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United States v. Chappell

307 Fed. Appx. 275 (2009)

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United States v. Chappell

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

307 Fed. Appx. 275 (2009)

Facts

The United States government (plaintiff) prosecuted Carey Gilbert Chappell (defendant), a small black man, for robbing a bank in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). At trial, several eyewitnesses described the robber as a small, dark-skinned man wearing dark clothes and a white cloth on his head, with which he covered his face to mask his identity, making eyewitness identification impossible. The eyewitnesses said they saw the robber flee the bank on a bicycle. The robber left no fingerprints or other physical evidence at the crime scene. Three fellow jail inmates testified that Chappell told them about the robbery, describing it in terms that matched the eyewitness accounts of the crime. The remainder of the evidence against Chappell was circumstantial, establishing that: (1) a month before the robbery, Chappell asked a friend to help him rob a bank; (2) when an acquaintance met Chappell near the bank on the day of the robbery, Chappell, who was wearing black with a white cloth on his head, asked if the acquaintance wanted to make some money; (3) the same day, a man found Chappell hiding on his property and Chappell offered him money to drive him out of the neighborhood; (4) that afternoon, Chappell, who before the robbery had no job, no money, and no car, bought a car for $2,500; and (5) Chappell was known to wear black and transport himself by bicycle. The jury convicted Chappell. On appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Chappell challenged the sufficiency of the government's evidence to identify him as the robber.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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