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UNITED STATES v. WHITE

December 19, 1966

UNITED STATES of America
v.
George W. WHITE



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CORCORAN

 CORCORAN, District Judge.

 The defendant George W. White is charged in Criminal No. 951-65 with violation of 22 D.C.C. 2401 (First Degree Murder) and 22 D.C.C. 3204 (Carrying Dangerous Weapon). He has moved to suppress certain evidence.

 White was arrested May 2, 1965. The arrest was made by a Maryland State Trooper in the State of Maryland for a traffic violation. At the time White was armed with a Colt revolver *fn1" and was accompanied by a passenger who charged that he had been shot by White in the District of Columbia and transported into Maryland. On the theory that an interstate kidnapping had occurred the F.B.I. entered the case. The passenger died a few days later and White was then charged with first degree murder and carrying a dangerous weapon.

 In the course of the investigation it was learned that the defendant White was employed by one Carlton D. O'Neal, a professional photographer/painter, whose principal place of business was located in Norfolk, Virginia. O'Neal also conducted a business in Washington, D.C. and in connection therewith he leased premises at 1722 Connecticut Avenue to which White had access.

 The F.B.I. requested O'Neal to come to Washington, D.C. On arrival O'Neal, informed of his constitutional right against search and seizure, signed a written waiver and willingly admitted F.B.I. agents into the premises at 1722 Connecticut Avenue with full permission to make such searches and remove such articles as they desired. O'Neal described his own attitude as fully cooperative with the F.B.I. and his permission as freely given. His waiver was signed and the search was conducted May 4, 1965.

 O'Neal described the premises at 1722 Connecticut Avenue and White's relationship thereto substantially as follows. The premises are an apartment-type suite consisting of a front or reception room where O'Neal did his painting and displayed his work; a second room where photographic paraphernalia was employed and kept; a third room in which there was a hide-away couch and other bedroom furniture; and a bathroom which doubled as a darkroom. O'Neal testified that he came to Washington on the average of two days a week and that on such occasions he would use the premises as indicated above and as sleeping quarters. He also testified that he had given permission to White, if White visited Washington, to use the premises as sleeping quarters. He had given White a key. This permission to use the premises was not considered by O'Neal as part of White's remuneration - it was merely the extension of a favor to White to save White unnecessary expense while in Washington. So far as O'Neal was aware, White had taken advantage of this privilege no more than twice during the course of his employment which dated only from mid-April. White contributed nothing to the rent.

 F.B.I. Special Agent Erkshell T. Zinn, who participated in the search, testified and described the general layout and character of the premises substantially as described above by O'Neal. He further testified that stains, apparently blood stains, were observed. He noted the presence of liquor bottles and drinking glasses. He observed coins scattered on the floor. He observed papers which apparently belonged to the deceased. He observed bullets in full view on the top of an open satchel. Photographs were taken, and certain items seized and removed from the premises. Tests were made. On cross-examination the agent acknowledged that the F.B.I. knew at the time of the search that White had permission of O'Neal to use the premises.

 The defendant has moved to suppress (1) all items taken from the premises at 1722 Connecticut Avenue; (2) any reports or analyses conducted on the items referred to in (1); and (3) all observations made by members of the F.B.I. or the Metropolitan Police inside the premises 1722 Connecticut Avenue.

 The defendant did not testify in the preliminary hearing and there was no effort made on his behalf to assert claim of title to any of the articles seized or observed. Defendant's counsel when questioned as to which items, if any, were claimed to be owned by the defendant surmised that a business card and cellophane holder bearing the name George W. White must have belonged to the defendant. Otherwise he was unable to ascribe ownership to any of the articles in question.

 The defendant claims that the items taken and tests and observations made were taken or made in violation of the Fourth Amendment ban against unreasonable searches and seizures. Specifically, he contends that the searching officers had no warrant, that the search and seizure was not validated by O'Neal's consent, and that the items seized and the observation and tests made constituted mere evidence and as such must be suppressed.

 * * *

 
A. Although the defendant as a gratuitous guest had relatively little interest in the premises it does seem that he has so-called "standing" to seek suppression of evidence taken from the premises under Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 80 S. Ct. 725, 4 L. Ed. 2d 697 (1960). The defendant argues that this "standing" is also sufficient to invalidate the consent given by O'Neal, again placing his reliance on Jones, supra. The Court rejects this theory as an unwarranted extension of Jones.
 
That case eliminated hyper-technical distinctions for purposes of "standing"; it did not establish the rule that one with "standing" can without more invalidate the consent willingly given by another who also has "standing." United States v. Eldridge, 302 F.2d 463 ...

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