684 Fed.Appx. 149 (3rd Cir. 2017), 15-1331, United States v. Fredericks

Docket Nº:15-1331, 15-1332, 15-1350, 15-1351
Citation:684 Fed.Appx. 149
Opinion Judge:CHAGARES, J.
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. SHAQUIM FREDERICKS, Appellant in 15-1331 CHEFTON C. NEWTON, Appellant in 15-1332 WARKIM GABRIEL, Appellant in 15-1350 ALVIN THOMAS, Appellant in 15-1351
Attorney:Nelson L. Jones, Esq., Ronald Sharpe, Esq., David W. White, Esq., Office of United States Attorney, St. Thomas, USVI; Ariel M. Smith-Francois, Esq., Office of Attorney General of Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, USVI, For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee (15-1331). Joseph A. DiRuzzo, III...
Judge Panel:CHAGARES, JORDAN, and HARDIMAN, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:April 07, 2017
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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Page 149

684 Fed.Appx. 149 (3rd Cir. 2017)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

v.

SHAQUIM FREDERICKS, Appellant in 15-1331 CHEFTON C. NEWTON, Appellant in 15-1332 WARKIM GABRIEL, Appellant in 15-1350 ALVIN THOMAS, Appellant in 15-1351

Nos. 15-1331, 15-1332, 15-1350, 15-1351

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

April 7, 2017

Submitted under Third Circuit L.A.R. 34.1(a) December 12, 2016

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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NOT PRECEDENTIAL

Editorial Note:

This opinion is not regarded as Precedents which bind the court under Third Circuit Internal Operating Procedure Rule 5.7. (See Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure Rule 32.1)

On Appeal from the District Court of the Virgin Islands. (D.C. Nos. 3:14-cr-00033-001, 004, 002, 003). District Judge: Hon. Curtis V. Gomez.

Nelson L. Jones, Esq., Ronald Sharpe, Esq., David W. White, Esq., Office of United States Attorney, St. Thomas, USVI; Ariel M. Smith-Francois, Esq., Office of Attorney General of Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, USVI, For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee (15-1331).

Joseph A. DiRuzzo, III, Esq., Jeffrey J. Molinaro, Esq., Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph, Miami, FL, For SHAQUIM FREDERICKS, Defendant - Appellant (15-1331).

Nelson L. Jones, Esq., Ronald Sharpe, Esq., David W. White, Esq., Office of United States Attorney, St. Thomas, USVI; Ariel M. Smith-Francois, Esq., Office of Attorney General of Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, USVI, For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee (15-1332).

John-Russell B. Pate, Esq., St. Thomas, USVI; Vanessa-Nola Pratt, Esq., V-Law Group, Washington, DC, For CHEFTON C. NEWTON, Defendant - Appellant (15-1332).

Nelson L. Jones, Esq., Ronald Sharpe, Esq., David W. White, Esq., Office of United States Attorney, St. Thomas, USVI; Ariel M. Smith-Francois, Esq., Office of Attorney General of Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, USVI, For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee (15-1350).

Yohana M. Manning, Esq., Christiansted, USVI, For WARKIM J. GABRIEL, Defendant - Appellant (15-1350).

Nelson L. Jones, Esq., Ronald Sharpe, Esq., David W. White, Esq., Office of United States Attorney, St. Thomas, USVI; Ariel M. Smith-Francois, Esq., Office of Attorney General of Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, USVI, For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee (15-1351).

Omodare B. Jupiter, Esq., Office of Federal Public Defender, Christiansted, USVI; Gabriel J. Villegas, Esq., Office of Federal Public Defender, St. Thomas, USVI; Jenifer Wicks, Esq., Office of Federal Public Defender, Christiansted, USVI, For ALVIN THOMAS (#09468-094), Defendant - Appellant (15-1351).

CHAGARES, JORDAN, and HARDIMAN, Circuit Judges.

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OPINION[*]

CHAGARES, J.

On July 23, 2014, a jury found defendants Shaquim Fredericks (" Fredericks" ), Clifton Newton (" Newton" ), Warkim Gabriel (" Gabriel" ), and Alvin Thomas (" Thomas" ) guilty of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) (Count One); interference with commerce by robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 1951(a) and 2 (Count Two); and conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(o) (Count Four). They timely appealed their convictions on various bases. For the reasons that follow, we will affirm in part and vacate and remand in part.

I.

Because we write exclusively for the parties, we set forth only those facts necessary to our disposition.

