of his handwriting and that he thereafter appeared voluntarily at the agent's office. After being formally advised of his Miranda rights, the defendant signed the official waiver form and then submitted handwriting exemplars of signatures for two hours.
Robert A. Cabanne, a handwriting expert and an employee of the Postal Inspection Service, testified that an analysis of the handwriting exemplars submitted by Cephas and the forged signatures on the stolen checks revealed strong similarities between Cephas' writing and the endorsements on the stolen instruments.
The Government then rested its case. However, the following morning, before any additional evidence was presented by either party, the Government petitioned the Court for leave to reopen the case to present a previously unavailable witness. After hearing argument on the motion, the Court granted the Government's request to reopen. Richard "Dynamite" Foreman then testified that during the early part of 1973 he and Harold Cephas obtained stolen checks from drug addicts and caused them to be deposited into various bank accounts registered to third persons. "Dynamite" corroborated the testimony of Ann Marie Gordon in regard to her receipt of the one-third share of the proceeds.
The defendant did not testify. The jury deliberated for approximately one hour and found the defendant guilty as to all three counts of the indictment. Strong factual basis existed from which the jury could conclude that the defendant Harold Cephas was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the offenses charged.
The defendant contends that the trial court erred in granting the Government the right to reopen its case to enable Richard Foreman to testify. A motion to reopen is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court. United States v. Wilcox, 450 F.2d 1131, 1143 (5th Cir. 1971); United States v. Duran, 411 F.2d 275, 277 (5th Cir. 1969). In the case at bar, the decision permitting the reopening of the Government's case was based principally on the Court's belief that the introduction of Foreman's testimony at that juncture of the proceedings was no more prejudicial to the defendant's position than if it had been presented earlier in the proceedings. The Government rested at the close of the second day of trial and immediately at the beginning of the trial on the following morning requested permission to reopen. The defendant had not yet presented any evidence on his behalf and had ample opportunity to cross-examine the Government's witness. See, United States v. Schartner, 426 F.2d 470, 475 (3rd Cir. 1970).
Furthermore, the record indicates that the Government made numerous efforts to assure the presence of the witness in court. The witness, in turn, had promised to appear but failed to do so until the Government had closed its case. Under all the circumstances, it would have been improper and unjust for the Court to have denied the Government's request to reopen the case.