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UNITED STATES v. CONTEE

February 10, 1959

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Joan C. CONTEE



The opinion of the court was delivered by: YOUNGDAHL

Defendant Contee has been indicted for violation of the District of Columbia Code provisions prohibiting gambling. *fn1"

 Defendant asserts that any of the following contentions necessitates the suppression of the evidence: (1) the warrant is insufficient on its face; (2) there was no probable cause for believing the existence of the grounds for which the warrant was issued; (3) the warrant was illegally executed.

 The first contention rests on the proposition that the warrant did not sufficiently describe the premises to be searched since it specifies the

 'premises 810 C St. N.E. (entire Apt. A) Washington D.C. Occupied by Joan Williams per records of Gas & Elec. Co.'

 and that, in point of fact, there is no 'Apt. A' in 810 C Street, N.E.

 It is undisputed that there are two apartments in 810 C Street, N.E., and that the police entered and searched the apartment on the ground floor, occupied by defendant Contee (a/k/a Williams). But there is no letter affixed to the door leading to defendant's apartment. Defendant argues that there is, therefore, no 'Apartment A'.

 The Court is of the opinion that there is no merit in this argument. Even if it is assumed that there is no 'Apartment 'A', *fn2" the description is sufficient. Both the address of the premises and the name of the occupant of the particular apartment to be searched was here set forth in the warrant. Kenney v. United States, 1946, 81 App.D.C. 259, 157 F.2d 442 teaches us that such a description is a sufficient one.

 It should be emphasized that this is not a case where the warrant described one place and the police searched another. This is a case of a superfluous designation which, we have assumed, is erroneous. Steele v. United States No. 1, 1925, 267 U.S. 498, at page 503, 45 S. Ct. 414, 416, 69 L. Ed. 757, sets forth the general principle that

 'It is enough if the description is such that the officer with a search warrant can, with reasonable effort ascertain and identify (it).' (Taft, C.J.)

 The Court is of the opinion that an officer, with reasonable effort, could identify the defendant's apartment as the one commended to be searched. *fn3" Cf. Irwin v. United States, 1937, 67 App.D.C. 41, 89 F.2d 678.

 The facts set forth in the affidavit converge on 810 C Street, N.E. They show the following: on April 30, 1958, towards the end of the police investigations, the Lincoln was followed to 8th and E Streets, N.E. On May 7, the Dodge was followed to 8th and C Streets, N.E. On May 8, Oscar Long was observed meeting John Doe No. 1 at the corner of 8th and D Streets, N.E., and getting into the Dodge, which was 'last seen going through an alley in the rear of the 800 block C Street, N.E.' On May 12, 13, 14, 16, and 17, one of the police officers concealed himself in this alley and about 3:15 p.m. saw the Dodge driven into it; saw Long leave the Dodge and enter the rear of 810 C Street, N.E., Apartment 'A', carrying a large brown (sometimes white) paper bag.

 The Court is of the opinion that there was probable cause to believe 810 C Street, N.E., Apartment 'A', was being used in ...


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