The defendants were involved in a March 15, 2014 armed robbery of Imperial Jewelers (" Imperial" ), a jewelry store located in St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands. At approximately 8:15 a.m. on March 15, Fredericks, Gabriel, and Thomas (and others) were observed gathering at Fireburn Hill in white t-shirts. At approximately 9:40 a.m., the Virgin Islands Police Department (" VIPD" ) received a 911 call that seven individuals wearing black clothing, black gloves, and black masks were running to Imperial Jewelers. The individuals entered Imperial, and while some of them held customers and employees at gunpoint, others smashed display cases and took jewelry. The individuals were in the jewelry store for less than one minute.

The alarm at Imperial was activated during the robbery. Shortly thereafter, the dispatcher called over the radio that there was an armed robbery in progress and a suspect was fleeing toward Back Street. Another radio call reported that a suspect was heading toward Vester Gade. A third call conveyed that several suspects were fleeing toward Fireburn Hill. At approximately 10:00 a.m., several gunshots were heard coming from the Fireburn Hill area.

Officer Derek Greaves responded to one dispatch and proceeded to Fireburn Hill. On Fireburn Hill, he saw a young, black male, later identified to be Thomas, exiting the bushes. Officer Greaves ordered Thomas to the ground, and Thomas complied. Officer Dora Lyn Theda-Charles (" Officer Charles" ) was also on the scene.

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She handcuffed Thomas and took him to her vehicle. Before he was placed in the vehicle he was given warnings pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). Thomas told Officer Charles that he couldn't breathe. Officer Charles rolled down the windows but left Thomas in the car for over an hour. Officer Charles then transported Thomas to the police precinct for booking.

Detective Charles Gumbs also responded to one of the radio dispatches. As he entered the " Savan gut" area, he observed " several black males, all dressed in black" who fled as soon as they saw him. Gabriel Appendix (" Gabriel App." ) 272:7-9. He pursued them and eventually ended up in the Catherineberg area. He entered the bushes and found two individuals not named in this case crouching or laying in the bushes. They were wearing dark clothes and were missing their shoes. They appeared to be very sweaty and out of breath. The individuals were both arrested. Detective Gumbs and another officer, Officer Lester Stout proceeded to search the bushes, and Detective Gumbs came upon another individual, later identified to be Newton. Detective Gumbs ordered Newton to raise his hands and, after Newton did so, Detective Gumbs called for Officer Stout over the radio. Officer Stout responded, conducted a pat-down search, and secured Newton. Detective Gumbs continued his search of the area and came upon a pair of gloves, which Newton denied were his. Dark clothing was also found in close proximity to where Newton was hiding. When he was found, Newton did not have shoes on, but shoes were found nearby. At trial, Detective Gumbs testified that Newton was wearing dark clothing when he was found. However, Newton was in fact wearing a white t-shirt. After Newton and the two other individuals were secured, Detective Gumbs returned to the area where he had apprehended the suspects and collected evidence including socks, gloves, masks, shoes, other clothes, bags, jewelry, a firearm, and display racks from the jewelry store.

Officer Joycelyn Lee-Bobb (" Officer Lee-Bobb" ) also responded to the robbery. She observed " at least five black males" running on Norre Gade. Gabriel App. 221:4. She then pursued two individuals in the direction of Fireburn Hill. These individuals were later identified as Gabriel and Fredericks. While in pursuit, Officer Lee-Bobb realized that she did not have her radio, so she returned to her vehicle to report her location.

Officers Daryl Donovan and Erecedo Lindquist found Gabriel and Fredericks in a shanty in the Catherineberg area. They had responded to the report of the robbery and were tracking suspects with a K-9 search dog. In addition to leading them to Gabriel and Fredericks, the K-9 also located bags, handbags, shirts, pants, gloves, and sneakers.

All of the defendants were transported to the police station. The booking process began at approximately 3:00 p.m. and concluded at approximately 4:00 p.m. During this time, Thomas told Detective Sehkera Tyson that he wanted to make a statement about the robbery but wanted to do so out of the presence of the other suspects. At 3:06 p.m., Detective Tyson advised him of his rights and provided him with a form detailing his rights. He executed the form, indicating that he had read the statement, that it had been read to him, and that he understood his rights. Thomas was then taken to an interview room. At 4:26 p.m., Detectives Sophia Rashid and Nigel James again advised Thomas of his Miranda rights. They also provided him with a form outlining his rights, which he executed. He also executed a waiver forgoing his right to

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an attorney. At no point did Thomas ask for a lawyer.

Thomas then provided a statement incriminating himself and his co-defendants. The statement provided, in pertinent part: The eight...

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