United States v. Clayton, No. 71-1091

Decision Date28 October 1971
Docket Number71-1092.,No. 71-1091
Citation450 F.2d 16
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. William CLAYTON, Defendant, Appellant.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit

William J. Mulligan, Milwaukee, Wis., with whom Gary A. Gerlach and Hayes, Peck, Perry & Gerlach, Milwaukee, Wis., were on brief, for appellant.

Paul F. Ware, Jr., Asst. U. S. Atty., with whom Herbert F. Travers, Jr., U. S. Atty., was on brief, for appellee.

Before ALDRICH, Chief Judge, McENTEE and COFFIN, Circuit Judges.

McENTEE, Circuit Judge.

Defendant appeals from convictions for the sale of LSD in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 331(q) (2) and conspiracy to import hashish (marijuana) into the United States in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 176a.1 The two offenses, hereinafter referred to as the sale and the conspiracy, were charged in separate indictments, but the cases were consolidated for trial. Although the indictments also named two codefendants, Fink and Lozoff, the defendant Clayton was tried alone.2 The prosecution relied heavily on the testimony of three federal undercover narcotics agents;3 the defense presented no evidence.

With respect to the LSD sale, the evidence established that on January 7, 1970, two agents, posing as underworld figures, met with Clayton, Fink, and Lozoff in a room at the Hotel Sonesta in Boston. The agents had previously discussed narcotics transactions with Fink and Lozoff, but had never before met Clayton. After introductions, Lozoff asked Agent O'Brien if he was ready to purchase LSD. The agent replied in the affirmative, whereupon Clayton stated that the LSD was "beautiful acid" and of very high quality. He then picked up a plastic bag containing over 3,000 LSD tablets and threw it down in front of Agent O'Brien. O'Brien paid $2,000 in cash to Lozoff. Later that day, having discovered the bag was short 700 tablets, the agents returned to the hotel room. Clayton participated in discussions that led to an exchange of marijuana and cash in settlement of the shortage.

The bulk of the evidence adduced at trial related to the conspiracy to smuggle hashish from Morocco. In conversations prior to the January 7 meeting, Lozoff had informed the agents of a contact, namely Clayton, from Morocco who could smuggle out large quantities of hashish. At the January 7 meeting Clayton stated that he lived in Tangier and had "unlimited supplies of hashish that could be smuggled into the United States." He then engaged in extensive discussions of the specifics of the smuggling operation, the quantities of hashish available, and the possible techniques to be employed. After this meeting, the agents had no further personal contact with Clayton, but his activities in Morocco were related to them by Fink. This hearsay evidence was admitted under the rule that the out-of-court statements of one conspirator made in furtherance of the conspiracy are admissible against a co-conspirator. Krulewitch v. United States, 336 U.S. 440, 69 S.Ct. 716, 93 L.Ed. 790 (1949); 4 Wigmore on Evidence § 1079.

In this appeal Clayton, hereinafter defendant, argues that consolidation of the two indictments for trial under Rule 13, Fed.R.Crim.P. was improper, or, alternatively, that he was entitled to severance under Rule 14, Fed.R.Crim.P. The Rule 13 test for consolidation is whether the offenses could have been joined in a single indictment under Rule 8(a), Fed.R.Crim.P.4 Here, both charges involved trafficking in illicit drugs by the same parties and at least in part at the same time and place. "Connected together" by these factors, we hold that the offenses were properly joined under Rules 13 and 8(a). United States v. Kellerman, 432 F.2d 371 (10th Cir. 1970); Robinson v. United States, 366 F.2d 575 (10th Cir. 1966), cert. denied, 385 U.S. 1009, 87 S.Ct. 717, 17 L. Ed.2d 547 (1967). In the circumstances of this case, the fact that one crime was inchoate and the other substantive is immaterial. See, e. g., Pegram v. United States, 361 F.2d 820 (8th Cir. 1966); Mendez v. United States, 349 F.2d 650 (9th Cir. 1965), cert. denied, 384 U.S. 1015, 86 S.Ct. 1952, 16 L.Ed.2d 1036 (1966).5

Rule 8 sets the limits of tolerance of prejudice resulting from joinder of offenses. King v. United States, 355 F.2d 700 (1st Cir. 1966). Even for cases falling within Rule 8, where special prejudice appears the trial judge may sever under Rule 14, Fed.R.Crim.P. Such severance is within the judge's discretion, and only a strong showing of prejudice will warrant finding an abuse thereof. Gorin v. United States, 313 F. 2d 641, 645 (1st Cir. 1963), cert. denied, 379 U.S. 971, 85 S.Ct. 669, 13 L.Ed.2d 563 (1965). Defendant alleges that the hearsay evidence admitted solely on the conspiracy charge tended to corroborate his involvement in drug trafficking with Fink and Lozoff. Additionally, he claims that evidence of the LSD sale prejudiced his conspiracy defense by tending to show a disposition for criminal activity. Three factors lead us to conclude that these allegations of prejudice are insufficient to warrant a finding of abuse of discretion.

