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UNITED STATES v. SORRENTINO

June 26, 1948

UNITED STATES
v.
SORRENTINO et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MURPHY

Defendant, Vincent Anthony Sorrentino, also known as Jimmy Duffy et al., found guilty by a jury of violation of 18 U.S.C.A. §§ 398, 399, *fn1" and 18 U.S.C.A. § 88 *fn2" conspiracy to violate Sections 398 and 399, moves for a new trial.

 The conspiracy count charged concerted action in violating Sections 398, 399 and set forth overt acts, the first of which was during the trial withdrawn by the government.

 Defendant Riviello, husband of the victim, and defendant Schiavo plead guilty before trial. Riviello testified as a government witness. Defendant Kobli, aunt of the victim, and defendant Sorrentino plead not guilty. Neither of them testified in their own behalf.

 After the verdict of guilty was returned and sentence passed defendant Kobli, without having first moved for a new trial, filed an appeal, disposition of which is pending.

 Defendant Sorrentino moved for a new trial averring the evidence was not sufficient to support a conviction; and certain alleged errors in the conduct of the trial.

 In considering the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the verdict of the jury, this court must take that view of the evidence which is most favorable to the government; must give to the government the benefit of all the inferences which reasonably may be drawn from the evidence; and must refrain from concerning itself with the credibility of witnesses and the weight of the evidence. Affronti v. United States, 8 Cir., 1944, 145 F.2d 3, 5. The verdict of the jury must be sustained if there is substantial evidence to support it. Glasser v. United States, 1942, 315 U.S. 60 at page 80, 62 S. Ct. 45786 L. Ed. 680; United States v. Manton, 2 Cir., 1938, 107 F.2d 834, 839, certiorari denied 309 U.S. 664, 60 S. Ct. 590, 84 L. Ed. 1012; United States v. Michener, 3 Cir., 1945, 152 F.2d 880, 885; United States v. Toscano, 2 Cir., 1948, 166 F.2d 524.

 A careful reading of the record in the light of those principles satisfies us that the verdict of the jury must be upheld. It is not necessary to recount the evidence at length. It is enough to say that the jury could have found, and in support of their verdict, we may properly assume, did find the following:

 In the Spring of 1946, defendant Sorrentino came from Buffalo to Scranton, met with and talked to defendant Kobli. About that time defendant Riviello at Libli's apartment in Scranton met and became acquainted with Mary Kovacs, an eighteen year old unmarried girl, a niece of Kobli, who was then living with her aunt and who had come to Scranton from her home in Northampton to give birth to a child.

 Shortly before May 10, 1947, Riviello and Kobli talked about putting Mary into a house of prostitution. Kobli told Riviello, a young G.I., age twenty-two, that Mary would make a good prostitute and make a lot of money. Kobli helped in the preparations for the marriage between Riviello and Mary which occurred on May 10. Early Monday morning, May 12, Riviello, Schiavo and Mary left Kobli's apartment and shortly thereafter travelled by Greyhound bus, an interstate common carrier, from Scranton, Pa., to Buffalo, N.Y., where they met Sorrentino. Within a few days Sorrentino, unable to place Mary in a brothel in Buffalo, arranged to send her to one in Utica, N.Y., where for several weeks she plied her trade, turning over from time to time her share of her earnings to Sorrentino.

 Before leaving for Buffalo the victim was instructed on Sunday afternoon by Schiavo and on Sunday evening by Kobli as to methods, dress and other conduct in the work of a prostitute. She was dressed by Kobli in the apparel of the calling, admired and told she would make a lot of money, and thereafter given by Kobli a supply of clothes which she should use in her work. She was advised by Kobli as to what to do if she was questioned, to change her name and age, and other sordid details which are spelled out in the record.

 Kobli on Sunday night before their departure told Riviello that she had been in touch with Sorrentino and talked to him; that she told him that the victim and Riviello were going to Buffalo. She told the victim and Riviello where they could find Sorrentino, giving them two Buffalo addresses and a phone number; that Sorrentino had good connections, knew a lot of places where Mary could go to work in a brothel and that he would tell them where to go; that when they met Sorrentino they were to tell him that she sent them down; Riviello was to say that he was 'Sammy from Scranton.' When Mary was leaving Kobli's last words were, 'Behave yourself * * * and do everything you are told to do.'

 As soon as Riviello met Sorrentino in Buffalo the latter immediately asked, 'Are you Sammy from Scranton? Is this Betty Kobli's niece?', notwithstanding the fact that neither the victim nor Riviello had ever seen him before, or been otherwise introduced.

 The evidence showed an incompleted call by Kobli in an attempt to reach Riviello at Buffalo, and later a completed call after Riviello had left Buffalo when Kobli talked to her niece, while Sorrentino stood two or three feet away, at which time Kobli said, 'How is Jimmy Duffy treating you * * * He is a good fellow. You don't have to be ...


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