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UNITED STATES v. LAURITO

November 30, 1954

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Patsy LAURITO



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCVICAR

The Act of June 25, 1948, C. 645, 62 Stat. 806, 18 U.S.C. ยง 2313, provides that:

'Whoever receives, conceals, stores, barters, sells, or disposes of any motor vehicle or aircraft, moving as, or which is a part of, or which constitutes interstate or foreign commerce, knowing the same to have been stolen, shall be fined not more than $ 5,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.'

 The indictment in this case charges that the defendant

 
'On or about the 3rd day of November, A.D., 1953, at Monroeville, County of Allegheny, in the Western District of Pennsylvania, Patsy Laurito did knowingly receive a stolen motor vehicle, to wit, a 1953 Jaguar Coupe, Motor No. W-7124-8, Serial No. 680597, the property of Earl Proesel, 504 N. River St., Batavia, Illinois, which said motor vehicle had theretofore been stolen at DuPage County, Illinois, and which was moving as and was part of an interstate commerce from DuPage County, Illinois, to Monroeville, aforesaid.'

 The jury in this case on November 4, 1954 found the defendant guilty of the foregoing offense.

 The defendant filed a motion for a new trial, in which he avers:

 
1. That the Court erred in denying defendant's motion for acquittal made at the conclusion of the evidence.
 
2. That the verdict is contrary to the weight of the evidence.
 
3. That the verdict is not supported by substantial evidence.

 In Wilson v. United States, 162 U.S. 613, 619, 16 S. Ct. 895, 898, 40 L. Ed. 1090, defendant was on trial for murder and in his possession were found certain articles, such as a wagon, gun and horses. The Court said,

 
'Possession of the fruits of crime, recently after its commission, justifies the inference that the possession, is guilty possession, and, though only prima facie evidence of guilt, may be of controlling weight, unless explained by the circumstances or accounted for in some way consistent with innocence.'

 In McAdams v. United States, 8 Cir., 74 F.2d 37, 41, the Court stated,

 
'Possession of the fruits of crime recently after its commission justifies the inference that the possession is guilty possession, and, though only prima facie evidence of guilt, may be of controlling weight unless explained by the ...

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