United States v. Johnson, No. 7795.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBIGGS, JONES, and GOODRICH, Circuit
Citation129 F.2d 954
PartiesUNITED STATES v. JOHNSON.
Decision Date30 June 1942
Docket NumberNo. 7795.

129 F.2d 954 (1942)

UNITED STATES
v.
JOHNSON.

No. 7795.

Circuit Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.

Argued November 21, 1941.

Decided June 30, 1942.


129 F.2d 955

Benjamin M. Golder, of Philadelphia, Pa. (John Rauffenbart, of Atlantic City, N. J., and Walter G. Winne, of Hackensack, N. J., on the brief), for appellant.

Joseph W. Burns, Sp. Asst. U. S. Atty., of Washington, D. C. (Charles M. Phillips, U. S. Atty., of Trenton, N. J., Gordon B. Tweedy, Earl C. Crouter, and Robert R. Barrett, Attys., Department of Justice, both of Washington, D. C., on the brief), for the United States.

Before BIGGS, JONES, and GOODRICH, Circuit Judges.

BIGGS, Circuit Judge.

Facts.

The appellant was indicted upon an indictment consisting of three counts. Each count charged an offense against Section 145(b) of the Revenue Act of 1936, Act of June 22, 1936, c. 690, 49 Stat. 1648, 26 U.S.C.A. Int.Rev.Code, § 145(b), which provides in part that "* * * any person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this title chapter or the payment thereof, shall, * * * be guilty of a felony * * *". The appellant was charged respectively in the three counts with wilfully evading payment of income tax for the years 1935, 1936 and 1937. He was acquitted under the first count, was found guilty and was sentenced on each of the two remaining counts.

The second count alleges that Johnson filed an income tax return for the year 1936 reporting a gross income of $29,958.19, but omitted the sum of $62,400 received from backers of numbers games. The count charges that the defendant attempted thereby to evade taxes in the amount of $19,957.30. The third count alleges that the appellant reported a gross income of $33,740.28 for the year 1937 but omitted the sum of $62,400 received by him from numbers backers. The count charges that he attempted thereby to evade taxes amounting to $18,759.10.

The facts are as follows. The appellant was a political leader in Atlantic County, New Jersey, residing in Atlantic City. He testified that he had occupied the position of county treasurer for many years but had devoted his time to politics. The evidence showed that in the latter part of 1932 or at the beginning of 1933 there were seven numbers banks or games operating in Atlantic City. Six of these banks operated in the daytime; one operated at night. These banks paid protection money to the appellant at the rate of $825 a week for approximately the first six months of 1935. About April 1935, Ralph Weloff and James Towhey, numbers backers, fell into a dispute. One Martin Michael, sometimes known as Jack Southern, ousted Weloff as Towhey's partner and took over the latter's numbers bank himself. Towhey tried to get the business back by giving higher odds on numbers, by cutting fewer numbers and by paying higher commissions to salesmen and runners. This precipitated a numbers war in Atlantic City. All the backers lost money, the struggle between them became "noisy" and attracted public attention. Arrests increased and business was lost. As a result all the numbers backers held a meeting and formed a single large partnership or syndicate into which they pooled their business. The syndicate was set up and began to function about July 1935. Its operations were highly successful.

This syndicate paid Johnson $1,200 a week. The payments began in July 1935, continued throughout the balance of that year, throughout 1936, and through at least the first ten months of 1937. The sums upon which the United States alleged

129 F.2d 956
the appellant had not paid income taxes for the years 1935, 1936 and 1937, are made up by the yearly totals of these weekly amounts

Johnson stated the sums paid to him were not paid for the protection of the numbers bankers from police interference but in order to enable him to maintain his personal political machine; that he kept for himself the balance of the sums paid to him weekly after deducting therefrom certain political expenses; that the amounts of these deductions were set forth on slips which he sent to his office. He testified that when he made his tax returns for the taxable years with which we are concerned he reported as taxable the difference between the amounts received and the amounts paid out, designating the sums retained by him as "commissions" or as "other commissions". Johnson also stated that he considered the sums deducted as properly deducted and that he had no intention of evading taxation.

