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United States v. Burton

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
126 F.3d 666 (1997)


Facts

The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Joshua Burton and Quinton Carr (defendants) for attempted bank robbery, and for conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. The federal district court trial evidence indicated that Burton and his cousin Wilton Burton (Wilton), who was also Carr's brother, tried but failed to rob a bank at around 2:30 p.m. on December 21, 1994. A witness saw the men flee in a blue car. Shortly thereafter, the police found Carr's abandoned blue Pontiac nearby, with its engine still running. That evening, Carr called the police and reported the Pontiac as stolen. Christopher Spooner testified that Carr parked his Pontiac outside Spooner's apartment building, where it remained until December 21; that he saw Wilton and Carr leave the building together early on December 21; that two weeks earlier he overheard Wilton and Carr discuss robbing a bank; that Wilton told Spooner that although Carr was not involved in the robbery, the Burtons used Carr's vehicle to escape from the bank; and that Wilton told Burton that Carr intended to make a false stolen-car report. Rita Gwen testified that Carr picked her up at noon on December 21, driving Burton's Lexus. Carr dropped her off around 1:00 p.m., but picked her up in the Lexus again around 3:00 p.m., this time accompanied by Wilton. The jury convicted both Burton and Carr. On appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Carr argued that the evidence proved only that he was associated with the Burtons and aware of their criminal activity, but not that he conspired with Burton or participated in the attempted robbery.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Duhé, J.)

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