

Beverly A. Davis, III, Asst. U. S. Atty., Rocky Mount, Va. (John Strickler, U. S. Atty., Roanoke, Va., and Thomas J. Wilson, Asst. U. S. Atty., Harrisonburg, Va., on brief), for appellee.

Before PARKER, Chief Judge, SOPER, Circuit Judge, and HOFFMAN, District Judge.

PARKER, Chief Judge.

This is an appeal in a proceeding instituted under 26 U.S.C. § 3116 to forfeit a truck with its load of yeast and barley malt on the ground that they were intended for use in violation of the internal revenue laws of the United States. The truck was claimed by one Henry Grady Snead and the case was tried before a jury, which returned a verdict in favor of the government. From judgment of forfeiture entered on the verdict, the claimant Snead has appealed. Three questions are presented by the appeal: (1) Was there sufficient evidence of unlawful intent on the part of Snead to support the verdict? (2) Was harmful error committed in the admission of testimony as to Snead's general reputation as a violator of the liquor laws? (3) Was there error in decreeing a forfeiture after a criminal proceeding instituted against Snead had been dismissed before the United States Commissioner? We think that all of these questions should be answered against appellant.

On the first question, there can be no serious doubt, we think, but that the evidence was sufficient not only to take the case to the jury but also to establish the guilty intent of Snead beyond all doubt or peradventure. The truck was found parked in a group of old abandoned cars behind Snead's service station in a rural section of Henry County, Virginia. It was loaded with 400 pounds of compressed yeast and 14,000 pounds of fine ground malt, for which in that community there was no reasonable use except in the manufacture of "moonshine" whiskey. Snead had gone in the truck with one Seay to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they had purchased the yeast and malt, buying the yeast in the name of Turner Bakery, Canton, Ohio, and the malt in the name of Roy Scott. The truck was registered in Virginia in the name of Dannie Shively. Officers of the state and federal governments kept it under observation from the time it left Milwaukee with its load of yeast and malt until its seizure. At the time it left Milwaukee it bore North Carolina license plates but in Illinois these were changed to Virginia license plates. At the time of the seizure there were no license plates of any sort on it. Snead admitted to the officers the ownership of the truck and that he had been driving it, but denied that he had been out of the state of Virginia. He claimed that he had purchased the malt "up in the country" but said he did not know from whom he purchased it and denied knowledge of the yeast. He did not take the stand nor introduce any evidence in explanation of the circumstances against him. He was not present at the trial and his counsel asked no continuance on account of his absence.

In the light of these circumstances, there can be no reasonable doubt but that Snead had the yeast and malt in his possession for an unlawful purpose. There would have been no reason, otherwise, in his taking a lengthy trip to purchase in Milwaukee articles which could have been purchased and transported much more conveniently in the ordinary

217 F.2d 914
channels of commerce, and there would have been no occasion for the purchase in fictitious names or for the change of license plates on the truck or for the false statements to the officers. A significant circumstance which can properly be considered, as this is a civil and not a criminal case, is the fact that Snead failed to take the stand to account for his possession of the large quantity of malt and yeast, which in his community would normally be used only in connection with illicit distilling. See Williams v. United States, 5 Cir., 199 F.2d 921; Stagner v. United States, 5 Cir., 197 F.2d 992; Kent v. United States, 5 Cir., 157 F.2d 1, certiorari denied 329 U.S. 785, 67 S. Ct. 297, 91 L.Ed. 673

It is argued that Snead may have had the yeast and malt for sale to others in ordinary course of trade. It is a sufficient answer that he offered no evidence to that effect and that he was engaged in no legitimate business which would account for their possession. Furthermore, if he had acquired and had them in his possession for use in the illegal manufacture of whiskey, it would make no difference that he intended to sell them to others who would engage in the actual manufacture. Merchants who procure supplies for illicit distillers, knowing of the purpose to which they are to be put, cannot shield themselves from the forfeiture which the law prescribes by providing that they are to be paid. Backun v. United States, 4 Cir., 112 F.2d 635, 637. As said by this court in that case:

