US v. Antonio Walker

Filing 920100416

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 09-4292 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. ANTONIO DEON WALKER, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Newport News. Robert G. Doumar, Senior District Judge. (4:08-cr-00079-RGD-FBS-1) Submitted: February 25, 2010 Decided: April 16, 2010 Before MOTZ and Circuit Judge. AGEE, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Richard E. Gardiner, Fairfax, Virginia, for Appellant. Robert Edward Bradenham, II, Assistant United States Attorney, Newport News, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Antonio Deon Walker appeals from the 360-month sentence imposed following his jury conviction on one count of conspiracy to obstruct, delay, and affect interstate commerce by robbery, in violation of the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. 1951(a) (2006) ("Count 1"), one count of obstructing, delaying, and affecting interstate commerce by robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1951(a) ("Count 2"), and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1) (2006) ("Count 3"). Walker's counsel filed a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), asserting that there are no meritorious grounds for appeal, but questioning whether the district court abused its discretion in not permitting Walker's counsel to inquire whether a Government witness expected favorable consideration at sentencing in an unrelated state prosecution. Walker filed a pro se supplemental brief, arguing that the Government failed to prove that the alleged robbery affected interstate commerce and questioning the credibility of the witnesses. has not filed a brief. The Government Finding no error, we affirm. "[E]xposure of a witness' motivation in testifying is a proper and important function of the constitutionally protected right of cross-examination." 2 Delaware v. Van Arsdall, 475 U.S. 673, 678-79 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted). However, the district court has "wide latitude insofar as the Confrontation Clause is concerned to impose reasonable limits on such cross-examination harassment, based on concerns confusion about, of the among other the things, prejudice, issues, witness' safety, or interrogation that is repetitive or only marginally relevant." court's limitations Id. at 679. on Thus, we review the district for abuse of cross-examination discretion. Cir. 2002). is United States v. Scheetz, 293 F.3d 175, 184 (4th "The critical an question . to . . is whether a the defendant allowed opportunity examine witness['] subjective understanding of his bargain with the government, for it is this understanding which is of probative value on the issue of bias." Cir. 1996). We find that the district court did not abuse its United States v. Ambers, 85 F.3d 173, 176 (4th discretion in preventing Walker's counsel from questioning the Government murder witness about the details of an unrelated state that investigation. The record clearly demonstrates counsel was given the opportunity to fully question the witness about his deal to cooperate with the Government for favorable consideration as a consequence of his testimony against Walker in the present case. Allowing counsel to delve further into the 3 details of the witness' cooperation in the state murder investigation for favorable consideration at a possible state sentencing would have served no real purpose, as counsel had already established that the witness sought favorable treatment for his cooperation both in the prosecution against Walker and in the unrelated state investigation. In his pro se supplemental brief, Walker argues that the Government failed to prove that the alleged robbery affected interstate witnesses commerce implicating and him questions in the the credibility A jury's of the robbery. verdict "must be sustained if there is substantial evidence, taking the view most favorable to the Government, to support it." Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60, 80 (1942). The court "may not weigh the evidence or review the credibility of the witnesses jury." [because] [t]hose functions are reserved for the United States v. Wilson, 118 F.3d 228, 234 (4th Cir. 1997) (internal citation omitted). A conviction under the Hobbs Act requires the government to prove "(1) the underlying robbery or extortion crime, and (2) an effect on interstate commerce." United However, States v. Williams, 342 F.3d 350, 353 (4th Cir. 2003). "the impact on commerce [may be] small, and it may be shown by proof of probabilities without 4 evidence that any particular commercial movements were affected." 777 F.2d 159, 162 (4th Cir. 1985). United States v. Brantley, The interstate commerce requirement has been broadly interpreted and courts have found it "satisfied even where the effect on interstate commerce is indirect, minimal and less than certain," although the effect must be "reasonably probable." F.2d 1402, 1404 (4th Cir. 1990). United States v. Buffey, 899 Moreover, we have held that "[d]rug dealing . . . is an inherently economic enterprise that affects interstate commerce. For this reason, the robbery of a drug dealer has been found to be the kind of act which satisfies the `affecting commerce' element of the Hobbs Act." 342 F.3d at 355 (internal citation omitted). We conclude that the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the Government, is sufficient to sustain a conviction under the Hobbs Act. The victim, the co-conspirator, Williams, and a witness all testified that Walker was involved in the robbery. Moreover, the victim admitted that he was a known crack dealer, which Walker's co-conspirator confirmed, and that he earned at least some of the cash stolen by selling crack cocaine. Accordingly, we find that the jury's verdict is supported by substantial evidence. In accordance with Anders, we have reviewed the record in this case and have found no meritorious issues for appeal. 5 We therefore affirm the district court's judgment. This court requires that counsel inform Walker, in writing, of his right to petition review. counsel counsel the If Supreme Walker Court of the that a United a States be be for further but requests such this petition would to filed, believes may move that in petition for frivolous, from court leave withdraw representation. Counsel's motion must state that a copy thereof We dispense with oral argument because was served on Walker. the facts and legal conclusions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 6

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