United States v. Kilpatrick

Decision Date24 September 1984
Docket NumberCrim. No. 82-CR-222.
Citation594 F. Supp. 1324
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. William A. KILPATRICK, Declan J. O'Donnell, John Pettingill, Sheila C. Lerner, Michael L. Alberga, C.S. Gill, C.M. Smith, Bank of Nova Scotia, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Colorado



Charles Alexander, Trial Atty., U.S. Dept. of Justice, Tax Div., Washington, D.C., and Robert N. Miller, U.S. Atty., Linda S. Surbaugh, Asst. U.S. Atty., Denver, Colo., for U.S.A.

William C. Waller, Richard K. Rufner, Wagner & Waller, P.C., Englewood, Colo., for Kilpatrick.

James L. Treece, Littleton, Colo., for O'Donnell.

David L. Hiller, Duboskey & Hiller, Denver, Colo., for John Pettingill.

Thomas French, Dill, Dill & McAllister, Denver, Colo., for Lerner.

Donald E. Van Koughnet, Naples, Fla., for Alberga & Gill.

C.M. Smith, No Appearance.

James E. Nesland, Ireland, Stapleton & Pryor, Denver, Colo., and Robert J. Anello, Obermaier, Morvillo & Abramovitz, New York City, for Bank of Nova Scotia.


KANE, District Judge.


After a twenty month investigation conducted before two successive grand juries, the instant proceeding was commenced on September 30, 1982 by the filing of a twenty-seven count indictment charging seven individuals and The Bank of Nova Scotia with conspiracy, mail fraud and tax fraud and also charging William A. Kilpatrick with obstruction of justice (Count 27). The bank was charged in ten counts with conspiracy to defraud (18 U.S.C. § 371) (Count 1) and aiding and abetting a mail fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1341 and § 2) (Counts 13 through 21).

On February 21, 1983, I dismissed the first twenty-six counts of the indictment for failure to charge a crime and as improperly pleaded. Additionally, upon separate motion by the bank, I dismissed the charges in which the bank was named upon the ground that the indictment failed to allege that the bank or any of its representatives had the requisite knowledge and intent to commit the crimes charged. The government appealed the dismissals.

On August 8, 1983, after briefing but before oral argument, the Tenth Circuit entered an order partially remanding the case to me so that all defendants could participate in hearings to determine whether prosecutorial misconduct and irregularities in the grand jury process constituted additional grounds for dismissal.

Before and immediately after the partial remand by the Tenth Circuit, the Honorable Fred M. Winner, Senior United States District Judge, presided over post-trial motions hearings following a guilty verdict against Mr. Kilpatrick on Count 27. On August 25, 1983, at about the time of his retirement from the bench, Judge Winner issued a memorandum decision which, among other things, summarized the status of the hearings which were being reassigned to me. Further, Judge Winner ordered that the government provide defendants with copies of transcripts of all proceedings that occurred before the grand juries. After some bizarre episodes of procedural novelty, Judge Winner's opinion was finally published. See United States v. Kilpatrick, 575 F.Supp. 325 (1983). The instant Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order must be read in conjunction with Judge Winner's opinion.

The government attorneys failed to provide defendants with complete transcriptions as ordered. They apparently overlooked, and did not transcribe, dozens of proceedings before the grand jury. The latter proceedings — which converted into hundreds of pages of transcript and, more significantly, disclosed clear violations of Rule 6 — were not produced until the defense detected the lack of compliance with Judge Winner's order. Even now, the government remains unable to provide transcripts of all the proceedings and was unable to produce a single Rule 6(e) order (which government attorneys testified they obtained) authorizing several major disclosures of grand jury matters. The government asserts that it had turned over such transcripts as could be had as soon as they were received from the court reporter. Such, in my view, does not excuse the failure to produce complete and accurate transcripts. If the assertion minimizes the inference of dissimulation, it exacerbates stronger ones of confusion and indifference.

A. Grand Jury Agents

Despite detailed instructions from the impaneling court that the grand jury should maintain its independence and not develop into a "prosecutor's agent," shortly after both grand juries involved in the investigation leading to the instant indictment were sworn, the prosecutors created the office of "agent of the grand jury" for Messrs. Mendrop and Raybin, Special Agents assigned by the IRS to assist the prosecutors.2 Several months later an IRS agent assigned to the civil division and who the prosecutors relied upon as an expert was also sworn in as an "agent of the grand jury." G.J. Tr. Schneider, May 3, 1982, 1:34 p.m., at pp. 2-3. The prosecutors divined the office of "grand jury agent" by personally administering oaths before the grand jury to Raybin, Mendrop and Schneider.3 The government concedes that the prosecutors possessed no authority to administer such oaths. Indeed, the prosecutor who administered the oaths now concedes he created the oath and was "shooting from the hip" when he did so. K.Tr. 501.

The government argues that this event should be viewed as a technical mislabeling of no great import. It is, however, more than a misnomer.

First, the prosecutor's description to the grand jury of the role of a "grand jury agent" clearly misled the grand jury as to the appropriate role of the IRS agents in the proceedings. See Winner opinion, 575 F.Supp. at 329. As conceded by the prosecutor, there is simply no basis for his description to the grand jury of the role of grand jury agents.4 K.Tr. 501.

