Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, June 01, 2015

Perkins: Defendant clogged the gears of justice

In U.S. v. Perkins, No. 13-13444 (June 1, 2015), the Court affirmed the convictions and sentence of a defendant charged with a credit card fraud scheme. The Court declined to review Perkins’ claim that the district court forced appointed counsel on him, and held a trial in his absence in violation of Fed. R. Crim. P. 43, because Perkins invited any error. The Court found that Perkins tried to “sabotage” the criminal proceedings by refusing to leave his holding cell for trial, and became violent when the district judge came to see him to persuade him to come to the courtroom. The Court also rejected the claim that Perkins was not competent to stand trial, citing recorded phone conversations from jail in which Perkins discussed how he could use Rule 43 to avoid a conviction. The Court rejected the argument that a photo array was unduly suggestive because Perkins was the only man in the lineup with gold teeth, finding this fact alone did not make the lineup unduly suggestive. Turning to sentencing, the Court rejected Perkins’ challenge to the two-level obstruction of justice enhancement: “Mr. Perkins willfully set out to clog the gears of the judicial process.” The Court rejected a substantive reasonableness challenge to the 360-month sentence, noting that the scheme involved hundreds of fraudulent credit cards and more than 100,000 account profiled that claimed hundreds of victims. “Mr. Perkins presents a danger to society.”