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United States v. Beverly

decided: September 19, 1977.


Both defendants appeal from judgments of conviction for violations of 21 U.S.C. § 846. Appellant Beverly also appeals from judgments of conviction for violations of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Affirmed as to Beverly; Rodriguez remanded solely for correction of sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 5010(b), affirmed in all other respects.

Mulligan, Gurfein and Van Graafeiland, Circuit Judges.

Author: Mulligan

MULLIGAN, Circuit Judge:

Defendants Glen Thomas Beverly and Faon De Jesus Rodriguez appeal from judgments of conviction for violations of federal narcotics laws entered on March 2, 1977 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, after a jury trial before the Hon. George C. Pratt, District Judge. Appellants were charged in a five count indictment with conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine between November, 1975 and March, 1976 in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, Count One; with the substantive offenses of distributing and of possessing with intent to distribute cocaine on November 4, 1975, Counts Two and Three; and on March 3, 1976, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2, Counts Four and Five. Both Rodriguez and Beverly were convicted of the conspiracy charged in Count One. In addition, Beverly was convicted of the substantive charges, Counts Four and Five. The defendants were acquitted of the charges contained in the remaining counts.

Beverly was sentenced to treatment and supervision under the Youth Corrections Act, 18 U.S.C. § 5010(b), on each count, to run concurrently, and to a special parole term of three years. Judge Pratt in an order filed on April 20, 1977 vacated the special parole portion of Beverly's sentence. Rodriguez was also sentenced to treatment and supervision under the Youth Corrections Act and to a special three-year parole term.

We remand Rodriguez's case to the district court solely for vacation of the special three-year parole term so that his sentence may comply with the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 5010(b). The Government has not contested this disposition. Appellants' convictions are affirmed in all other respects.


The major Government witness in this case was Robert Goncieski who was named as a co-conspirator in the indictment but was allowed to plead guilty to the charge of using a communications facility in furtherance of the commission of a drug offense. In early November, 1975, Goncieski agreed to sell four ounces of cocaine to Michael Kane who was an agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency. The transaction was consummated at a parking lot in the John F. Kennedy International Airport on November 4, 1975. Beverly and Rodriguez were the suppliers of the drugs to Goncieski and observed the sale from a parked car at the airport. They gave Goncieski a small share of the proceeds.

Kane later attempted to obtain more cocaine from Goncieski but Rodriguez was suspicious of Kane and refused to supply any more drugs. On February 24, 1976 Kane arrested Goncieski who cooperated, advising the D.E.A. that the source of the prior sale to Kane, which had been observed by other agents, had been the defendants Beverly and Rodriguez. Goncieski at the request of the D.E.A. sought more cocaine from the defendants, not identifying Kane as the prospective purchaser. The second sale took place on March 3, 1976. The D.E.A., alerted by Goncieski, kept the defendants under surveillance and arrested Beverly as he was passing a bag of cocaine to Goncieski. A search revealed additional cocaine on Beverly's person. Rodriguez was arrested later after Beverly identified him as the source of the drug.

At the trial, Beverly testified and admitted delivering the cocaine to Goncieski on March 3, 1976. However, he offered a rather improbable explanation of the transaction. According to Beverly, Goncieski had called him early on the morning of March 3 to ask for his help in repairing Goncieski's car. Beverly, accompanied by Rodriguez, proceeded to Goncieski's apartment only to find that the car had been towed away. Goncieski then said that he had been using the car to hide drugs and that he did not wish to keep them in his apartment where his aunt might find them. Beverly agreed to take possession of the drugs for a few hours as a favor for Goncieski. When they met later that morning so that the cocaine could be returned to Goncieski, the defendant was arrested. His then identification of Rodriguez as the supplier, he explained, was the result of intimidation by the D.E.A. agents. The jury obviously did not accept this version of the facts. Rodriguez did not testify and presented no witnesses.


Appellants do not contest the sufficiency of the evidence but raise other points. Appellants urge that Judge Pratt committed reversible error in refusing to give the charge set forth in the margin.*fn1 This proposed defense charge required the trial court to give a hybrid instruction combining within the single charge instructions on the lesser included offense of simple possession, 21 U.S.C. § 844,*fn2 and entrapment with respect to that offense. No request was made for an instruction on entrapment on either the offense of possession with intent to distribute or the offense of distribution. Judge Pratt denied this requested charge. The trial court reasoned that if the jury believed Beverly's testimony that he was only holding the cocaine as a favor for Goncieski then they could not convict on the counts under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) since the requisite intent would not be present. In that situation he also concluded that entrapment on the simple possession count would have been established as a matter of law. Since, under his analysis, the jury in no event could convict Beverly of simple possession, Judge Pratt refused to instruct them on it. Instead, the court offered to instruct the jury that

if they do believe Beverly, then they must acquit. In fact, I would charge as to both defendants they must acquit on both counts four and five.

I would also charge them they would have to, even if they don't believe precisely what Beverly had to say, they would have to find the elements based on the other testimony, ...

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