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United States v. Faruolo

decided: October 29, 1974.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
WILLIAM MICHAEL FARUOLO AND ANTHONY BERNARDEZ, APPELLANTS



Appeals from judgments of conviction entered in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Edward R. Neaher, Judge, for conspiracy to receive and possess goods stolen from interstate commerce, 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 & 659. Affirmed.

Mulligan and Minter,*fn* Circuit Judges and Newman,*fn** District Judge. Newman, District Judge (concurring).

Author: Mulligan

MULLIGAN, Circuit Judge:

These are appeals taken by Anthony Bernardez and William Faruolo from judgments of conviction entered on March 8, 1974 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, following the acceptance, on November 12, 1973, by District Judge Edward R. Neaher, of their pleas of guilty to the second count of a two-count indictment. Count one charged the appellants and six others*fn1 with receiving and possessing goods stolen from interstate commerce, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 & 659, and count two charged the same defendants with conspiracy to receive and possess the same stolen goods, 18 U.S.C. § 371. Bernardez and Faruolo were sentenced to probationary terms of three years and five years respectively, with Bernardez' terms to commence upon his release from state prison.

Appellants' sole contention on these appeals is that the district court erred in denying, after a hearing, their motion to suppress contraband which was seized without a warrant from Faruolo's home.*fn2 We agree with the district court that Faruolo voluntarily consented to the search and therefore affirm.

I

On August 10, 1972, Special Agent John Egan of the FBI received a report that a truckload of women's dresses and wearing apparel, which was being transported by Interstate Dress Carriers, Inc., had been hijacked earlier in the day. During the subsequent investigation, the truck driver provided a description of the hijackers, as well as of the cargo, a portion of which had been packed in special hangerpack cartons bearing the printed name "Hangerpack." Information from reliable informants indicated that defendant John Pastore, a known hijacker, was involved in the theft and further led to the surveillance of the Staten Island residence of Richard Marco, Sr.

At approximately 11:13 on the morning of August 14, 1972, Egan observed a U-Haul rental truck pull away from the front of the Marco residence. The truck had a lock on the back and was followed by a green Cadillac with New Jersey license plates. After losing sight of the vehicles for a short time, Egan located them parked in the vicinity of the Staten Island home of appellant William Faruolo, where the truck was being unloaded by Faruolo, his son and several of the other named defendants. Its contents, which included some "Hangerpack" containers, were being carried from the truck into Faruolo's house through a side door.

At about 12:45 p.m., the unloading operation completed, Egan followed three of the defendants to the Country Club Diner on Staten Island where they met with John Pastore. Defendant Richard Marco, Jr. and Pastore left the meeting together and the two were observed to drive to 45 Vera Street, Staten Island. There, Marco picked up a second U-Haul which he drove to Faruolo's home, where it was unloaded by several of the defendants. Special Agent William Edwards, who had joined Egan in the investigation, saw them taking large brown "Hangerpack" cartons, as well as hanging garments in plastic bags, from the truck into the Faruolo house.

At approximately 3:30 or 4:00 p.m., when it appeared that they were finished and that some of the defendants were about to leave, Edwards, accompanied by a number of other agents, moved in to make the arrests. Edwards, with his gun drawn, proceeded to the back yard of the Faruolo home where he found Faruolo standing alone near a blue panel truck. Through the truck window, he could see that it was fully packed with hanging garments and on the ground beside the truck were folded "Hangerpack" cartons. After placing Faruolo under arrest, Edwards advised him of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694, 86 S. Ct. 1602 (1966), except that he omitted to advise him that he had the right to have counsel appointed if he could not afford an attorney. Faruolo just placed his head in his hands, evidencing a state of disbelief. Edwards did not search him for weapons or place handcuffs on him at that time but he did keep his gun drawn for several minutes until he thought that the situation was under control. He requested that Faruolo be seated at a picnic table and they waited for other agents. Faruolo made no statements during this time other than giving his name, admitting ownership of the house and identifying his seventeen-year old son, who stepped out into the yard for a brief period. Edwards did not speak to the young man but he did suggest to Faruolo that he should direct him to return to the house, which was occupied by Faruolo's wife, among others.

When Egan and Agent Thomas Armstrong arrived, at most, no more than five minutes after Faruolo's arrest, Edwards holstered his gun and informed Egan that the individual under arrest was Faruolo, that it was his house and that he had been given his Miranda rights. Egan then advised Faruolo that he was an FBI agent investigating a hijacking and asked him for permission to search his house. Faruolo was informed that he did not have to permit the search if he did not want to and that the house would not be searched without his consent. Egan, however, did point out that if Faruolo did not consent, a search warrant would be applied for and further conveyed his belief that one would be issued. He also stated that a warrant, because of the late hour, probably could not be obtained until the following morning, and that, consequently, the FBI would have to keep his house under surveillance to prevent the removal of its contents. Faruolo then, after quietly thinking a minute or two, signed a consent to search form which Egan had previously read to him and which Faruolo had said he understood.*fn3

Faruolo was subsequently left in the custody of Special Agent Charles Steadman, while Egan and Edwards proceeded with the search. Faruolo and Steadman went into the house where Steadman correctly and fully advised Faruolo of his Miranda rights. Faruolo consented to an interview, during which he admitted that he knew the merchandise was stolen, but he then indicated that he would like to speak to an attorney before answering any more questions and the interrogation terminated.*fn4

II

Appellants'*fn5 principal argument on appeal is that the facts established at the suppression hearing failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that Faruolo's consent was freely and voluntarily given. Specifically, it is urged that Faruolo reluctantly signed the consent form because he feared that the agents would arrest his seventeen-year old son whom they had observed ...


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