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United States v. Conway

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

June 10, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Anthony Conway, also known as Tone Tone, Defendant - Appellant; United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Kendall Robinson, also known as K-Rob, also known as Dice, Defendant - Appellant; United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Excell James Randolph, also known as Ism, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted, December 17, 2013

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Appeal from United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa - Davenport.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee (12-3809, 12-3974, 13-1129): Clifford R. Cronk, Assistant U.S. Attorney, John D. Keller, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Davenport, IA; Maureen McGuire, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Des Moines, IA.

Anthony Conway, also known as: Tone Tone, Defendant - Appellant (12-3809), Pro se, Memphis, TN.

For Anthony Conway, also known as: Tone Tone, Defendant - Appellant (12-3809): Andrew Michael Larson, Moline, IL.

For Kendall Robinson, also known as: K-Rob, also known as: Dice, Defendant - Appellant (12-3974): John D. Jacobsen, Jacobsen & Johnson, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Kendall Robinson, also known as: K-Rob, also known as: Dice, Defendant - Appellant (12-3974), Pro se, Newton, IA.

Excell James Randolph, also known as: Ism, Defendant - Appellant (13-1129), Pro se, Inez, KY.

For Excell James Randolph, also known as: Ism, Defendant - Appellant (13-1129): Eric D. Tindal, Nidey & Peterson, Williamsburg, IA.

Before BYE, BRIGHT, and SMITH, Circuit Judges. BRIGHT, Circuit Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

OPINION

Page 585

SMITH, Circuit Judge

The government indicted 12 individuals connected to a crack-cocaine distribution network in Clinton, Iowa. The indictment alleged various drug and weapons charges. Three of those individuals proceeded to trial and were convicted. Those three individuals now appeal.

A grand jury indicted Anthony Conway, Kendall Robinson, and Excell James Randolph each with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of crack and cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 846, 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), and 841(b)(1)(C). After a six-day trial, a jury found each defendant guilty. Each defendant now challenges the sufficiency of the evidence used to support his conviction. Robinson also challenges the sufficiency of the evidence that supported the jury's guilty verdict as to his various weapons charges. Robinson and Randolph also challenge the district court's[1] denial of their request to provide a " buyer-seller" instruction. Finally, Randolph contends that the district court erred by denying his request to provide a preliminary instruction concerning multiple conspiracies. We affirm.

I. Background

When reviewing a jury's verdict, " [t]his court views the entire record in the light most favorable to the government, resolves all evidentiary conflicts accordingly, and accepts all reasonable inferences supporting the jury's verdict." United States v. Boesen, 491 F.3d 852, 856 (8th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted).

From 2008-2011, several individuals formed a loose-knit crack-cocaine distribution network in Clinton, Iowa. The lead distributor was a group calling itself the " Co-op." The Co-op consisted of four individuals--John Lewis, Tavares Jones, Thomas Kitt, and Jonathan Spates. Spates was a drug supplier from Rockford, Illinois. Lewis and Jones began traveling to Rockford in early 2010 to purchase substantial quantities of crack and powder

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cocaine from Spates. Lewis and Jones then returned to Clinton for distribution. Kitt later joined Lewis and Jones in pooling their money to purchase crack from Spates for distribution in Clinton. Lewis testified that " [t]he Co-op [was] just like a group of guys that everybody else is coming to buy drugs from." Spates later began traveling to Clinton to distribute crack with Lewis, Jones, and Kitt.

A second important group within the conspiracy consisted of individuals who relocated to Clinton from Chicago, Illinois, to sell crack. Randolph left Chicago and began distributing crack in Sioux City, Iowa. One of Randolph's childhood acquaintances from Chicago, Carley Campbell, recruited Randolph to Clinton by emphasizing the potential for increased profits and decreased violence. Randolph agreed to relocate to Clinton. Because Randolph was unfamiliar with many of Clinton's residents, he distributed crack to other dealers, including Campbell. Randolph recruited other Chicago and Sioux City acquaintances to Clinton for the purposes of crack distribution.

Finally, the network included a third group consisting of low-level crack users who bought from distributors. Many of these users allowed distributors to use their residences as distribution points in exchange for money or crack. Conway, Robinson, and Randolph each distributed crack out of these residences on occasion.

Conway, Randolph, and Robinson knew each other through this network. Upon traveling to Clinton, Spates met Conway and began distributing crack and powder cocaine directly to him. Lewis also testified that he sold crack to Conway. Kitt sold crack to Randolph " on numerous occasions." Meanwhile, Conway and Randolph befriended each other soon after Randolph moved to Clinton. They developed an arrangement where, if either party had little or no crack to distribute and needed money, the other party would provide crack to him. Conway also referred his customers to Randolph when Conway had no crack to distribute. Finally, they often sold crack from the same location and converted powder cocaine to crack cocaine together.

Lewis also supplied Robinson with crack and powder cocaine. Lewis testified that Robinson " purchased drugs from me on numerous occasions." Robinson accompanied Lewis, Jones, and Kitt to Rockford at least once to purchase crack. Robinson formed a distribution relationship with Thomas Brown, a Clinton dealer. Robinson " fronted" [2] crack to Brown, who then distributed the crack to users. ...


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