"* * * those who make a profit by furnishing to criminals, whether by sale or otherwise, the means to carry on their nefarious undertakings aid them just as truly as if they were actual partners with them, having a stake in the fruits of their enterprise. To say that the sale of goods is a normally lawful transaction is beside the point. The seller may not ignore the purpose for which the purchase is made if he is advised of that purpose, or wash his hands of the aid that he has given the perpetrator of a felony by the plea that he has merely made a sale of merchandise. One who sells a gun to another knowing that he is buying it to commit a murder, would hardly escape conviction as an accessory to the murder by showing that he received full price for the gun; and no difference in principle can be drawn between such a case and any other case of a seller who knows that the purchaser intends to use the goods which he is purchasing in the commission of felony. In any such case, not only does the act of the
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10 practice notes
  • United States v. Alker, No. 12313.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 10 Septiembre 1958
    ...F.2d 401, 408; Reuben v. United States, 7 Cir., 1936, 86 F.2d 464, 468. 61 Note 57, supra; see also Snead v. United States, 4 Cir., 1954, 217 F.2d 912; Saunders v. United States, 1951, 89 U.S. App.D.C. 291, 192 F.2d 409; United States v. Broxmeyer, 2 Cir., 1951, 192 F.2d 230; Campbell v. Un......
  • Davis v. United States, No. 15228.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 23 Enero 1956
    ...276 U.S. 621, 48 S.Ct. 301, 72 L.Ed 735; Hewitt v. United States, 8 Cir., 110 F.2d 1, 9 and cases cited; Snead v. United States, 4 Cir., 217 F.2d 912, The remarks of the trial court which Davis contends made his trial unfair were not directed to him but to his counsel, and were not intended......
  • United States v. 2265 One-Gallon Paraffined Tin Cans, No. 17193.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 24 Octubre 1958
    ...that effect and that he was engaged in no legitimate business which would account for their possession." Snead v. United States, 4 Cir., 217 F.2d 912, "It would, of course, be no defense that he intended to sell it to illicit distillers instead of to use it himself in illicit distilling, Ba......
  • United States v. One Chevrolet Four-Door Sedan, No. 7390.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • 11 Mayo 1957
    ...v. United States, 4 Cir., 210 F.2d 131, where an automobile was forfeited for hauling fermenters, and Snead v. United States, 4 Cir., 217 F.2d 912, where a truck was forfeited for hauling yeast and The section relied on for forfeiture, 26 U.S.C. § 7302, is as follows: "It shall be unlawful ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • United States v. Alker, No. 12313.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 10 Septiembre 1958
    ...F.2d 401, 408; Reuben v. United States, 7 Cir., 1936, 86 F.2d 464, 468. 61 Note 57, supra; see also Snead v. United States, 4 Cir., 1954, 217 F.2d 912; Saunders v. United States, 1951, 89 U.S. App.D.C. 291, 192 F.2d 409; United States v. Broxmeyer, 2 Cir., 1951, 192 F.2d 230; Campbell v. Un......
  • Davis v. United States, No. 15228.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 23 Enero 1956
    ...276 U.S. 621, 48 S.Ct. 301, 72 L.Ed 735; Hewitt v. United States, 8 Cir., 110 F.2d 1, 9 and cases cited; Snead v. United States, 4 Cir., 217 F.2d 912, The remarks of the trial court which Davis contends made his trial unfair were not directed to him but to his counsel, and were not intended......
  • United States v. 2265 One-Gallon Paraffined Tin Cans, No. 17193.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 24 Octubre 1958
    ...effect and that he was engaged in no legitimate business which would account for their possession." Snead v. United States, 4 Cir., 217 F.2d 912, "It would, of course, be no defense that he intended to sell it to illicit distillers instead of to use it himself in illicit distillin......
  • United States v. One Chevrolet Four-Door Sedan, No. 7390.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • 11 Mayo 1957
    ...v. United States, 4 Cir., 210 F.2d 131, where an automobile was forfeited for hauling fermenters, and Snead v. United States, 4 Cir., 217 F.2d 912, where a truck was forfeited for hauling yeast and The section relied on for forfeiture, 26 U.S.C. § 7302, is as follows: "It shall be unla......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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