Certiorari Denied October 21, 1968. See 89 S.Ct. 248.
BOREMAN, Circuit Judge:
Following a jury trial which resulted in his conviction, Paul Nathaniel Hall was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment for the robbery of a federally insured savings and loan association.
In December 1966 the office of the Fidelity Federal Savings and Loan Association (hereinafter "Fidelity" or "bank"), located just outside the District of Columbia in suburban Maryland, was robbed by two young males, both Negroes. One of the robbers, Paul Young, was arrested later the same day by Lieutenant Wallace of the District of Columbia Police Department and, sometime prior to Hall's trial, was convicted for his part in the robbery. Pursuant to an arrest warrant Hall was apprehended in Washington, D. C., on March 6, 1967, by FBI Agent Dowling.
Prior to trial Hall's counsel had arranged to have three Negro youths who were not involved in the case seated in the courtroom and, with the court's consent, had seated Hall in the spectator portion of the courtroom rather than with his counsel at a table inside the railing. Young was also present in court. Pursuant to Hall's request the judge had ordered that the witnesses be sequestered.
At trial, Fidelity's two tellers testified to the effect that on the day of the robbery two young Negro men entered the bank and approached the tellers' counter where one of them, whose activities the Government sought to attribute to Hall, produced a business card on the back of which was written the message, "This is a holdup, keep quiet, no one will be hurt." The other man carried a small pistol.
While on the witness stand each teller was asked to identify the robbers. The first teller, Mrs. Jones, correctly identified Young as the one who had carried the pistol, but when asked to identify Hall pointed to one Melvin Taylor, one of the three youths positioned about the courtroom by Hall's counsel. The other teller, Mrs. Dean, was unable to identify anyone. Similarly, Lt. Wallace, who testified concerning his arrest of Young on the day of the robbery, when asked to identify the man he had arrested, pointed to Taylor.
After Hall had signed the paper he and Dowling were seated in the rear of the car driven by Ford, another FBI Agent, and they were proceeding toward the local FBI office. Hall was questioned by Dowling concerning the robbery and, along the way,
At no time during the proceeding against him did Hall testify, either generally
Hall argues, on several grounds, that the district court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal as to the first count of the indictment and in submitting this count to the jury.
While this argument may have a certain appeal as a matter of pure logic, nevertheless such facts do not warrant the granting of Hall's motion for judgment of acquittal. If the jury believed the testimony of Dowling concerning Hall's confession and that of the tellers concerning the events at Fidelity they could conclude that Hall was a guilty participant in the robbery. The record reveals that Mrs. Dean's inability to identify anyone and the mistaken identifications by Mrs. Jones and Lt. Wallace were forcefully argued to the jury by defendant's counsel; but such failure and mistakes could not eliminate from the evidence the testimony to show that two young Negroes participated in the robbery and Hall admitted that he was one of them. What happened at this trial demonstrates that eyewitnesses can be quite confused and their identifications, at times, most unreliable. Such mistaken identifications, however, do not command a judgment of acquittal when, as here, the Government has presented also sufficient evidence which could support a jury finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. As this court said, quoting from Curley v. United States, 81 U.S.App.D.C. 389, 160 F.2d 229, cert. denied, 331 U.S. 837, 67 S.Ct. 1511, 91 L.Ed. 1850 (1947):
Hall further argues that the motion for judgment of acquittal should have been granted for a second reason: that his conviction was obtained upon his uncorroborated extrajudicial confession. Specifically, Hall contends that such independent facts concerning the corpus delicti as are admittedly here present are not sufficient to meet the requirement of corroboration since there is nothing in the record — absent his confession — to connect him in any way with the crime. It is, of course, true that a criminal conviction cannot validly rest solely upon an
We thus conclude that Hall's motion for acquittal was properly denied.
Hall's next assertion of error concerns the waiver of his right to remain silent and the admission in evidence of his subsequent oral confession. In effect, Hall contends that the requirements for a constitutionally valid waiver as enunciated in Miranda v. State of Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed. 694 (1966), are not met in this case, and, further, he candidly argues that the law should be carried one step beyond the Miranda requirements.
It is undisputed that at the time of arrest Agent Dowling did not inform Hall of the punishment he might receive if he were convicted of the robbery with which he was charged. Hall argues that without this knowledge he simply was not in a position to make the knowing and voluntary waiver contemplated by Miranda. Miranda, however, reflects the Supreme Court's concern that an accused might, to his detriment, forfeit rights afforded him by the Constitution simply because he was not aware that he possessed such rights. We do not find in that decision any intimation that knowledge of the punishment for the crime with which he was charged is a prerequisite to a valid waiver of constitutional rights and we conclude that the validity of Hall's waiver is not vitiated by the admitted absence of knowledge or information as to the possible punishment. Furthermore, we are unable to agree with Hall's argument that he could not validly waive his right to remain silent and his right to the assistance of counsel without the advice of counsel with respect to the waiver itself. Unquestionably this argument goes beyond Miranda and Hall so admits. Miranda clearly contemplates that an accused may make a valid waiver of his rights without the presence or aid of counsel. This threshold decision is for the accused, and the police are not required to carry about with them a lawyer to inform him of those rights which Miranda so obviously envisions will be explained to him by law enforcement or judicial authorities. The waiver document signed by Hall explained in clear and simple terms that he would be provided an attorney "now" if he so desired. Clearly Dowling was prepared
From the record it appears that Hall, in all respects, made a voluntary and understanding or intelligent waiver of his rights to remain silent and to the services of counsel. We so conclude, not simply because of the "boilerplate statement" he signed
Concerning his confession, Hall presents one further argument. In conference prior to the presentation of counsel's arguments to the jury and the giving of the court's charge, counsel for Hall requested the court to instruct the jury that, before they could consider Hall's confession, they must find that he had "voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently" waived his right to remain silent. The judge indicated that he would refuse the request that he use the word "intelligently," that he would instruct that the waiver and statement must be found to have been "voluntarily and understandingly" made because he considered the terms "understandingly" and "intelligently" to be substantially equivalent although "intelligently" is a less desirable term. Defense counsel was further instructed that his argument to the jury on this point should be phrased accordingly.
In his brief, Hall asserts several other claims of error, most of which relate to or tend to enlarge upon the contentions which have been specifically considered and discussed herein. We have examined them carefully and have found no error.
Before we ask you any questions, you must understand your rights.
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can be used against you in court.
You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before we ask you any questions and to have him with you during questioning.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.
If you decide to answer questions now without a lawyer present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to a lawyer.
A lawyer will also be provided for you now, if you wish, by the Neighborhood Law Offices of the Neighborhood Legal Service Project, 416 5th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., which you may call.
WAIVER OF RIGHTS
I have read this statement of my rights and I understand what my rights are. I am willing to make a statement and answer questions. I do not want a lawyer at this time. I understand and know what I am doing. No promises or threats have been made to me and no pressure or coercion of any kind has been used against me.