United States v. Stone

987 F.2d 469 (1993)

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United States v. Stone

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
987 F.2d 469 (1993)

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Facts

Doris Barnes stole a Social Security check worth $368 from her neighbor’s porch. The check was addressed to her neighbor, Oletha Campbell. Barnes took the check to her sister’s house, stated that she needed help cashing it, and offered $100 to anyone who would cash it. Kenneth Stone (defendant) arrived at the house, and Stone’s sister, who was also present, asked him to cash the check. Barnes said she would pay him $100 for his trouble. Stone and Barnes had met a few times before and knew each other by their first names. Stone drove Barnes to Stone’s bank, where Barnes endorsed the check, signing Campbell’s name. Stone did not confirm Barnes’s identity or ask why she signed Campbell’s name. Stone also signed his name as a second endorser. The bank did not ask to see Barnes’s identification. A jury found Stone guilty of knowingly passing, uttering, and publishing a United States Treasury check with a forged signature, and he appealed, arguing that the judge gave the jury an improper instruction on willful blindness. The judge told the jury that Stone could have acted knowingly if they believed he had a strong suspicion that Barnes’s conduct was illegal but shut his eyes to it, also known as an ostrich instruction.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bauer, C.J.)

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