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UNITED STATES v. BIRRELL

April 3, 1967

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Lowell M. BIRRELL, Defendant


Herlands, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: HERLANDS

HERLANDS, District Judge.

This motion by the defendant* to dismiss Counts Two through Sixteen of the indictment or, alternatively, to compel the Government to elect one count out of Counts One through Sixteen for purposes of trial poses an interesting question of criminal pleading usually considered under the rubrics of "duplicity," "multiplicitousness" or "fragmentation of crimes."

 The answers to the questions - whether the indictment is duplicitous and whether the allegedly duplicitous counts should be dismissed or whether the Government should be compelled now to select for trial one of the challenged counts - must be formulated with some circumspection because the course of relevant decisions in this circuit is not a clear, straight line.

 The Challenged Counts

 Although the indictment contains a total of thirty-two counts, the disposition of this motion requires an analysis of only Counts One through Sixteen, which are the counts attacked as duplicitous.

 A. The "Introduction" of the Indictment

 The first nine pages of the indictment follow a subject-heading entitled "Introduction." This "Introduction" is divided into four numbered paragraphs. Paragraph "1" of the "Introduction" covers a six-year period described as from on or about August 1, 1955 up to and including the filing date of the indictment, which (as a matter of record) is July 20, 1961. This paragraph names the thirteen individual defendants and the one corporate defendant, J. A. Winston & Co., Inc.

 This paragraph then identifies the securities that are the subject matter of the crimes charged as the common shares of capital stock ("common stock") of American Leduc Petroleums Limited ("American Leduc"). This paragraph - adopting and paraphrasing the language of Title 15, United States Code, Section 77q(a) - alleges (in substance) that the defendants unlawfully did the acts proscribed by said Section 77q(a); and then lists the names of fifty-six persons, described as the "persons to be defrauded" by the defendants. After listing the fifty-six names, the indictment adds: "and other persons too numerous to name herein."

 Paragraph "2" of the "Introduction" is divided into nine subparagraphs lettered "(a)" to "(i)," which follow a prefatory statement that the defendants' "device, scheme, artifice to defraud, transactions, practices, and course of business" - as referred to in paragraph "1" of the "Introduction" - "involved the issuance to and acquisition by" Birrell and five other defendants (the corporate defendant, Winston, the two Bernsteins and Gilbert) of "large blocks" of American Leduc common stock for the purpose of selling said stock to the persons to be defrauded. The nine subparagraphs "(a)" to "(i)" describe acts that are stated to be "a part" of the previously mentioned "device, scheme, * * * and course of business." The acts described in these nine subparagraphs cover a period of time from 1954 to February 1, 1958.

 Paragraph "3" of the "Introduction" lists twenty-three "untrue statements of material facts" by means of which the defendants obtained money and property in the sale of American Leduc common stock - these untrue statements being "a further part" of the previously described "device, scheme, artifice to defraud, transactions, etc." The twenty-three untrue statements are set forth in separately lettered subparagraphs "(a)" to "(w)".

 Paragraph "4" of the "Introduction" lists three material facts that the defendants omitted to state (that should have been stated in order to make the statements that were made, under the circumstances in which they were made, not misleading), the omissions being "a further part" of the previously described "device, scheme, artifice to defraud, etc."

 B. "Counts One Through Sixteen"

 At page 9 of the indictment, following the paragraphs that comprise the "Introduction," there is a subject-heading entitled "Counts One Through Sixteen." The newly expressed allegations (that appear at pages 9-13 of the indictment) under the said subject-heading incorporate by express reference certain specific elements set forth in named paragraphs of the "Introduction" and also "each and every allegation contained in * * * paragraphs 1 through 4 of the portion of the indictment entitled 'Introduction'."

 Structurally, the material pleaded as Counts One through Sixteen is presented in two numbered paragraphs ("1" and "2") and in a table (at pages 11-13 of the indictment) setting forth detailed allegations under five horizontal columnar headings entitled "Count", "Date", "Name & Address of Purchaser", "Matter", and "Defendants".

 As to the named defendant, there are seven defendants named in each such count. Six of those seven are the same for each of the sixteen counts, namely, Birrell, J. A. Winston & Co. Inc., Joel A. Winston, Albert and Irving Bernstein, and Morrison Gilbert. The seventh named defendant sometimes varies. The seventh named defendant is Count One is Harry Levine; in Count Two, Benof Berman; in County Three, Bernard Rotter; in Count Four, Benof Berman; in Count Five, Leo Glassman; in Count Six, Matthew Naphtali; in Count Seven, Phil F. Krumholz; in Count Eight, Matthew Naphtali; in Count Nine, Bernard Rotter; in Count Ten, Leo Glassman; in Count Eleven, Max Levine; in Count Twelve, Phil F. Krumholz; in Count Thirteen, Benof Berman; in Count Fourteen, Max Levine; in Count Fifteen, Harry Levine; and in Count Sixteen, Benjamin N. Saporta.

 For each of the said sixteen counts, there are different named purchasers, except with respect to the second and fourth counts where the same ...


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