Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Caldwell: Upholding Bank Robbery Convictions Over Various Challenges

In United States v. Caldwell, No. 18-13426 (June 24, 2020) (Hull, Jordan, Tjoflat), the Court affirmed the defendant's bank robbery and firearm convictions.

First, the Court affirmed the denial of a motion to suppress identification evidence from a show-up procedure.  The Court held that, even if the show up was unduly suggestive, the district court did not clearly err in finding the identification to be sufficiently reliable based on the totality of the circumstances.  And the defense thoroughly cross examined the witness on her identification at trial.

Second, the Court rejected the defendant’s argument that there was insufficient evidence to establish the bank’s FDIC-insured status.  After reviewing earlier decisions about the type of evidence required, the Court found the evidence sufficient because, although the FDIC certificate pre-dated the robbery by 17 years, the government also called two witnesses whose testimony indicated that the certificate had never lapsed and remained in effect.   

Third, the Court upheld the denial of a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence that an FBI agent’s DNA testimony deviated from the FBI’s recommended language about likelihood ratios.  The Court concluded that the defendant failed to show that this new evidence would probably produce a different outcome given the other evidence at trial.