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UNITED STATES v. LAWSON
July 17, 1972
UNITED STATES of America
Eugene LAWSON et al.
Huyett, District Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: HUYETT
Defendants were found guilty after trial by jury of conspiracy to receive, conceal, transport, and sell heroin in violation of the Federal narcotics laws, 21 U.S.C. § 174, 26 U.S.C. §§ 4704 (a), 4705 (a), 7237 (a), 7237 (b).
On November 4, 1971, trial on the three-count indictment commenced against six defendants
and on December 2, 1971, a jury returned a verdict of guilty against each defendant on all three counts. Each contended in post-trial motions that his motion for judgment of acquittal was erroneously denied at the conclusion of trial and that the verdict was contrary to the weight of the evidence. Alternatively, each sought a new trial because of events that occurred during trial. On June 19, 1972, argument was held on defendants' various post-trial motions. At the conclusion of argument all post-trial motions except Katherine Mayberry's motion for judgment of acquittal were denied. Her motion for judgment of acquittal was granted. The purpose of this Memorandum is to set forth in some detail the reasons for the ruling of the Court from the bench on June 19, 1972.
MOTIONS FOR JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL
Since the trial was rather lengthy, no attempt will be made to review all of the evidence offered by the Government to prove its case. A summary, however, of the evidence relied upon to dispose of the motions for acquittal follows.
From the Government's explanation of the intercepted conversations and the related surveillance, the jury could reasonably conclude, and apparently did conclude, that:
(1) On April 30, 1970, Wilberta Lawson travelled by bus to Apartment 5, 146 W. 120th Street, in New York City to pick up an order of heroin and cocaine for Eugene Lawson.
(2) On the way home from New York City, Wilberta Lawson delivered a package of narcotics to the Philadelphia residence of Walter Meadows at 3:00 or 4:00 A.M. on May 1, 1970.
(3) Bernice Wilcox made similar pick-ups for Eugene Lawson.
(4) When arrested on October 2, 1970, Walter Meadows was in possession of two bags of heroin and had never been treated anywhere for addiction.
(5) In October, 1970, Eugene Lawson was attempting to purchase a kilogram of pure heroin from James Wright in New York City for approximately $27,000.
(6) On October 6, 1970, Eugene Lawson, under surveillance, visited an apartment at 146 W. 120th Street, New York City. He left the premises with several packages that he placed in the trunk of his car. Shortly thereafter he was followed onto the New Jersey Turnpike and arrested. Searches of his car and person uncovered substances that were subsequently identified as: (a) 30.9 grams of pure heroin; (b) 1.15 grams of a mixture of cocaine hydrochloride and sugar; and (c) twenty 1/4 ounce blocks of mannite, a substance used to adulterate heroin for street use.
(7) On October 6, 1970, a search was conducted of the premises of Apartment 5, 146 W. 120th Street, New York City. The narcotics and narcotic-related materials that were seized there can best be described as being of factory proportions. The heroin, cocaine, cutting or adulterating materials, scales and plastic bags that were seized were introduced as Government exhibits 11 through 32.
(8) On October 5, 1970, Willie J. Rhynes sent a $1200 money order for Eugene Lawson to the Western Union office in Philadelphia. The money order listed the sender as Willie R. Hynes. On October 5, 1970, a conversation between Rhynes and Eugene Lawson indicated that Lawson was going to pick up something for Rhynes the next day. It also indicated that since this was "the first time" Lawson wanted to personally show Rhynes "what to do". Although Rhynes testified that the $1200 was sent to Lawson for a legitimate business purpose, the totality of the circumstances ...
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