United States v. Bostic, 72-1238

Decision Date19 July 1973
Docket NumberNo. 72-1238,72-1239.,72-1238
Citation480 F.2d 965
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Roland BOSTIC et al., Defendants-Appellants.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit

B. Bruce Guthrie, Chattanooga, Tenn., for Roland Bostic and Frank Meadows; Paul W. Sorrick, Jr., Chattanooga, Tenn., on brief.

Lloyd F. Arrowood, Johnson City, Tenn. (Court-appointed), for Walter Dean Bartlett.

W. Lloyd Stanley, Jr., Asst. U. S. Atty., Chattanooga, Tenn., for plaintiff-appellee; John L. Bowers, Jr., U. S. Atty., E. D. Tenn., Chattanooga, Tenn., on brief.

Before KENT,* Circuit Judge, and O'SULLIVAN and McALLISTER, Senior Circuit Judges.

McALLISTER, Senior Circuit Judge.

On March 31, 1971, a four-count indictment was filed in the District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Southern Division, charging in Count One, that defendants Rollin August Varesi, Roland Bostic, Frank Meadows, Jack Bartlett and Walter Dean Bartlett conspired to violate certain laws of the United States relating to counterfeit currency, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Also named as co-conspirator, but not indicted, was Mrs. Gloria Patricia Varesi. The three remaining counts charged Meadows, Bostic, and Varesi with substantive offenses relating to counterfeit currency under Sections 472 and 473 of Title 18, United States Code.

Varesi entered a plea of guilty to Counts One and Three (the only counts wherein he was named) and he subsequently testified for the Government as an accomplice. After the trial he was released. Mrs. Varesi was not arrested, but was taken to the police station and questioned, after which she was released.

The trial was held on September 13, 14 and 15, 1971, before a jury in the District Court. Defendant Walter Dean Bartlett was found guilty of the conspiracy count alone. Defendant Meadows was convicted on the conspiracy count, and also of possessing counterfeit money under Count Two. Defendant Bostic was convicted of conspiracy and also of possessing and selling counterfeit money under Counts Two and Four. Defendant Varesi pleaded guilty to the counts against him and, with his wife, subsequently assisted the Secret Service agents and the Government in the case against the others.

We are of the opinion that there was not sufficient evidence to convict Walter Dean Bartlett of conspiracy; that his conviction must be reversed, and that he should be discharged.

We are also of the opinion that the evidence was insufficient to convict defendant Frank Meadows of conspiracy and of possession of counterfeit money; that his conviction must be reversed and that he, too, must be discharged.

With regard to defendant Bostic, we are of the view that there was sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction and the judgment rendered thereon should be affirmed.

The parties will, hereafter, be referred to, as on trial, as defendants and plaintiff.

The background of this case is as follows: On December 13, 1970, the defendants Bostic and Meadows were driving to Chattanooga along Highway 58 to get some tile for one of the taverns Bostic operated. About noon, on the outskirts of Chattanooga, they saw defendant Roland and Varesi and his wife walking along the highway, and they stopped and offered them a ride. The Varesis were friends of Bostic and had known him for about twenty years. When they stopped the car, they learned that the Varesis were on their way to purchase a money order to send to their children. After they continued their drive to Chattanooga, Bostic, Meadows and Roland Varesi stopped at a little place and had a couple of beers, while Bostic loaned the car to Mrs. Varesi to drive to a drugstore to get the money order. When she returned with the car, Varesi bought a 6-pack of beer, and they all went back to Varesis' house. Mrs. Varesi again borrowed the car to go for some articles of food. While the four of them were together, according to the testimony of Varesi, he testified that he had some conversation with Bostic and Meadows about counterfeit money. Varesi said he could not remember how the subject came up — "they asked me if I wanted some, something to that effect; I said I did, and I bought a hundred dollars' worth of it. * * * I got them from Roland (Bostic); he was the one handed them to me; I don't know whether they belonged to him or belonged to Frank (Meadows)."

Mrs. Varesi said "I don't quite remember who said anything about its being counterfeit."

"Q. Did your husband say anything about that?
A. Yes, he did, he said he wanted to buy some of the counterfeit money. * * * My husband and Roland Bostic and Frank Meadows they were discussing counterfeit money. * * * Roland and Frank told my husband they had passed a lot of that money."

When Varesi was again asked from which man he bought the counterfeit money, he testified:

"Well, I got them from Roland (Bostic); he was the one handed them to me; I don\'t know whether they belonged to him or belonged to Frank (Meadows)."

This is no evidence that Meadows sold any counterfeit to Varesi. The only other testimony from the Varesis or any others, that Frank Meadows had any "notes," was that of Varesi that:

"I seen some Frank had at his house, he didn\'t have but two or three at his house."

No one asked to buy any such notes from Meadows; and it was not even claimed that these two or three notes in Meadows' possession were counterfeit.

As will be recounted hereafter, when Frank Meadows was arrested by a Secret Service agent in his bed in the morning while suffering from an admittedly painful back ailment, the agent searched him, and afterward searched his entire premises without a search warrant, and found nothing but legal currency notes. Except for some vaporing remarks of Meadows that he had sold counterfeit money to others — not naming them or even giving any approximate dates of any actual sales, there was no evidence to prove a conspiracy on the part of Frank Meadows with the five others to commit a counterfeiting offense against the United States, or to prove a substantive crime of selling, possessing or uttering counterfeit money. The evidence to convict Meadows was insufficient; and the judgment against him should be reversed, and he should be discharged.

The evidence against Bostic was the testimony of Varesi that Bostic had sold counterfeit money to him, and the evidence of Secret Service Agent Davis that Bostic had also sold counterfeit money to him. This was evidence sufficient to sustain the...

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    ...cooperate for the accomplishment of the object by the means embodied in the agreement, or by any effectual means." United States v. Bostic, 480 F.2d 965, 968 (6th Cir.1973). The government has presented enough evidence in this case for a jury to find that there was a tacit agreement among a......
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