Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

UNITED STATES v. HARRIS

October 19, 1976

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JAMES HARRIS, JR.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FOGEL

 FOGEL, J.

 Defendant, James Harris, Jr., after a non-jury trial before this Court, was adjudged guilty on February 13, 1976, of the offenses of transportation in interstate commerce of a stolen motor vehicle, and theft from an interstate shipment, violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2312 and 659, respectively. We issued special findings from the bench on that date.

 Pursuant to Rules 33 and 34, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, defendant has now filed dual motions in which he seeks a new trial, or, alternatively, arrest of judgment. These motions present the following issues for resolution: (1) whether defendant's Motions for Acquittal at trial should have been granted; (2) whether evidence which was the fruit of the stop of the motor vehicle in this case should have been suppressed; (3) whether certain pretrial statements made by defendant should have been suppressed; (4) whether evidence of a pretrial identification of defendant should have been suppressed; (5) whether our adjudication of guilt was contrary to the weight of evidence; (6) whether there was insufficient evidence presented at trial to justify our finding of guilt; and (7) whether this Court lacked jurisdiction over the subject matter of the offense.

 We have carefully considered all of these points in light of the entire record; we find all of defendant's allegations of error to be without merit. Accordingly, the Motions for New Trial And/Or Arrest of Judgment before this Court must, and will be, denied.

 Our reasons follow.

 I. PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL HISTORY OF THE CASE

 A. Factual Background

 We need not detail all of the facts pertaining to the offenses for which defendant has been indicted and adjudged guilty. An extensive discussion of these facts may be found in our Memorandum and Order of December 5, 1975, which is reported at 404 F. Supp. 1116. However, a brief recapitulation of these facts is in order: (1) on July 3, 1975 at approximately 1:00 A.M., Patrolman Bell of the Burlington Township Police Department noticed a tractor-trailer traveling on a small country road known as Little Oxmeade Road; (2) this tractor-trailer was owned by K & K Transport Company, and the company name was painted on the sides of the trailer; (3) based upon his experience as a local police officer and his knowledge of the area as a resident on that thoroughfare, Patrolman Bell knew that it was highly unusual for a commercial vehicle of that nature to traverse Little Oxmeade Road, particularly at that hour of the morning; (4) his suspicions aroused, Patrolman Bell radioed Sergeant Komerosky of the same police force to assist him in stopping the truck for investigatory purposes; (5) the two officers pulled the truck over and Sergeant Komerosky questioned the driver, who was the defendant; (6) although defendant was able to produce a driver's license and registration, he was vague about his destination; (7) Sergeant Komerosky knew from his experience as a former truck driver that the destination of freight could be adduced from the bill of lading which a truck driver would customarily carry with him; (8) accordingly, Sergeant Komerosky asked defendant to produce a bill of lading; (9) defendant was unable to supply such a document; (10) the Sergeant then requested that defendant open the rear doors of the truck so he could inspect the contents, and defendant complied with this request; (11) an examination of the parcels of freight revealed that none were addressed to areas to which defendant had stated he was heading; (12) although defendant claimed he was employed by K & K Transport Company, he could not provide the name of his immediate supervisor; (13) based upon his belief that further investigation was warranted, Sergeant Komerosky asked defendant to follow him to police headquarters; (14) at headquarters, the Sergeant attempted to telephone K & K Transport to verify defendant's story; because of the hour, he was not able to communicate with anyone at that company's office; (15) he therefore permitted defendant to depart in the tractor-trailer; (16) upon K & K Transport's subsequent report that the tractor-trailer in question had been stolen, the FBI commenced an investigation; in the course of this inquiry, Patrolman Bell and Sergeant Komerosky were asked to view a series of photographs to determine whether they could identify the driver of the truck they had stopped; (17) both officers, separately, identified the defendant as the driver; (18) a warrant was issued for defendant's arrest; (19) upon arrest, defendant was advised of his Fifth Amendment rights, in accordance with the requirements of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694, 86 S. Ct. 1602 (1966); he nevertheless voluntarily provided the interrogating officer with a statement, in which he admitted his participation in the offenses for which he had been convicted.

 B. Procedural History

 Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion to suppress the following material: (1) that evidence which was the fruit of the stop of the tractor-trailer; (2) the inculpatory statements made by defendant to the interrogating officer; and (3) the evidence arising from the pretrial identification of defendant by Patrolman Bell and Sergeant Komerosky. A suppression hearing was held before us on October 14, 1975; based upon the testimony adduced at this hearing, and the briefs submitted by the parties, we denied defendant's motion to suppress in a Memorandum and Order dated December 5, 1975. The case proceeded to trial without a jury, and we issued our finding of guilt as to both counts of the indictment on February 13, 1976. Defendant subsequently filed the motions presently before us.

 II. MOTION IN ARREST OF JUDGMENT

 Under Rule 34, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a motion in arrest of judgment may be granted "if the indictment or information does not charge an offense or if the court was without jurisdiction of the offense charged." In the matter before us, defendant avers that this Court was without jurisdiction.

 The indictment in this case charged defendant with Theft from Interstate Shipment and Interstate Transportation of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 659 and 2312, respectively. With respect to the charge of theft from an interstate shipment, section 659 states in relevant part:

 
The offense shall be deemed to have been committed . . . in the district where the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.