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United States v. Uder

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
98 F.3d 1039 (1996)


Facts

The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Scotty Joe Uder and others (codefendants) for operating a chop shop, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2322. Robert Moon and several of the other codefendants, all of whom struck plea bargains with the government, testified against Uder at trial. Moon testified that he and Lloyd Dale Hightower engineered a "body swinging" operation, in which Hightower bought a salvaged 1993 Suburban and cut it up in his auto body shop. Hightower saved the car's frame and vehicle identification number (VIN) tag. Then, Moon stole a 1994 Suburban, took it to the body shop, and hired Uder and Mat Lowrance to modify the body so that it could be mounted on the 1993 Suburban's frame. This would conceal the stolen 1994 car's identify and allow it to be fenced for a substantial profit. Uder and Mat Lowrance completed the body work and transferred the 1993 Suburban's VIN to the rebuilt car. The next day, Uder and Lowrance returned to fix the car's broken distributor, but someone waved them off, apparently because police were nearby. In turn, when Moon arrived, Uder and Lowrance waved him off too. Other former codefendants generally corroborated Moon's testimony. The jury found Uder guilty. On appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Uder argued that there was no direct evidence to prove he knew that the 1994 Suburban was stolen. The government responded that any degree of participation in a chop shop, other than as a customer, is illegal under § 2232.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McMillian, J.)

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