Second, the grand jury was consistently reminded of the agents' uniquely created and described role and urged to rely upon the IRS special agents as their "agents." Thus, on many occasions when Raybin and Mendrop appeared as witnesses the government attorney reiterated that they were appearing as "agents of the grand jury."5See e.g., G.J. Tr. Mendrop, August 4, 1981, 9:25 a.m., at p. 2, August 5, 1981, 4:04 p.m., at p. 2, September 29, 1982, 9:32 a.m., at p. 2; G.J. Tr. Raybin, July 8, 1981, 9:11 a.m., at p. 5, March 3, 1982, 1:19 p.m., at p. 2, September 29, 1982, 2:32 p.m., at p. 2. Further, the government attorneys assigned special importance to identifying the IRS agents with the grand jury. When conducting interviews in connection with the investigation, Raybin and Mendrop were directed by the prosecutor to inform witnesses that they were "assisting a grand jury investigation in the Judicial District of Colorado." K.Tr. 619; see also G.J. Tr. Mendrop, August 5, 1981, 4:04 p.m., at p. 2; G.J. Tr. Raybin, July 8, 1981, 9:11 a.m., at p. 5, September 29, 1982, 2:32 p.m., at p. 2.6

Third, contrary to the role of the IRS agents described to the grand jury by the prosecutors, Mendrop and Raybin did not view their role and conduct their investigation as agents of an independent, unbiased grand jury. Rather, they viewed their role as agents of the Department of Justice, not the grand jury. When asked if his function as an agent of the grand jury was to assist the grand jury, Raybin testified:

A: My duties were designed to assist the Department of Justice in its investigation....

K.Tr. 232.

Mendrop similarly interpreted his role as agent of the grand jury to be "primarily" to assist the prosecutors:

Q: ... Mr. Mendrop, who were you really assisting in this matter during the grand jury investigation?
A: Well, primarily, I was assisting the attorneys for the government and indirectly I'm sure that I must have been assisting the grand jury through the work that I was doing for the investigation that they were, that they had under consideration.
Q: Well, in fact, you directly represented to the grand jury that you were assisting them, did you not, sir?
A: I'm not sure how you mean that.
Q: In fact, you represented to the grand jury that you were their agent and Mr. Snyder also represented to the grand jury that you were their agent; is that correct, sir?
A: I believe those words were used, yes, sir.

K.Tr. 401-02 (emphasis supplied).

Ironically, the government attorneys who created the grand jury agents and described their role are confused themselves as to whether the "agents" roles should be considered aligned with that of independent grand jurors or the prosecutors.7 K.Tr. 534-35; 1126.

Fourth, the government attorneys used the "grand jury agents" to do more than assist the attorneys in the investigation. They used them to summarize evidence in front of the grand jury. On the first day that the second grand jury convened, after his pseudo-investiture as a grand jury agent, Raybin summarized the investigation so far conducted, explained tax shelters to the jury, and opined that the circular financing utilized in the tax shelters under investigation was illegal. See G.J.Tr. Raybin, September 29, 1982, 2:32 p.m.; Mendrop, September 29, 1982, 9:32 a.m.; Raybin, September 30, 1982, 10:40 a.m. Similar kinds of substantive testimony were given by Raybin on September 9, 1981 and March 3, 1982. See G.J. Tr. Raybin, September 9, 1982, 10:02 a.m.; March 3, 1982, 1:19 p.m. On September 29 and 30, 1982, when the government attorneys, and apparently the "agents of the grand jury," were seeking the indictment, Raybin and Mendrop purported to summarize the evidence for the grand jury to support the 27 count indictment presented by the government attorneys. On September 30, 1982 Schneider appeared as "the expert" in the field of tax shelters to summarize the legal theory. G.J. Tr. Schneider, September 30, 1982, 9:22 a.m. These summaries contained numerous inaccuracies...

To continue reading

Request your trial
24 cases
  • United States v. Barker
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Colorado
    • November 25, 1985
    ...444 U.S. 846, 100 S.Ct. 91, 62 L.Ed.2d 59 (1979). Accord United States v. Pino, 708 F.2d 523 (10th Cir. 1983); United States v. Kilpatrick, 594 F.Supp. 1324 (D.Colo.1984); United States v. Anderson, 577 F.Supp. 223 (D.Wyo. 1983). In the absence of such a showing, any violation of Rule 6(e) ......
  • United States v. Rogers, 84-CR-337.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Colorado
    • February 22, 1985
    ...act in good faith, I cannot ignore the potential for prosecutorial manipulation of a grand jury which I saw in United States v. Kilpatrick, 594 F.Supp. 1324 (D.Colo. 1984) and United States v. Anderson, 577 F.Supp. 223 (D.Wyo.1983). Due process cannot tolerate even the opportunity for such ......
  • U.S. v. Kennedy, CIV. A. 97-B-816.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Colorado
    • November 2, 1998
    ...as prohibiting the imposition of secrecy on a grand jury witness. In support of his claim, Mr. Kennedy cites United States v. Kilpatrick, 594 F.Supp. 1324, 1335-1336 (D.Colo.1984). That decision, however, was reversed on appeal. See United States v. Kilpatrick, 821 F.2d 1456 (10th Cir.1987)......
  • U.S. v. Kilpatrick
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • June 18, 1987
    ...for failure to charge a crime by failing to allege a lack of economic substance in the underlying transactions. United States v. Kilpatrick, 594 F.Supp. 1324, 1327 (D.Colo.1984). Following a separate motion by the Bank of Nova Scotia (Bank), the district court dismissed the counts in which ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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