Throughout Johnson's examination-in-chief his counsel carefully restricted his questions and Johnson restricted his answers so that neither questions nor answers embraced the months of November and December, 1937. Ralph Weloff, the paymaster for the numbers syndicate, was asked how long he continued "to take $1200 a week to Johnson?" In reply he stated his recollection "after talking it over with some of the backers and another man Jack Sothern who had established a different time, established a time in November, 1937 * * * that November 1937 was the right time."; viz., the time when he, Weloff, had ceased to take money to Johnson. Weloff's duties as paymaster for the numbers syndicate were assumed at about this time by Martin Michael, known also as Jack Southern. This person, whom neither side was willing to bring to the stand as a witness, was called by the presiding judge. His testimony was that he had paid no money to Johnson at any time.

Upon cross-examination and over objection the defendant was questioned as to how long he had kept up the practice which he had described in regard to the slips which he sent to his office. To this he replied, "During this period * * * '35, '36 and '37." Thereupon he was asked, again over objection, as to whether he continued to send slips to his office in the year 1938. He replied that he did do so throughout that year. An objection to a question as to what he did in this regard in 1939 was sustained as too remote. There followed a series of questions directed to the receipt of money and the keeping of records by Johnson in the years 1934 and 1936. Then occurred the following illuminating colloquy. Johnson was asked by government counsel, "How about 1937. Did you record $1200 weekly each week in 1937?" His counsel interjected: "Until November 1st." The counsel for the United States then said, "Now, that is the part I object to." The court's comment to Johnson's attorney was, "You are out of order on that. The objection is overruled. You are not answering for the witness. He is answering for himself." The defendant's counsel stated, "I am sorry, your Honor." The court said, "You might take your seat and permit the examination to continue." The cross-examination continued, Johnson admitting that he had received money from Weloff "Up until the time Mr. Weloff stopped receiving the money." Then Johnson was asked, "Didn't you get that $1200 every week right up until the end of the year?" He replied, "No, sir." The next question was, "Didn't Jack Southern bring that money to you after Weloff stopped?" Johnson again replied, "No, sir." The next day Johnson was asked, "Did you receive any money from numbers in 1938?"1 The defendant's counsel objected but the objection was overruled. Johnson replied, "Yes, sir." He was then asked, "Who gave it to you?" His counsel then stated, "I object to that, if your Honor please. I think perhaps we should have argument upon this question because I can see what it is opening up if it is allowed to proceed. I think it is highly objectionable to inquire into a situation which, according to public newspaper articles is going to be the subject of another indictment against this defendant, quoting Mr. Burns. I think the defendant is entitled to be protected." The trial judge said that he desired argument upon the point raised and counsel for the defendant suggested that the jury be excused during the argument. The court thereupon excused the jury which withdrew from the courtroom. The prosecuting attorney then

129 F.2d 957
said, "* * * as long as the jury has left the room and is not present I am going to ask that the defendant also be excused from the courtroom during the argument and that when he resumes the stand he should do so without having any opportunity to hear what the argument is about and I suggest that he remain in the outer office of the chambers of Judge Avis during the argument." The court then said, "I think that is a fair request. You may retire, Mr. Johnson." While what Johnson did then is not described in detail in the record, the record does state that "the defendant withdrew". It is entirely clear from the ensuing colloquy of court and counsel that the defendant did not return to the courtroom until the jury was called back. This is also implicit in the briefs. During the course of the argument before the defendant returned to the courtroom, his counsel stated, "* * * I want to say that regardless of whether I am right in any of my other contentions * * * it the question asked of the appellant, viz., "Who gave it to you?" is an attempt on the part of the government to force from the witness who is not immune from testifying as to things which are on trial here before the court, but who has the same immunity as any one else from testifying from any other thing than that which is on trial before the court, sic that this is an improper cross examination for the reason that it is directed to a future prosecution." After further argument the trial judge stated, "You may advise him of his rights, of course, but it is for him to determine whether or not he wishes to take advantage of them * * *". Further argument took place and the trial judge finally said to counsel for the defendant, "I will allow you an exception. I will permit you, after the question is asked, to advise him about his rights." The right to which the trial court and the appellant's counsel referred was the appellant's right under the Fifth...

