1 F.3d 735 (8th Cir. 1993), 92-3104, United States v. Gayles

Docket Nº:92-3104.
Citation:1 F.3d 735
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Timothy A. GAYLES, also known as Timothy Moore, also known as Charles Lee Moore, Appellant.
Case Date:August 25, 1993
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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1 F.3d 735 (8th Cir. 1993)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Timothy A. GAYLES, also known as Timothy Moore, also known

as Charles Lee Moore, Appellant.

No. 92-3104.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 25, 1993

Submitted March 17, 1993.

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C. Peter Erlinder, St. Paul, MN, argued for appellant.

Joan Ericksen Lancaster, Asst. U.S. Atty., Minneapolis, MN, argued, for appellee.

Before FAGG, Circuit Judge, and LAY and HEANEY, Senior Circuit Judges.

FAGG, Circuit Judge.

Timothy A. Gayles appeals his conviction and sentence for kidnaping Maureen Shook in October 1991. See 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1201 (1988). We affirm Gayles's conviction, but remand for resentencing.

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This case arises from the abusive relationship between Gayles and Shook. The couple met in 1984 and had two children together. During the course of their relationship, Gayles beat Shook and she obtained restraining orders. After Shook got help at a battered women's shelter for the fourth time, she decided to break off her relationship with Gayles. Shook refused to take Gayles's telephone calls and boarded up her apartment so he could not break in. Nevertheless, Gayles confronted Shook inside a grocery store while she was shopping with her roommate and younger son. Gayles talked with Shook then left the store. When Shook approached her car in the parking lot, however, Gayles ran up to her and grabbed her by her neck and hair. Shook threw her car keys to her roommate, but Gayles retrieved the keys and pushed Shook into her car. Their child was in the back seat. Gayles punched Shook several times, hitting her in the face, back of the head, lips, and nose. One blow knocked Shook's glasses off her face and bent them. Gayles sped out of the parking lot. He told Shook he was going to hit her and put her into the hospital. Gayles also stated he was taking her to Chicago and he was going to kill himself. In an effort to intimidate Shook, Gayles told her a story about a man who had killed his child because he was angry with his wife. Gayles did not stop the car until they crossed the state line into Wisconsin. Gayles then stopped at a gas station and told Shook to clean the blood off her face. He later stopped at a grocery store and, leery of leaving Shook in the car alone, took her inside. Once Shook saw several male employees inside the store, she decided to try to escape. She ran down the aisles screaming for help, with Gayles in hot pursuit. According to store employees, she looked terrified. The employees tried to stop Gayles, but he eluded them and got away in Shook's car.

During the first two days of the trial, the jury heard the testimony of Shook and two government witnesses who saw the initial abduction. Between the second and third days of trial, the judge became ill. Another judge familiarized himself with the proceedings and stated his intent to proceed with the trial under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 25. Gayles moved for a one-day continuance to see if the original judge would recover and return. The new judge denied Gayles's motion for a continuance because he was satisfied the original judge would not be able to return within a day. The new judge also denied Gayles's motion for a mistrial. Two days later, testimony ended. A jury found Gayles guilty of kidnaping. Because Gayles was a career offender under the sentencing guidelines, the minimum guidelines sentence was thirty years' imprisonment. The district court imposed the minimum sentence. A few days after sentencing, Gayles and Shook married. Gayles moved for a new trial based on Shook's alleged recantation of her trial testimony. Finding the information contained in Shook's affidavits probably would not result in an acquittal on a new trial, the original judge denied the motion and Gayles's request for a hearing on the motion.

Gayles asserts the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion for a new trial, based on Shook's "recantation of her testimony regarding the involuntariness of her association with [Gayles] on the day of the alleged kidnapping." See United States v. McCabe, 812 F.2d 1060, 1061 (8th Cir.) (victim's lack of consent is a fundamental element of kidnaping), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 832, 108 S.Ct. 108, 98 L.Ed.2d 67 (1987). A motion for a new trial based on recanted testimony should be granted if, among other things, the recantation would probably produce an acquittal on a new trial. United States v. Provost, 921 F.2d 163, 164 (8th Cir.1990) (per curiam), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 1603, 113 L.Ed.2d 666 (1991); Lewis v. Erickson, 946 F.2d 1361, 1362 (8th Cir.1991).

