Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Brantley: Misprison conviction affirmed

In U.S. v. Brantley, No. 13-12776 (Oct. 9, 2015), the Court affirmed the conviction of a defendant convicted of misprision of a felony, based on having concealed her boyfriend’s crime of being a felon in possession of a firearm (in an incident in which her boyfriend, Morris, shot and killed two police officers). The Court rejected Brantley’s claim that she was selectively prosecuted. A claim of selective prosecution requires a showing that it was motivated by a discriminatory purpose, and that similarly-situated individuals were not prosecuted. The Court rejected Brantley’s reliance on the fact that another person who hosted Morris was not prosecuted, pointing that two were aware of the crime at different times, and Brantley’s affirmative steps to conceal the crime through text messages and phone calls. The Court also noted the prosecution’s discretion to prosecute Brantley, pointing out that her prosecution “publicized the fact that those who conceal evidence about the capital murder of a police officer will be prosecuted.” The Court rejected the argument that her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent was violated by her prosecution, because she was free to remain silent about her own offense of fleeing the scene of a crime. The Court pointed out that Brantley was prosecuted for “affirmative acts of concealment,” not mere silence, acts such as hiding in a car and calling and texting Morris in order to conceal his crime. The Court rejected Brantley’s challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, pointing out that she concealed the car that linked Morris to the unlawful possession of the murder weapon. The Court rejected Brantley’s challenge to the insufficiency of the jury’s special findings, pointing out that a general verdict of guilt sufficed.