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United States v. Griffith

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 26, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
David Jermaine Griffith, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted: November 14, 2014.

Page 1099

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

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Thomas Calhoun-Lopez, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Minneapolis, MN.

David Jermaine Griffith, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Rochester, MN.

For David Jermaine Griffith, Defendant - Appellant: James E. Ostgard II, Minneapolis, MN.

Before MURPHY, MELLOY, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1100

MELLOY, Circuit Judge.

Police found shotgun parts in a car Appellant David Griffith was driving. A jury convicted Griffith for illegally possessing a firearm as a felon. Griffith asks us to reverse his conviction, asserting the Government did not produce sufficient evidence to show he had knowledge of the firearm in the car. In the alternative, Griffith seeks a new trial because he contends the district court[1] improperly instructed the jury regarding possession. Because there was sufficient evidence of knowledge and because the district court did not improperly instruct the jury, we affirm.

I

David Griffith is a convicted felon, so he is ineligible to possess a firearm. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). At trial, the jury heard the following description of a burglary that took place on June 5, 2013, in Stewartville, Minnesota.

The victim's neighbor noticed someone taking items from the victim's home. The neighbor saw a bald man wearing a red shirt and jeans place a TV and what appeared to be a firearm in the back of a car. The neighbor later identified the man as David Griffith. The neighbor noticed Griffith appeared to be talking to someone else, but the neighbor did not see another person at the victim's home. The neighbor called the victim's work to determine whether the victim knew of Griffith's presence.

The victim believed a crime was taking place. The neighbor gave the victim the license plate number of the car Griffith was driving and told him that the car looked a bit like a silver Toyota Prius. The victim left work and called police, ...


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