Gayles mischaracterizes the content of Shook's affidavits. Shook does not state she willingly went with Gayles to Wisconsin and does not contradict her trial testimony about what happened. Instead, Shook states in her first affidavit that she does not believe the events she testified about at trial establish a kidnaping and that she thinks Gayles's sentence is too long. Shook's subjective beliefs about the appropriateness of the charge or sentence, however, are irrelevant. Shook

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states in a supplementary affidavit that after she told Gayles she wanted to go back to Minnesota, Gayles agreed to return. By this time, however, Gayles had already taken Shook into Wisconsin without her consent, and thus, the crime was already complete. Shook also states in the supplementary affidavit that Gayles never held her for ransom. Ransom, however, is not a requirement of the kidnaping statute, see 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1201 (1988) (unlawfully seized person must be held "for ransom or reward or otherwise"), and Gayles was not charged with holding Shook for ransom. See McCabe, 812 F.2d at 1062-63 (Congress added "or otherwise" to extend the statute to persons held "for any other reason"). In short, the jury was properly instructed about the charge and nothing in the posttrial submissions casts doubt on the jury's finding that Gayles took Shook against her will from Minnesota to Wisconsin for his own purposes. Thus, the information in Shook's affidavits would probably not produce an acquittal on a new trial.

Even if Shook had said she consented to go to Wisconsin with Gayles, disinterested witnesses testified about Shook's abduction by Gayles from the grocery store in Minnesota, her terror in trying to escape in the Wisconsin store, and her bruised face. Thus, a statement by Shook that she voluntarily went to Wisconsin with Gayles would be inconsistent with the independent evidence in this case.

We disagree with Gayles's assertion that the district court abused its discretion in denying him a hearing on his new trial motion. A new trial motion based on recanted testimony can usually be decided without a hearing. United States v. Provost, 969 F.2d 617, 619 (8th Cir.1992), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 113 S.Ct. 986, 122 L.Ed.2d 139 (1993). The judge who decided Gayles's new trial motion heard Shook testify at trial, and thus, the judge did not abuse his discretion in declining to conduct a hearing. Id. at 619-20.

Gayles also contends the district court should have granted his motion for a mistrial because the original judge became ill during the trial and another judge was substituted. If a trial judge becomes sick and is unable to proceed after a criminal jury trial has started, another judge may proceed with and finish the trial if the judge certifies familiarity with the record. Fed.R.Crim.P. 25(a). In our view, the plain language of Rule 25 permits the substitution in this case. See United States v. Sisk, 629 F.2d 1174, 1179 (6th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1084, 101 S.Ct. 871, 66 L.Ed.2d 809 (1981). The first trial judge became seriously ill and would not be able to return to the courtroom following a reasonable continuance. The new judge certified his familiarity with the record, and went out of his way to avoid potential problems that might arise because of the substitution. Even if the substitution were erroneous, it would be harmless because Gayles does not assert how the substitution prejudiced him. Gayles appeals no evidentiary decisions, and the original judge, who heard Shook's testimony, ruled on Gayles's motion for a new trial based on Shook's alleged recantation.

Next, Gayles asserts his right to be present at all stages of his trial was violated when the jury was selected in his absence from the courtroom during a lunch recess. See Fed.R.Crim.P. 43(a). We disagree. Gayles was present in the courtroom while the potential jurors were questioned. Although Gayles was absent later when his attorney made his strikes over the lunch hour, the cover of the jury voir dire transcript shows Gayles was present in the courtroom when the clerk gave the strikes effect by reading off the list of jurors who had not been stricken. Gayles does not present any affidavit to the contrary. Under controlling precedent, Gayles was sufficiently present at the jury's impaneling to satisfy Rule 43 and the Constitution. United States v. Chrisco, 493 F.2d 232, 236-37 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 847, 95 S.Ct. 84, 42 L.Ed.2d 77 (1974).

Gayles contends his right to a fair trial was prejudiced when a juror saw him in shackles in an area near the courtroom during jury deliberations and the district court held no hearing to determine the impact. Gayles forfeited this issue by explicitly rejecting the district court's invitation to move

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for a mistrial or a hearing. We thus lack discretion to reverse on this ground unless the district court...

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