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United States v. Barrow

decided: July 18, 1966.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
GEORGE BARROW, BENNY BONANNO, FRED DIPATRIZIO, JOSEPH MATTIA AND PASQUALE PILLO, APPELLANTS



Biggs, Chief Judge, and Kalodner and Smith, Circuit Judges.

Author: Smith

WILLIAM F. SMITH, Circuit Judge.

The appellants were tried by a jury and convicted on the first count of a multiple count indictment charging them with conspiracy to violate § 1952 of Title 18 U.S.C.A. Pillo and DiPatrizio were also convicted on each of three counts charging substantive offenses. The present appeals are from the judgments entered on the jury verdicts.

The pertinent provisions of the statute with which we are here concerned read as follows:

"(a) Whoever travels in interstate * * * commerce or uses any facility in interstate * * * commerce, * * *, with intent to --

(3) * * * promote, manage, establish, carry on, or facilitate the promotion, management, establishment, or carrying on, of any unlawful activity,

and thereafter performs or attempts to perform any of the acts specified in subparagraphs * * * (3), shall be fined * * * or imprisoned * *, or both.

"(b) As used in this section 'unlawful activity' means (1) any business enterprise involving gambling, * * *, in violation of the laws of the State in which * * * committed * * *."

FACTS

Between the middle of November 1961, and the middle of January 1962, the appellants were engaged in various capacities in the operation of a gambling casino at 237 Cherry Street, Reading, Pennsylvania, in violation of State laws, 18 P.S. §§ 4603, 4605 and 4606. The casino, furnished and equipped as a dice room, occupied the entire ground floor of a commercial building.

SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

The appellants maintain that the evidence was insufficient to support their convictions on the charge of conspiracy. Pillo and DiPatrizio also urge that the evidence was insufficient to support their convictions on the substantive charges. It is conceded that there was ample proof that they had been engaged in gambling operations in violation of State law. However, the appellants argue that the evidence was insufficient to support the conclusion that they had violated the federal statute.

We think it advisable to state at the outset the general principles by which we must be guided in passing on the sufficiency of the evidence relating to the charge of conspiracy.

The crime of conspiracy, as defined in § 371 of Title 18 U.S.C.A., is seldom susceptible of proof by direct evidence. Proof of the crime may rest as it frequently does, on indirect or circumstantial evidence. The existence of a conspiracy may be inferred from evidence of related facts and circumstances from which it appears, as a reasonable and logical inference, that the activities of the participants in the criminal venture could not have been carried on except as the result of a preconceived scheme or common understanding. Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60, 80, 62 S. Ct. 457, 86 L. Ed. 680 (1942); United ...


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