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United States v. Chappell

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 11, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Arthur James Chappell, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted October 8, 2014

Page 873

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - St. Paul.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Lisa D. Kirkpatrick, Assistant U.S. Attorney, James Lackner, U.S. Attorney's Office, Saint Paul, MN; David P. Steinkamp, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Arthur James Chappell, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Inez, KY.

For Arthur James Chappell, Defendant - Appellant: Gary R. Wolf, Wolf Law Office, Minneapolis, MN.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, SMITH and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 874

RILEY, Chief Judge.

On September 15, 2010, a jury convicted Arthur James Chappell of sex trafficking an underage female in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591 based on his recruitment and prostitution of CB, a seventeen-year-old high school student. See United States v. Chappell, 665 F.3d 1012, 1013-14 (8th Cir. 2012). Exercising our discretion on appeal to notice plain error in one of the jury instructions, see Fed. R. Crim. P. 52(b), we " reverse[d] and remand[ed] for a new trial." Chappell, 665 F.3d at 1015. On remand, the government secured an eleven-count superseding indictment, charging Chappell with sex trafficking CB and AW, another underage female prostitute; possessing and producing child pornography; and various prostitution transportation charges. Claiming vindictive prosecution, Chappell moved to dismiss all but the original count of sex trafficking. After the district court[1] denied the motion, a second jury convicted Chappell on all counts. Chappell again appeals, and we affirm.[2]

I. BACKGROUND

In June 2007, the Bloomington, Minnesota, Police Department received a complaint from the manager of a local hotel who suspected prostitution was occurring in a room registered to Chappell. Already suspicious of the scantily clad young women she saw staying in the room and the large volume of male visitors daily, the manager called the police after identifying one of her hotel rooms in what she believed was an illicit personal advertisement on Craigslist.

Acting on the manager's complaint, Detective Judson Broen identified similar advertisements on the erotic services and adult sections of Craigslist and the website Backpage. The ads depicted young women suspected of performing acts of prostitution in the area, including at least one young woman seen occupying Chappell's room. As part of the investigation, the police interviewed the hotel staff and began conducting surveillance at the hotel from an unmarked vehicle.

On June 20, 2007, Detective Broen observed Chappell enter the hotel parking lot in a silver Dodge Durango. Three young women exited Chappell's vehicle and entered the hotel through a side entrance. Detective Broen recognized two of the three from photographs in the illicit advertisements. Detective Broen followed the Durango as it left the hotel, confirmed

Page 875

Chappell was driving, and arranged for a marked vehicle to stop Chappell. After Detective Broen and a uniformed officer arrested and searched Chappell and his passenger, another officer impounded and searched the Durango. The officers seized $5,738 in cash, false identification for Chappell, the credit card used to pay for the hotel room, and a " trick note" --a piece of paper containing the aliases of prostitutes in the case, dollar amounts, and the names and contact information of their customers.

The police released Chappell, but the investigation continued. On July 3, 2007, a team of officers executed a search warrant at a private residence Chappell rented. Chappell, CB, and two other suspected prostitutes were there. The police seized $3,811 in cash and additional evidence of prostitution, including a digital camera and laptop computers containing pornographic images of CB and others.

On May 19, 2009, a grand jury indicted Chappell for sex trafficking CB knowing she was a minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591. Before trial, Chappell moved to suppress the evidence seized following his June 20, 2007, arrest. Adopting the report and recommendation of the magistrate judge, the district court denied Chappell's motions.

At trial, CB initially struggled to identify Chappell, but later testified he persuaded her to prostitute for him despite knowing she was just seventeen. CB reported Chappell often picked up CB and AW, then just sixteen, from high school and took them to the hotel to work as prostitutes--CB's testimony was corroborated by other witnesses. On cross-examination, CB admitted she had lied to Chappell and the police, but maintained Chappell had been her pimp knowing she was just seventeen.

The jury found Chappell guilty on September 15, 2010. Chappell moved for a new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court denied the motion, explaining Chappell's trial counsel had been very effective, particularly with respect to impeaching CB's and AW's credibility. On March 16, 2011, the district court entered judgment and sentenced Chappell to 336 months imprisonment. Chappell appealed, and this court reversed and remanded for a new trial based on a faulty jury instruction. See Chappell, 665 F.3d at 1015.

On remand, a second grand jury--at the request of a different prosecutor--returned an eleven-count superseding indictment against Chappell, charging additional crimes against different victims. In addition to charging Chappell with sex trafficking CB in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591, the superseding indictment charged Chappell with sex trafficking AW (count 2); possessing and conspiring to possess child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B), (b)(2) (counts 3 and 4); conspiring to produce child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a), (e) (count 5); enticing and transporting HB and RN to engage in prostitution in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 2422(a), 2421, and 2 ...


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