U.S. v. DiCaro, 83-2797

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore WOOD and FLAUM, Circuit Judges, and GRANT; FLAUM
Citation772 F.2d 1314
Parties18 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 1027 UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Paul DiCARO, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 83-2797,83-2797
Decision Date04 October 1985

Page 1314

772 F.2d 1314
18 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 1027
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Paul DiCARO, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 83-2797.
United States Court of Appeals,
Seventh Circuit.
Argued Jan. 16, 1985.
Decided Sept. 3, 1985.
Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Denied Oct. 4, 1985.

Page 1315

Paul J. Larkin, Jr., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for plaintiff-appellee.

Maren J. Dougherty, Chicago, Ill., for defendant-appellant.

Before WOOD and FLAUM, Circuit Judges, and GRANT, Senior District Judge. *

Page 1316

FLAUM, Circuit Judge.

Defendant Paul DiCaro appeals his conviction following a jury trial on one count of engaging in racketeering activity in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1962(c) (1982), 1 and one count of interfering with interstate commerce by committing an armed robbery in violation of the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1951 (1982). 2 For the reasons set forth below, we reverse the conviction on the RICO count, but affirm the conviction on the Hobbs Act count.


The events leading up to DiCaro's convictions, insofar as they are relevant to our resolution of this appeal, may be briefly recounted. DiCaro was indicted under section 1962(c) of RICO based on his alleged commission of a series of seven predicate criminal acts between September 1970 and January 1978, including four actual or attempted armed robberies, two thefts, and an attempted murder. The most recent of these acts, the armed robbery of a grocery store in Chicago known as Halsted Foods Center, Inc. ("Halsted Foods") on January 19, 1978, served as both a predicate act on the RICO count and as the exclusive basis for liability on the Hobbs Act count. The RICO count charged DiCaro with conducting the affairs of an "enterprise," the enterprise being DiCaro himself, through a "pattern of racketeering activity," the pattern being the series of seven predicate acts. In essence, DiCaro was indicted and tried under RICO on the theory that he had conducted his own affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity.

DiCaro was tried jointly with co-defendant Michael Gurgone, who was charged only on the Hobbs Act count for his alleged involvement in the Halsted Foods robbery. The evidence offered by the government to prove the defendants' involvement in the Halsted Foods robbery, like that offered to prove DiCaro's participation in the other crimes, consisted principally of testimony from accomplices who had also participated in the robbery. The government's first witness was David Willis, who testified that those involved in the robbery included himself, DiCaro, Gurgone, and two others named Joe Zito and Ronald Brown. Willis testified that on the night of the robbery, he, Zito, and a woman named Luanne Walz met outside Halsted Foods and watched from Zito's car as the night janitor arrived and was locked inside the store by the manager. The three then left and drove to Walz's house, where they met Brown and picked up ski masks for Willis, Zito, and Brown. Willis, Zito, and Brown then drove back to Halsted Foods in a car that Willis and Brown had previously stolen.

Upon arriving at Halsted Foods, Willis helped Brown climb a telephone pole located next to the store, and then returned to the car where he and Zito watched the janitor working inside the store. Meanwhile, Zito communicated with Brown by walkie-talkie, and Willis listened to a police scanner. A few minutes later, Willis and Zito went to the back of the store, where Brown let them in through the back door. Once inside, Brown gave Willis a gun and told him to guard the janitor, who had been handcuffed and tied to a chair in the back room of the store. While he was watching the janitor, Willis saw Zito enter the store with two other men who were wearing masks and carrying two tanks and a hose. 3

Page 1317

These three men then joined Brown in the front of the store, where the store's office and safes were located. Willis then smelled something burning, and heard a "crackling, popping noise" emanating from the office. At some point thereafter, the noise stopped, and the men came into the back room where Willis was guarding the janitor. While they were in the back room, Willis heard one of the men ask Zito if Willis "was okay," and Zito said yes. The men then took their masks off. In court, Willis identified two of the men who had taken their masks off as the defendants DiCaro and Gurgone. The men thereafter went back to the front of the store, whereupon Willis heard some more crackling and popping sounds. Finally, Willis left the store with Zito and Brown, and ultimately went back to Luanne Walz's house, where they divided up the cash taken from the store.

As corroboration for Willis's testimony, the government sought to call as a witness Ronald Brown, who had twice before implicated DiCaro and Gurgone in the Halsted Foods robbery in sworn testimony before federal grand juries. In a voir dire conducted in the jury's absence, however, Brown stated his intention to invoke the Fifth Amendment with respect to the Halsted Foods robbery and several other crimes. At the government's request, the court then issued an order granting Brown use immunity for his testimony, and also appointed an attorney to advise Brown concerning his obligations under the order. After consulting with Brown, appointed counsel reported to the court that Brown claimed a lack of memory and that he still planned not to testify notwithstanding the immunity order. The court therefore held another voir dire, wherein Brown testified to a lack of memory concerning the events underlying his prior grand jury testimony. Brown also stated that as he was testifying he was under the influence of valium, and that he had been given three doses of valium per day while being housed during the trial at the Metropolitan Correctional Center ("M.C.C."). At the conclusion of this voir dire, the court requested that the government obtain the records of Brown's medical treatment at the M.C.C.

