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United States v. Costello

decided: May 20, 1958.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
FRANK COSTELLO, APPELLANT.



Author: Hincks

Before CLARK, Chief Judge, HINCKS, Circuit Judge, and BRENNAN, District Judge.

HINCKS, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from an order of the District Court which denied appellant's motion for a new trial under Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.*fn1 The motion initially was based only upon a claim of newly discovered evidence allegedly showing that the fruits of illegal wire tapping had been used at the trial. In the course of hearings on the motion, the appellant was permitted by amendment to enlarge his motion to include two further grounds, viz., an allegedly illegal mail watch and an allegedly improper inspection of the tax returns of veniremen on the trial panel on the orders of the United States Attorney prior to the trial.

Appellant was indicted in 1953 for income tax evasion, in violation of Section 145(b) of the 1939 Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C.A. § 145(b), covering the years 1946 through 1949. After trial upon a prosecution based on the net worth theory he was acquitted on the 1946 count but was convicted on the other three counts. He was sentenced to concurrent five year sentences and was fined $10,000 on each of these three counts.*fn2 On appeal, this court affirmed the convictions for 1948 and 1949 but reversed as to 1947. 2 Cir., 221 F.2d 668. The Supreme Court, having granted certiorari limited to the question of the sufficiency of the evidence presented to the grand jury, affirmed. 350 U.S. 359, 76 S. Ct. 406, 100 L. Ed. 397.

In May, 1956, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.A. § 2255, the appellant filed a motion for correction of sentence, and the District Court denied the motion. We affirmed. 2 Cir., 239 F.2d 177. The Supreme Court granted certiorari and affirmed. 353 U.S. 978, 77 S. Ct. 1281, 1 L. Ed. 2d 1140.

In November, 1956, the motion now before us on appeal was filed below. The District Court, after allowing the amendments referred to above and after an extended hearing of appellant's case, upon a comprehensive and carefully reasoned opinion denied the motion. 157 F.Supp. 461.

Wiretap Evidence

The district judge concluded that there was no proof that evidence which the Government had introduced at the trial was the fruit of wiretaps and that at any rate there was enough untainted evidence to support the convictions on the counts for 1948 and 1949. We need consider only his further holding that the appellant has not shown that the use of wiretap evidence was not known or could not, with due diligence, have been discovered prior to the trial.

The federal courts in varying circumstances have used either of two recognized tests or standards to determine when new trials should be permitted. One of these tests was originally laid down in the case of Berry v. State, 10 Ga. 511, 527, where the court listed the following six requirements:

"1st. That the evidence has come to his knowledge since the trial. 2d. That it was not owing to the want of due diligence that it did not come sooner. 3d. That it is so material that it would probably produce a different verdict, if the new trial were granted. 4th. That it is not cumulative only - viz.: speaking to facts, in relation to which there was evidence on the trial. 5th. That the affidavit of the witness himself should be produced, or its absence accounted for. And 6th, a new trial will not be granted, if the only object of the testimony is to impeach the character or credit of a witness."

The other test was developed in the case of Larrison v. United States, 7 Cir., 24 F.2d 82, wherein the following three requirements were specified:

"(a) The court is reasonably well satisfied that the testimony given by a material witness is false.

"(b) That without it the jury might have reached a different conclusion.

"(c) That the party seeking the new trial was taken by surprise when the false testimony was given and was unable to meet it or did not know of its falsity until ...


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