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UNITED STATES v. MCGOWAN

December 3, 1974

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Vincent McGOWAN, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: COOLAHAN

 Defendant Vincent McGowan was indicted along with six named coconspirators and other persons unknown to the grand jury for certain violations of the narcotics laws. The indictment charged in separate counts that defendant and his coconspirators had (1) conspired to import marijuana into the United States in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 952(a), 960, and (2) conspired to distribute marijuana, and to possess marijuana with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846. *fn1"

 Following severance of the cases against four named conspirators, McGowan was tried together with two other defendants. The principal evidence against him was the testimony of James Scott, a participant in the alleged conspiracy. Scott testified that, on three occasions, McGowan had met Scott and Jack Horniak, another conspirator, in Mexico, and on each occasion had delivered to them the contents of a small van filled with marijuana. Scott also testified that McGowan had been present at several meetings among the conspirators in New York. The remaining evidence against McGowan consisted of records of telephone calls from Mexico to New York between McGowan and his codefendants during the period covered by the alleged conspiracy.

 The defense did not contest the issue of specific intent. It consisted almost entirely of an attack upon the credibility of Scott. Nevertheless, the jury found McGowan not guilty on count 2 *fn2" but was unable to reach a verdict on count 1. McGowan now moves to dismiss the latter count on grounds of double jeopardy and collateral estoppel.

 That a retrial on count 1 would have been permissible had it been charged in a single-count indictment is undisputed. E.g., United States v. Perez, 22 U.S. 579, 9 Wheat. (22 U.S.) 579, 6 L. Ed. 165 (1824). In that type of situation, a second proceeding is justified because (1) it is essential to a fair and final determination of the case, see id., and (2) the inconvenience to defendant of multiple trials is due in no degree to governmental harassment. Cf. Gori v. United States, 367 U.S. 364, 369, 81 S. Ct. 1523, 6 L. Ed. 2d 901 (1961). The first question presented in this case is what additional considerations are called into play by the joinder of count 2 in the same indictment and the jury's acquittal of that charge.

 Defendant contends that, since a retrial on count 1 must follow an earlier acquittal on count 2, the case is indistinguishable from one in which defendant was indicted, tried, and acquitted of conspiring to distribute marijuana and later reindicted and retried for conspiring to import it. If defendant's reasoning were correct, it would follow that if the conspiracy offenses charged in counts 1 and 2 were the same offense under the "same evidence" test, then a retrial on count 1 would place defendant twice in jeopardy.

 Specifically, defendant relies on Calvaresi v. United States, 216 F.2d 891 (10th Cir. 1954), and United States v. Cohen, 197 F.2d 26 (3d Cir. 1952). *fn3" In Calvaresi, an indictment was returned against seven defendants charging a conspiracy to influence and to bribe jurors in a federal trial in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. Later a second indictment was returned against the same seven which was "identical in substance," 216 F.2d at 896, with the first, but for the addition of one coconspirator and two overt acts. Id. Two of the seven pleaded guilty to the first indictment, but the government proceeded to try them with the other six conspirators on the second. On appeal, the government conceded that both indictments charged the same conspiracy. The court concluded "without more" that the trial on the second indictment constituted double jeopardy. Id. at 901. In Cohen, the Third Circuit reached the same conclusion as to one defendant who had been indicted and convicted in New York of conspiring to violate the narcotics laws and later indicted and convicted in New Jersey of the same violation. The New York indictment, the court found, had merely been carved out of the larger conspiracy charged in the New Jersey indictment. Id. at 29.

 At issue in cases like Calvaresi and Cohen, although framed in language of the "same evidence" test, is the question when fairness requires that all offenses arising from a single transaction be tried together. See United States v. Mallah, 503 F.2d 971, at 985 n.7 (2d Cir. Sept. 23, 1974). In this case, however, that question never arose; the government made no attempt to harass the defendant with multiple prosecutions by carving separate conspiracies from a single offense. The Court must decide simply whether defendant, who has been properly tried on a multi-count indictment, may be retried on the count on which the jury failed to agree. The holdings in Cohen and Calvaresi play no part in the resolution of this question. *fn4"

  The defendant also relies on cases holding that (1) a single conspiracy in fact is but a single "offense" in law, even though it contemplates the violation of several statutes, see Braverman v. United States, 317 U.S. 49, 63 S. Ct. 99, 87 L. Ed. 23 (1942), or actually violates several separate conspiracy statutes, see United States v. Adcock, 487 F.2d 637 (6th Cir. 1973), and therefore (2) only a single punishment may be imposed for multiple conspiracy convictions under a multi-count indictment. Braverman, supra, 317 U.S. at 54, 63 S. Ct. 99; Adcock, supra, 487 F.2d at 639. This case, of course, does not present the question whether the defendant can be given separate sentences on counts 1 and 2. Presumably, then, defendant finds Braverman and Adcock applicable because, if two offenses must be punished as one crime, they must be tried as one crime. The Court has already rejected, however, the syllogism that, because two offenses must be joined for trial, an acquittal of one must constitute, in effect, an acquittal of the other. Thus Braverman and Adcock must be deemed inapplicable for the reasons discussed above. *fn5"

 Defendant's final contention is that his motion should be granted on collateral estoppel grounds. He urges, and the government agrees, that only one conspiracy was charged and proved. *fn6" Both parties also agree that proof that McGowan joined the conspiracy (with intent to import) would be essential to convict on a retrial on count 1. *fn7" At issue is the question what matters were "necessarily decided" by his acquittal on count 2.

 Defendant contends that the jury must have found that he was not one of the conspirators. He reasons that the evidence used to prove identity formed a proper base for an inference of intent to distribute. See United States v. Anderson, 468 F.2d 1280, 1283 (10th Cir. 1972). Further, the inference was unrebutted. But notwithstanding this unrebutted inference, the government asserts that the jury decided only that McGowan lacked intent to distribute. It rejects defendant's hypothesis because the same jury failed to acquit on count 1. If it doubted that McGowan was a conspirator, the argument concludes, the jury would have acquitted on both counts.

 The question for the Court is whether it should ignore the jury's inconsistency. Stated differently, the question is whether defendant is entitled to the benefit of a conclusive presumption that a demonstrably irrational jury reached a rational acquittal verdict. If he is not, the jury's failure to acquit on count 1 makes impossible the conclusion that the issue of his conspiratorial involvement was "necessarily determined."

 Defendant relies on Ashe v. Swenson, 397 U.S. 436, 90 S. Ct. 1189, 25 L. Ed. 2d 469 (1970), to establish that he would be entitled to a presumption of rationality if he were first tried on count 1 alone and later tried on count 2. See 397 U.S. at 444, 90 S. Ct. 1189. But for the initial joinder for trial of both counts in this case and the jury's inconsistency, the facts of Ashe are substantially similar to the facts presented here.

 Petitioner Ashe and three others were charged with seven offenses: armed robbery of six victims of a single holdup and theft of a car belonging to one of the victims. Although charged with these seven related offenses, however, he was first tried for robbing only one of the six victims. The only issue in dispute at trial was whether Ashe was one of the robbers. 397 U.S. at 438, 90 S. Ct. 1189. The jury apparently ...


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