UNITED STATES v. LEWIS No. 222, Docket 77-1224.
565 F.2d 1248 (1977)
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Frank Tillman LEWIS, Appellant.
United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.
Decided November 21, 1977.
Henry J. Boitel, New York City, for appellant.
Before MOORE, FEINBERG and MULLIGAN, Circuit Judges.
FEINBERG, Circuit Judge:
After a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York before Thomas C. Platt, J., appellant Frank Tillman Lewis was convicted of armed bank robbery and conspiracy to commit that crime, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a) and (d), and 371. For these offenses, Lewis received consecutive sentences of 25 years and five years, respectively. Shortly thereafter, the judge found Lewis in contempt for refusing to answer certain questions at the separate trial of his co-defendant Robinson Quinones,
I. The Facts
There is no claim that the evidence on the bank robbery conviction was insufficient, and the jury could have found the following: On the morning of January 3, 1977, appellant and an accomplice robbed the Barclay's Bank at 2215 Church Avenue in Brooklyn. The robbers operated in style. They were driven to the vicinity of the bank in a chauffeured white Cadillac limousine, and went in pretending to be customers. In short order, both men drew guns and threatened those inside the bank. Appellant threw a woman customer to the ground and fired two shots from his gun. His accomplice disarmed a bank guard and collected about $11,800 from the cash drawers and the employees. The two men then went around the corner to the waiting limousine.
Twelve days later, the FBI arrested appellant at a New York hotel. After the agents identified themselves, appellant came to the door of his hotel room, shielding himself with a woman. The agents arrested appellant and gave him his Miranda warnings. Thereafter, the agents discovered in the room both the gun that was taken from the bank guard and a gun that had fired a bullet in the bank.
At trial, the case against appellant was overwhelming. The guns were, of course, strong evidence of guilt. In addition, a bank customer (Norma Sharpe) had identified appellant from photographs after the robbery, and she so testified. The driver of the limousine service testified that he drove appellant to and from the vicinity of the bank on January 3. Also, the jury was told of appellant's admission, when arrested, that he was guilty. In short, the jury's verdict was amply justified.
II. The Bank Robbery Conviction
The photographic identification
In his thorough brief and argument, appellant's counsel maintains that the district judge committed a number of errors of law. The most substantial arguments on appeal stem from Norma Sharpe's pre-trial identification of appellant from a display of photographs.
Appellant offers a number of objections to this evidence. Citing Simmons v. United States,
Appellant next argues that the identification testimony should have been excluded as hearsay, and is not permitted by the new Federal Rules of Evidence. Appellant directs our attention to Rule 801(d), which contains various definitions, and provides in relevant part that:
Appellant argues that Agent Farrell's testimony should have been excluded because "identification of a person made after perceiving him" contemplates only corporeal, not photographic, identification; and because it was improper to allow Farrell to testify in the absence of an in-court identification by Mrs. Sharpe. Appellant also claims that Mrs. Sharpe's testimony about her prior identification after she erroneously identified someone else in court amounted to testimony about a prior inconsistent statement not made under oath, rendering it improper under subsection (A), which overrides subsection (C).
Subsection (C) of Rule 801(d)(1), the focal point of appellant's arguments, appeared in its present form in the Rules as promulgated by the Supreme Court in November 1972. However, the Senate deleted the subsection before the Rules were approved by Congress in December 1974. Not long thereafter, the subsection was resurrected in an amendment to Rule 801, effective October 31, 1975.
Id. at 801-103. This court recently pointed out that "[t]he purpose of the rule was to permit the introduction of identifications made by a witness when memory was fresher and there had been less opportunity for influence to be exerted upon him." United States v. Marchand,
With these considerations in mind, we turn to appellant's specific contentions.
Appellant's second argument on this point is that the failure of Mrs. Sharpe to identify appellant in court made inadmissible Agent Farrell's evidence that she had identified appellant a month or two earlier. Appellant may be confusing this situation with that posed by the failure or refusal of the identifying witness to recall in court the earlier identification, which is discussed in Judge Weinstein's treatise from which appellant's brief extensively quotes. In that situation, testimony like Agent Farrell's might well raise questions concerning the adequacy of cross-examination and the right to confront the original identifying witness. In this case, however, Mrs. Sharpe did recall her prior identification and so testified. Even before the new Rule, we approved of admitting evidence of prior identification, albeit corporeal, by the declarant's "own testimony and also by that of others corroborating his version of the details," see United States v. Miller, supra, 381 F.2d at 538, cited by the Senate Report in support of subsection (C). Cf. United States v. Jenkins,
Appellant's final point seems to be that subsection (C) does not apply at all when the identifier has made an erroneous in-court identification because the prior identification is inconsistent with it and was not given under oath, as required by subsection (A). The Government responds that since appellant's appearance had changed significantly by the time of trial, there was no inconsistency. More significantly, even though Rule 801(d)(1) embraces subsection (C), the latter is not limited by the earlier subsections. Subsection (C) represents a legislative decision to admit statements of identification provided the declarant "testifies at . . . trial . . . and is subject to cross-examination concerning the statement." These conditions were met here, and we do not think that subsection (C) is rendered inoperative by Mrs. Sharpe's misidentification in court.
Denial of continuance and objections to the charge
Appellant's remaining arguments regarding the bank robbery conviction require less comment. In denying a request on the opening day of trial for a continuance, the
Appellant also argues that the judge erred in failing to instruct the jury in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 3501(a) on the weight to be given to his post-arrest admission to the FBI agents on January 15, 1977, and on the dangers of misidentification. Neither contention has merit. Defense counsel's obvious strategy at trial was, without putting his client on the stand, to imply that the admission was not made at all, and counsel so argued to the jury. There was little, if any, evidence from which a jury could infer that the statement was involuntary. We have held that in these circumstances section 3501(a), reproduced in the margin,
With regard to the judge's failure to charge on the dangers of photographic misidentification, the judge did charge that the identity of the defendant "as one of the perpetrators of the crime charged" was the key issue in the case on which the Government had the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Counsel had been invited to submit a specific identification charge but did not do so, and made no objection to the charge as given. While we have suggested that it is better practice to give such a charge, see United States v. Fernandez,
III. The Contempt Conviction
On May 10, 1977, appellant testified in the separate trial of his co-defendant, Robinson Quinones. Appellant was twice cited for contempt by Judge Platt in the course of that testimony and was sentenced to six months imprisonment on the ground that he had willfully disobeyed a lawful order of the court. Appellant submits that there is insufficient evidence to sustain the contempt finding, urging that it was based solely on his legitimate refusal to incriminate himself.
Appellant's testimony at Quinones' trial included a concession that appellant had
Appellant's attempt to give comfort to his co-defendant without at the same time prejudicing himself included no statement that could reasonably be construed as an effort to raise his Fifth Amendment rights. Judge Platt's refusal to countenance such manipulative and self-serving tactics was proper, and appellant's contumacy afforded ample ground for imposition of sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 401. Cf. United States v. Martin,
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