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United States v. Shaw

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 15, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Antonio Shaw, also known as Lips, also known as A1, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted March 12, 2014.

Page 919

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Allison Hart Behrens, Dean R. Hoag, Thomas S. Rea, U.S. Attorney's Office, Saint Louis, MO.

For Antonio Shaw, also known as: Lips, also known as: A1, Defendant - Appellant: Tania Aldaddah, John Michael Lynch, John M. Lynch Law Offices, Saint Louis, MO.

Antonio Shaw, also known as: Lips, also known as: A1, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Forrest City, AR.

Before WOLLMAN, MURPHY, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 920

GRUENDER, Circuit Judge.

A jury found Antonio Shaw guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine and marijuana (" Count I" ), in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(b)(1)(C) and 846, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense (" Count II" ), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii). Shaw raises a sufficiency-of-the-evidence argument and challenges his sentence. We affirm the conviction but vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing.

I. Background

Evidence at trial established that Shaw had distributed marijuana in the St. Louis area since he was in high school. On July 22, 2004, members of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (" the police" ) arrested Shaw and, during a search incident to arrest, discovered 19.85 grams of marijuana and $162 in cash. On March 11, 2006, the police stopped Shaw's vehicle for failure to obey a stop sign and found Shaw in possession of 57.58 grams of marijuana packaged in four individual plastic bags and $1,042 in cash. On November 16, 2007, the police arrested Shaw during the execution of a search warrant and found him in possession of .89 grams of crack cocaine, $1,776 in cash, and a fully-loaded 9-mm semiautomatic pistol. The police never discovered user paraphernalia during these arrests. In addition to this evidence, two drug distributors testified that they collectively purchased at least seventy-five pounds of marijuana from Shaw between 2006 and 2008. They also testified that during these drug exchanges, Shaw carried a firearm. A drug-distribution expert opined that Shaw's activities involving marijuana and crack cocaine from 2004 to 2009 were indicative of an intent to distribute. Specifically, the expert cited the lack of user paraphernalia, the multiple single-dosage units packaged for distribution discovered during the March 2006 arrest, the large amounts of cash, Shaw's use of two cellular phones and several vehicles to avoid detection, and Shaw's carrying a firearm for protection. Shaw moved for judgment of acquittal based on insufficiency of the evidence. The district court denied the motion, and the jury found Shaw guilty of both Counts I and II.

In determining Shaw's statutory sentencing range, the district court found that Shaw brandished a firearm in furtherance of his drug-trafficking offense--a finding not made specifically by the jury--and determined that a seven-year mandatory-minimum sentence applied under ยง 924(c)(1)(A)(ii). However, the ...


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