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United States v. Papadakis

decided: September 29, 1986; As Amended October 8, 1986.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
DEMETRIOUS PAPADAKIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, convicting defendant of one count of criminal contempt pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 401, failing to testify before a grand jury despite a grant of immunity.

Feinberg, Chief Judge, Cardamone, Circuit Judge, and Kelleher,*fn* District Judge.

Author: Feinberg

FEINBERG, Chief Judge:

Demetrious Papadakis appeals from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Edward Weinfeld, J., convicting appellant of one count of criminal contempt, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 401, and sentencing him to five years in prison. Papadakis had refused to testify before a grand jury, despite a grant of use and derivative use immunity pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 6002 and 6003. In this appeal, Papadakis argues that his conviction was the product of prosecutorial vindictiveness, violated his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and subjected him to double jeopardy. He also claims that his sentence is disproportionate to the crime committed and was based on improper considerations.

For the reasons given below, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

I.

This appeal arises out of the government's continuing efforts to prosecute the individuals responsible for the theft from the Sentry Armored Courier Corporation in the Bronx in December 1982 of approximately $11 million and to recover some $10 million of that sum that is still missing. We are told that this was the largest cash theft in this country's history. To date, six defendants have been tried and convicted for crimes growing out of this theft.

Demetrious Papadakis was indicted for the Sentry theft in April 1983, along with Christos Potamitis, Eddie Argitakos, Steve Argitakos and Nicholas Gregory, and was charged with multiple counts, including bank larceny and conspiracy. Following a jury trial before Judge Weinfeld, Potamitis and Eddie Argitakos were convicted of bank larceny, interstate transportation of stolen property, conspiracy and other offenses, and Steve Argitakos was convicted of being an accessory after the fact. Papadakis was acquitted. Gregory was a fugitive at the time and did not stand trial. This court affirmed the convictions in United States v. Potamitis, 739 F.2d 784 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 918, 105 S. Ct. 297, 332, 83 L. Ed. 2d 232 (1984).

Gregory was arrested in September 1984.*fn1 Shortly thereafter, Papadakis was issued a subpoena commanding him to testify before the grand jury in the Southern District of New York that was conducting a continuing investigation of the Sentry theft. Before subpoena was served, the government obtained an order authorizing it to grant Papadakis use and derivative use immunity pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 6002 and 6003. That order provided that Papadakis's testimony before the grand jury could not be used against him in any criminal case, unless he committed perjury, gave a false statement or otherwise failed to comply with the order.

Following several adjournments, a new subpoena was issued in December 1984. Papadakis appeared before the grand jury the next day and was granted use and derivative use immunity after he invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in response to questions concerning the Sentry theft. He then unsuccessfully sought to quash the subpoena. When Papadakis reappeared before the grand jury, he again refused to answer any questions concerning the Sentry theft. Judge Whitman Knapp of the Southern District then held Papadakis in civil contempt and ordered him incarcerated. The civil contempt order was affirmed by this court in In re Papadakis, No. 84-6369 (2d Cir. Jan 18, 1985). Papadakis remained incarcerated on that charge until June 18, 1985.

Papadakis was indicted for criminal contempt on June 19, 1985. He did not surrender, but remained a fugitive until his arrest in Atlantic City six months later, with $10,000 in cash and casino chips in his pocket. Papadakis was convicted of one count of criminal contempt following a one-day trial on stipulated facts before Judge Weinfeld in March 1986. This appeal followed.

II.

We first consider Papadakis's argument that the government's decision to subpoena him was the product of prosecutorial vindictiveness. Papadakis contends that he was subpoenaed not in order to aid in the grand jury's continuing investigation of the Sentry theft, but rather to make trouble for him because of his acquittal at the first Sentry trial. Papadakis presented a general claim of grand jury abuse on his appeal from the order of civil contempt. See In re Papadakis, No. 84-6369 (2d Cir. Jan. 18, 1985). That panel's determination, that the government had "compelling and legitimate reasons for seeking Papadakis's grand jury testimony," is the law of the case, and the general claim of grand jury abuse may not be reargued in this appeal. See Zdanok v. Glidden Co., Durkee Famous Foods Division, 327 F.2d 944, 952-53 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 377 U.S. 934, 84 S. Ct. 1338, 12 L. Ed. 2d 298 (1964).

Appellant's principal argument on this appeal is that he should have been permitted to invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent because he reasonably perceived that, regardless of the content of his testimony, he would be indicted despite the grant of immunity. Papadakis claims that during the various Sentry proceedings, the government had elicited conflicting statements from two defendants, Eddie Argitakos and Howard Marshall, and that depending on the content of his testimony before the grand jury, it would use one of those statements to prosecute him for perjury. Papadakis views certain statements in the district court by the Assistant United States Attorney, refusing to foreclose the possibility that Papadakis might be indicted in the future even after the grant of immunity, as proof that his apprehensions about testifying were reasonable. ...


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