First, although the crimes were similar in nature, the evidence in support of each was distinct and readily referable to the offense with respect to which it was introduced. There was little likelihood that the jury would be confused or apply the evidence to the wrong offense. Cf. Drew v. United States, 118 U.S. App.D.C. 11, 331 F.2d 85 (1964). In addition, the trial judge explicitly instructed the jury that the evidence of each offense was to be considered independently of evidence pertaining to the other.6 The ease with which evidence can be properly applied to joined offenses reduces the danger that the evidence will be used corroboratively or cumulatively. Dunaway v. United States, 92 U.S.App. D.C. 299, 205 F.2d 23 (1953).7

Second, this is not an instance where a weak evidentiary case and a strong one were joined in the hope that an overlapping consideration of the evidence would lead to convictions on both. The evidence adduced on each charge was more than sufficient for a conviction on each.8

Third, in the LSD sale case, where defendant claims the most prejudice, he received a five year sentence to run concurrently with his eight year sentence for conspiracy. The concurrence of this sentence reduces the prejudice of joinder. United States v. Adams, 434 F.2d 756, 760 n. 13 (2d Cir. 1970). In view of these factors, defendant has failed to carry the heavy burden of showing that the district court abused its discretion in refusing to sever under Rule 14.

Defendant's next contention is that the admission of hearsay statements of co-conspirators violated the confrontation clause of the sixth amendment. He does not allege that there was insufficient evidence of a conspiracy agreement, cf. United States v. Edwards, 366 F.2d 853 (2d Cir. 1966), cert. denied sub nom. Jakob v. United States, 386 U.S. 908, 87 S.Ct. 852, 17 L.Ed.2d 782 (1967), or that the statements were made other than in furtherance of the conspiracy, cf. Krulewitch v. United States, supra. Rather, his attack is a constitutional broadside against the coconspirators exception to the hearsay rule as applied in federal courts.9

It is firmly established that although the hearsay rule and confrontation clause stem from the same roots, they are not congruent. Dutton v. Evans, 400 U.S. 74, 91 S.Ct. 210, 27 L.Ed. 2d 213 (1970). "Merely because evidence is admitted in violation of a long-established hearsay rule does not lead to the automatic conclusion that confrontation rights have been denied." California v. Green, 399 U.S. 149, 156, 90 S.Ct. 1930, 1934, 26 L.Ed.2d 489 (1970). While defendant argues for no such broad proposition, he does contend that the co-conspirators rule is an unjustified exception to the hearsay rule and consequently violates the sixth amendment.

Defendant cites no appropriate authority for his contention. His reliance on Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 88 S.Ct. 1620, 20 L.Ed.2d 476 (1968) is misplaced, for Bruton was explicitly limited to hearsay "clearly inadmissible against the defendant under the traditional rules of evidence." Id. at 128 n. 3, 88 S.Ct. at 1623. Indeed, the authority closest in point, Dutton v. Evans, supra, appears to mandate a rejection of defendant's claim.

Dutton involved a sixth amendment challenge to the co-conspirators rule as applied in Georgia. The Georgia rule is broader than that of the federal courts in that out-of-court statements of coconspirators need not be made in furtherance of the conspiracy. In Dutton, a co-conspirator's hearsay statement made in the concealment phase of the conspiracy was admitted against the defendant.10 Justice Stewart, announcing the judgment of the Court, held that the admission of hearsay did not violate the sixth amendment.11 The opinion is strictly limited to the facts of that case, including a finding that the hearsay admitted was in no sense "crucial" or "devastating." While not prepared to make the same statement regarding evidence in the instant case, we note that the Georgia rule itself has fewer safeguards than the federal rule. Referring to this factor, Justice Stewart said:

"It is clear that the more limited scope of the hearsay exception in federal conspiracy trials is a product, not of the Sixth Amendment, but of the Court\'s `disfavor\' of `attempts to broaden the already pervasive and wide-sweeping nets of conspiracy prosecutions.\' Grunewald v. United States, 353 U.S. 391, 404 77 S.Ct. 963, 1 L.Ed.2d 931." Dutton, supra, 400 U.S. at 82, 91 S.Ct. 216.

Moreover, the Court in Krulewitch, supra, stated:

"There are many logical and practical reasons that could be advanced against a special evidentiary rule that permits out-of-court statements of one conspirator to be used against another. But however cogent these reasons, it is firmly established that where made in furtherance of the objectives of a going conspiracy, such statements are admissible

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