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District of Columbia Court of Appeals
October 24, 1974, Argued ; May 19, 1976, Decided
[*431] Appellant was convicted of felony murder, D.C. Code 1973, § 22-2401, armed robbery, id. §§ 22-2901 and 22-3202, and assault with a dangerous weapon, id. § 22-502. He contends that he was deprived of his constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel, and he was denied due process of law through an impermissibly suggestive out-of-court identification. We affirm.
The convictions arose out of an incident in the Fox and Hounds Lounge and its kitchen, which was shared by the adjacent Trio Restaurant. Shortly before 5:00 p.m. on March 6, 1973, Richard Mara, bartender-manager of the Fox and Hounds, entered the kitchen. Stephen Hart, the cook for the Trio, was working there. Mara, who had just cashed a check, stopped to chat with [**2] Hart on his return to the Fox and Hounds. Mara was "sort of counting some money".
Two men entered the nearly empty lounge. 1 One of them, later identified by Hart as appellant, went into the kitchen carrying a sawed-off shotgun. The other, armed with a pistol, remained in the lounge.
Appellant, seeing Mara counting his money, demanded that he "hand it over". As appellant reached to take the money, the shotgun discharged, hitting the wall. Both Hart and Mara then tried to gain control of the gun. During the struggle, appellant struck Mara on the head with the shotgun, causing a wound which bled profusely. [**3] As the three men emerged from the kitchen into the lounge, entangled in struggle, appellant called to his accomplice to "shoot". Hart, unaware to that point of the presence of anyone else, turned. The man with a handgun approached and fired, striking Hart in the left arm. As Hart fled back toward the kitchen, he heard a second shot. Hart later testified that the second attacker shot Mara.
The two armed men fled the Fox and Hounds. The first police officer on the scene called for an ambulance and broadcast a radio run for the robbery and shooting. Officers Robert Stewart and John Burnett monitored that radio run. Meanwhile, a city trash collector was working in an alley near the Fox and Hounds. He saw two men run down the alley, throwing something into a barrel as they went by, which he found to be a sawed-off shotgun, still smoking. The trash collector approached Officer Burnett, handed him the shotgun, and described the two men. The descriptions were relayed to Officer Stewart, and he and his partner began a search of the vicinity.
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357 A.2d 429 *; 1976 D.C. App. LEXIS 273 **
GILBERT F. THORNTON, APPELLANT, v. UNITED STATES, APPELLEE
Disposition: [**1] Affirmed.
identification, defense counsel, withdraw, ethical, pro se, reversal, pretrial motion, deprivation, suppress, assistance of counsel, circumstances, confrontation, kitchen, motions, reasons, shotgun
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, Reversible Errors, Criminal Law & Procedure, Reversible Error, General Overview, Counsel, Right to Counsel, Trials, Substitution & Withdrawal, Trials, Judicial Discretion, Effective Assistance of Counsel, Tests for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, Pretrial Proceedings, Preliminary Proceedings, Pretrial Motions & Procedures, Suppression of Evidence, Legal Ethics, Client Relations, Client Perjury, Duties to Client, Effective Representation, Eyewitness Identification, Due Process Protections, Fair Identification Requirement, Commencement of Criminal Proceedings, Showup Identifications