Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, August 05, 2011

Langford: Upholding Bribery Convictions of former Birmingham mayor

In U.S. v. Langford, No. 10-11076 (Aug. 5, 2011), the Court (Marcus, Anderson, Mills b.d.) affirmed the convictions of a former Jefferson County, Alabama County Commissioner, and Mayor of Birmingham.

The Court rejected challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting convictions of using the mail and wires to deprive the public of honest services. The Court found that Langford accepted bribes, which he did not disclose, and used the mails and wires to execute his scheme.

The Court also rejected a challenge to the district court’s refusal to redact the reference to Langford’s “gambling winnings” in his tax returns, noting, inter alia, that one might draw an inference that he was a law-abiding citizen from his dutiful report of these winnings.

The Court also rejected the argument that business records should not have been admitted, because the bank custodian had no personal knowledge of the documents. It sufficed that the custodian could testify that the documents were kept in the regular course of business.

The Court further rejected Langford’s challenge to the district court’s denial of his request for a change of venue. The Court noted that the trial occurred in Tuscaloosa, not in Birmingham or Jefferson County. The Court found no evidence of “rampant pretrial publicity.”