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33 practice notes
  • Brown v. State, Nos. 302
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 26, 1974
    ...28, 1973). 3 In accord with the holdings in Brown are Deschenes v. United States, 224 F.2d 688 (10th Cir. 1955); United States v. Johnson, 129 F.2d 954 (3d Cir. 1942), aff'd on other grounds, 318 U.S. 189, 63 S.Ct. 549, 87 L.Ed. 704 4 See State v. Pullen, Me., 266 A.2d 222 (1970), where our......
  • Washington-Pope v. City of Phila., Civil Action No. 12–4300.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • October 22, 2013
    ...substantially the same as that phrase of the Fifth Amendment, restraining action by the federal government.” United States v. Johnson, 129 F.2d 954, 958 (3d Cir.1942) (citing Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516, 535, 4 S.Ct. 111, 28 L.Ed. 232 (1884)); see Hurtado, 110 U.S. at 534–35, 4 S.Ct......
  • Com. v. Lopinson
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 26, 1967
    ...United States, 133 F.2d 87 (6th Cir. 1943), cert. denied 318 U.S. 781, 63 S.Ct. 858, 87 L.Ed. 1148 (1943); and, United States v. Johnson, 129 F.2d 954 (3d Cir. 1942), aff'd 318 U.S. 189, 63 S.Ct. 549, 87 L.Ed. 704 Lopinson's final complaint about phelans' testimony is the refusal of the tri......
  • United States v. Stoehr, No. 12000 C. D.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • September 5, 1951
    ...669, at page 671, and see Pierkowskie v. New York Life Ins. Co., supra, 147 F.2d at page 935; cf. United States v. Johnson, 3 Cir., 1942, 129 F.2d 954, at page 956, 144 A.L.R. 35 Farish Co. v. Madison Distributing Co., Inc., supra, 37 F.2d at page 459. 36 Alford v. United States, 282 U.S. 6......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
33 cases
  • Brown v. State, Nos. 302
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 26, 1974
    ...28, 1973). 3 In accord with the holdings in Brown are Deschenes v. United States, 224 F.2d 688 (10th Cir. 1955); United States v. Johnson, 129 F.2d 954 (3d Cir. 1942), aff'd on other grounds, 318 U.S. 189, 63 S.Ct. 549, 87 L.Ed. 704 4 See State v. Pullen, Me., 266 A.2d 222 (1970), where our......
  • Washington-Pope v. City of Phila., Civil Action No. 12–4300.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • October 22, 2013
    ...substantially the same as that phrase of the Fifth Amendment, restraining action by the federal government.” United States v. Johnson, 129 F.2d 954, 958 (3d Cir.1942) (citing Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516, 535, 4 S.Ct. 111, 28 L.Ed. 232 (1884)); see Hurtado, 110 U.S. at 534–35, 4 S.Ct......
  • Com. v. Lopinson
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 26, 1967
    ...United States, 133 F.2d 87 (6th Cir. 1943), cert. denied 318 U.S. 781, 63 S.Ct. 858, 87 L.Ed. 1148 (1943); and, United States v. Johnson, 129 F.2d 954 (3d Cir. 1942), aff'd 318 U.S. 189, 63 S.Ct. 549, 87 L.Ed. 704 Lopinson's final complaint about phelans' testimony is the refusal of the tri......
  • United States v. Stoehr, No. 12000 C. D.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • September 5, 1951
    ...669, at page 671, and see Pierkowskie v. New York Life Ins. Co., supra, 147 F.2d at page 935; cf. United States v. Johnson, 3 Cir., 1942, 129 F.2d 954, at page 956, 144 A.L.R. 35 Farish Co. v. Madison Distributing Co., Inc., supra, 37 F.2d at page 459. 36 Alford v. United States, 282 U.S. 6......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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