During the next day of trial, the court conducted a final voir dire of Brown, during which Brown testified that he suffered from amnesia as to anything that occurred prior to March 29, 1983. Brown stated that on that date he was arrested at a laundromat by police officers who pointed six shotguns and a pistol at his head and threatened to kill him. The court questioned Brown about a medical report indicating that on May 5, 1983, he told a doctor at the M.C.C. about a gunshot wound that Brown had suffered in 1973. Brown admitted that he had told a doctor that he was shot but testified that he could not remember when he was shot. After this voir dire, the court found from its questioning and observation of Brown that he had falsely claimed amnesia.

Based on this finding, the court concluded, over the vigorous objections of defense counsel, that the government could introduce Brown's prior grand jury testimony as part of its case-in-chief. The court reasoned that Brown's feigned lack of memory concerning the incidents that he had previously described to the grand jury was inconsistent with his prior testimony recounting these incidents, and thus that his grand jury testimony was admissible substantively as a prior inconsistent statement under Rule 801(d)(1)(A) of the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Before Brown's prior testimony was introduced, however, he was called to the stand and questioned by both the government and the defense in front of the jury. The government initially laid a foundation for introducing the grand jury testimony by conducting a direct examination of Brown in which he answered "I don't remember" to each of the prosecutor's questions about both the grand jury testimony itself and the underlying events recounted therein. Defense counsel also conducted a cross-examination of Brown, during which he testified among other things that the incident on March 29 had so upset him as to cause him to suffer amnesia, that he had

Page 1318

been threatened by federal government agents, and that he remembered previously participating in the Federal Witness Protection Program.

The judge then read to the jury certain portions of the transcripts of Brown's testimony before federal grand juries on September 12, 1979, and September 22, 1982. In this testimony, Brown had offered a description of the Halsted Foods robbery that closely resembled Willis's description in his testimony at trial, although Brown had added some additional details that Willis might not have been in a position to observe. According to Brown's testimony, he entered Halsted Foods on the night of the robbery by cutting a hole in the roof and then dropping down inside the store. Brown then handcuffed the janitor in the store and put something over his head so he could not see. Brown stated that Willis's job during the robbery was to watch the janitor, while DiCaro's and Gurgone's job was to open the store's safe. The safes were opened with the use of torches and acetylene tanks that Brown, DiCaro, and Gurgone brought into the store. Finally, Brown testified that the robbery lasted about six to seven hours and netted about $3,000, which was later divided among the participants at Luanne Walz's house.

In addition to the Halsted Foods robbery, Brown implicated DiCaro in the armed robbery of a record company and the attempted armed robbery of a jewelry store. Brown also testified before the grand jury in 1982 concerning one of the crimes that DiCaro was charged with as a predicate act under the RICO count: the attempted shooting murder of Brown in June 1973. Brown did not implicate DiCaro in the crime, however, but rather named only Richard Mara and Anthony Gallichio as responsible for shooting him. At trial below, Mara testified for the government that DiCaro had ordered and planned the murder because he feared that Brown was cooperating with the police.

After the judge completed the reading of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
61 cases
  • People v. Flores, s. 62398
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • March 29, 1989
    ...the grand jury was inconsistent with his previous testimony was not an abuse of discretion. See United States v. DiCaro (7th Cir.1985), 772 F.2d 1314, 1322; United States v. Distler (6th Cir.1981), 671 F.2d 954, The defendant also argues that Ramos' grand jury testimony concerning a convers......
  • People v. Bryant, No. 4-05-1071.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 17, 2009
    ...650. In support of Cookson's contention, he cited dicta in two federal court of appeals opinions. In the first, United States v. DiCaro, 772 F.2d 1314, 1323 (7th Cir.1985), the court wrote that "a witness's total amnesia concerning a prior statement will often make him not subject to cross-......
  • Klapper v. Commonwealth Realty Trust, Civ. A. No. 85-686CMW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Delaware)
    • June 22, 1987
    ...way, an anomalous result would be reached — namely, the person would be employed by or associated with itself. United States v. DiCaro, 772 F.2d 1314, 1319 (7th Cir.1985), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 106 S.Ct. 1458, 89 L.Ed.2d 716 In the case at bar, plaintiffs have alleged that the defenda......
  • State v. Bradshaw, 20020137-CA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Utah
    • September 10, 2004
    ...and the "enterprise" can be the same entity'" under subsections (1) and (2) of section 76-10-1603) (quoting United States v. DiCaro, 772 F.2d 1314, 1320 (7th Cir.1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1081, 106 S.Ct. 1458, 89 L.Ed.2d 716 (1986)). However, the State cites no authority suggesting that......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Hearsay Issues Most Relevant in Antitrust Cases
    • United States
    • ABA Antitrust Library Antitrust Evidence Handbook
    • January 1, 2016
    ...not recall whether defendant had done so; court emphasized dubious nature of witness’s claimed memory loss); United States v. DiCaro, 772 F.2d 1314, 1322-24 (7th Cir. 1985) (prior grand jury testimony admissible where trial judge found that witness was feigning amnesia at trial about events......
  • Table of Cases
    • United States
    • ABA Antitrust Library Antitrust Evidence Handbook
    • January 1, 2016
    ...States v. Devine, 934 F.2d 1325 (5th Cir. 1991), 150 United States v. Diaz, 176 F.3d 52 (2d Cir. 1995), 21 United States v. DiCaro, 772 F.2d 1314 (7th Cir. 1985), 11 United States v. Dietrich, 854 F.2d 1056 (7th Cir. 1988), 9 United States v. Dixon, 509 U.S. 688 (1993), 148 United States v.......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT