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United States v. Mims

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT


decided: June 15, 1973.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
HAROLD JACOB MIMS, A/K/A JACOB HAROLD MIMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

Moore, Friendly and Feinberg, Circuit Judges.

Author: Per Curiam

Harold Jacob Mims appeals from a judgment of conviction entered in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, John T. Curtin, J., following a jury trial on a four-count indictment alleging, in substance, conspiracy and armed bank robbery. 18 U.S.C. ยงยง 371, 2 & 2113(a), (b), (d).*fn1

Appellant's principal complaint on appeal is that Judge Curtin erred in permitting the manager of the bank, Thomas K. Schlicht, to identify appellant in court as one of the two holdup men.*fn2 Both wore stocking masks during the robbery, but one -- allegedly Mims -- had his mask rolled up over his forehead for a time, so that Schlicht was able to see his face for between ten seconds and one minute. Although Mims and his alleged accomplice were arrested on the day of the robbery, April 20, 1972, Schlicht did not see Mims until May 4 in court prior to the scheduled start of the preliminary hearing.*fn3 At that hearing, which was delayed until the next day, Schlicht identified Mims and further testified that he had recognized him the previous day, when Mims had apparently been sitting in the first row of the spectators' section.*fn4 According to Schlicht, at the time that he first recognized Mims on May 4, he did not see him wearing handcuffs or realize that he was under guard, although later in the day he did observe that Mims was in handcuffs.

Appellant asserts that the confrontation on May 4 was improperly suggestive and that the Government failed to establish at the subsequent Wade hearing before Judge Curtin that the identification at trial would be the product of Schlicht's observation of Mims at the bank. In regard to the latter point, Schlicht had a clear view of the unmasked robber's face, he was able to observe him for as long as one minute, and as a victim of the crime, he may have been especially likely to remember the man's features. These considerations, together with the witness's affirmation at the Wade hearing that his identification of Mims was based upon the events of April 20, lead us to conclude that this case is not "the rare exception," Clemons v. United States, 133 U.S.App.D.C. 27, 408 F.2d 1230, 1252 (1968) (en banc) (Leventhal, J., concurring), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 964, 89 S. Ct. 1318, 22 L. Ed 2d 567 (1969), in which the judgment of the trial judge on such matters of identification should be rejected. See, e.g., United States ex rel. Bisordi v. LaVallee, 461 F.2d 1020, 1024 (2d Cir. 1972); United States ex rel. Phipps v. Follette, 428 F.2d 912, 915 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 908, 91 S. Ct. 151, 27 L. Ed. 2d 146 (1970).*fn5 In view of this holding, we need not decide whether the confrontation at the preliminary hearing was unnecessarily suggestive. But cf. United States v. Roth, 430 F.2d 1137, 1140-1141 (2d Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 1021, 91 S. Ct. 583, 27 L. Ed. 2d 633 (1971).

We have considered appellant's other arguments, but none warrants a finding of reversible error.

Affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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