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United States v. Scott

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

October 22, 2013

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
Michael K. SCOTT, Defendant-Appellant.

Submitted: April 11, 2013.

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William C. Kenney, Bill Kenney Law Firm, LLC, Kansas City, MO, argued, for appellant.

Bruce E. Clark, Asst. U.S. Atty., Kansas City, MO, argued (Tammy Dickinson, U.S. Atty., on the brief), for appellee.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, BRIGHT and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

RILEY, Chief Judge.

A jury convicted Michael K. Scott of two counts of bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), (d); two counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 924(c); and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). The district court [1] sentenced Scott to concurrent sentences of life imprisonment on each of the convictions for using a firearm during a crime of violence to be served consecutively to 115-month concurrent sentences on the remaining three counts. Scott appeals, and we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

On February 3, 2010, a grand jury in the Western District of Missouri indicted Scott on seven counts. Counts one and two (bank robbery and using a firearm during a crime of violence, respectively) related to the September 2, 2008, robbery of the Bank Midwest in Kansas City, Missouri. Counts three and four (also bank robbery and using a firearm during a crime of violence, respectively) related to the June 19, 2009, robbery of the Valley View Bank in Kansas City, Missouri. Counts five and six (same) related to the January 27, 2010, robbery of the Commerce Bank in Parkville, Missouri. Count seven charged Scott with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

A. Bank Robberies

The three bank robberies followed the same script. Unfortunately for Scott, that script ended with a police chase, an arrest, and a life sentence. In each robbery, a group of masked men burst into a Kansas City-area bank brandishing guns, ordered everyone in the bank to lie down, and forced a bank employee to open the vault. After emptying the vault, the men made their getaway in a stolen vehicle. The men returned to a public location near the bank where a previously parked, non-stolen car awaited them, ditched the stolen vehicle, and drove off in a car the police would have no reason to suspect— or so the culprits thought.

But the robbers repeatedly gave themselves away. In the first robbery, rather than not mentioning anyone's name or strictly referring to each other by an alias, one of the men told the shortest of their bunch " Mike, c'mon. Let's go." (Emphasis added). Michael Scott is 5'4" . Then, Scott and the other robbers abandoned the stolen vehicle under the eyes of surveillance cameras, which recorded them dropping off Scott's Jaguar and driving away in

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the stolen vehicle shortly before the robbery and then returning and driving off in the Jaguar shortly after the robbery. As they sped away, the Jaguar cut-off a driver who was friends with a local police officer. The driver was suspicious because he observed one of the men in the car changing clothes, so he noted the Jaguar's license plate number and called his police officer friend, who immediately notified the officers investigating the nearby bank robbery. The Jaguar license plate number check identified Scott. By the end of the day, Scott's Jaguar was in FBI custody. In the car, officers found a dark mask containing Scott's DNA.

Scott went to retrieve his car from the FBI, and while he waited in the lobby (not in custody) he struck up a conversation with an FBI agent— about bank robberies. Explaining he knew about bank robbery because one of his neighbors had robbed banks, Scott told the FBI agent he " wouldn't drive his vehicle, his personal vehicle, a foreign made Jaguar up in front of a bank and go in and rob the bank." Only a " youngster" would do that, Scott said. Instead, Scott explained he would " steal a vehicle" and " drive up to the bank" in that stolen vehicle.

In the second robbery, the men removed their masks as they drove away from the bank in a stolen van. This allowed a woman standing in the parking lot to see their faces as they drove by. The woman, Sandra Herdler, told police the van's license plate number and later identified Scott as the van's driver and Claude White, who later pled guilty to robbing the bank, as the passenger.

In the third robbery, Scott took money containing a tracking device, and local police immediately were able to follow him. Scott led police on a high-speed chase through a residential area, driving through yards, a field, and a fence before coming to a stop at a terrace embankment. Kansas City, Missouri, police officer Larry White arrested Scott. In Scott's vehicle, ...


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