U.S. v. Rahman, No. 95-5357

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore WILKINSON, Chief Judge, and HALL and WILKINS; WILKINS
Citation83 F.3d 89
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Tariq A. RAHMAN, a/k/a Ace Johnson, a/k/a Graham Johnson, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date09 May 1996
Docket NumberNo. 95-5357

Page 89

83 F.3d 89
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Tariq A. RAHMAN, a/k/a Ace Johnson, a/k/a Graham Johnson,
Defendant-Appellant.
No. 95-5357.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fourth Circuit.
Argued March 4, 1996.
Decided May 9, 1996.

Page 91

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Richmond. James R. Spencer, District Judge. (CR-95-1).

ARGUED: Steven Dwain Goodwin, Steven D. Benjamin & Associates, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellant. David T. Maguire, United States Attorney's Office, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellee.

Before WILKINSON, Chief Judge, and HALL and WILKINS, Circuit Judges.

Affirmed by published opinion. Judge WILKINS wrote the opinion, in which Chief Judge WILKINSON and Judge HALL joined.

OPINION

WILKINS, Circuit Judge:

Tariq A. Rahman was convicted of six counts of making a false statement in connection with his acquisition of a firearm, see 18 U.S.C.A. § 922(a)(6) (West Supp.1996), and six counts of unlawful possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year, see 18 U.S.C.A. § 922(g)(1) (West Supp.1996). He appeals these convictions, principally arguing that the district court erroneously instructed the jury on an element of a § 922(a)(6) offense and that the evidence was insufficient to support his § 922(g)(1) convictions. We affirm.

I.

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Government, the record demonstrates the following. See Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60, 80, 62 S.Ct. 457, 469, 86 L.Ed. 680 (1942). While executing a search warrant at a Virginia residence, law enforcement officers seized two firearms. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) traced the serial numbers of the firearms and learned that they had been sold by the Virginia Police Equipment Company (VPEC), a local privately-owned business and a federally-licensed firearms dealer.

An inspection of VPEC records disclosed evidence indicating that Rahman had purchased these two firearms as well as four others. For each of these six weapons, VPEC records contained two pertinent documents: (1) a sales receipt listing the date of the transaction and showing Rahman as the purchaser and (2) a Firearms Transaction Record--an ATF form that federal law dictates must be completed prior to all firearm transactions--indicating that Rahman had completed and signed it on the same date as shown on the corresponding receipt. In response to the question on each of these ATF forms asking whether the transferee had been convicted of a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year, Rahman had answered, "No."

The parties stipulated that at the time of all of the sales Rahman was a convicted felon, that he was prohibited from possessing a fire arm, and that he was aware of both of these facts. In addition, the parties stipulated that the firearms had been manufactured outside of Virginia and had travelled in or affected interstate commerce prior to the dates of the sales. Further, defense counsel conceded in his opening statement that Rahman had completed and signed the ATF forms. And, expert testimony confirmed that the handwriting on the ATF forms was Rahman's and that his fingerprints had been discovered on one of them.

To rebut this impressive body of evidence pointing toward his guilt, Rahman argued that he did not reside at the Virginia residence where the two firearms were seized; that no evidence placed him in physical possession of any of the weapons; that he had acted merely as a straw purchaser in the firearm sales and had never taken possession of the weapons; and that federal law enforcement authorities had investigated and prosecuted VPEC for knowingly permitting straw purchasers to complete required ATF forms and purchase firearms in violation of federal law. With respect to this last assertion, the trial testimony revealed that VPEC had been involved in illegal firearm sales to straw purchasers, but no evidence was presented indicating that Rahman's purchases were related to VPEC's unlawful activities.

Page 92

II.

The Fifth and Sixth Amendments guarantee that "criminal convictions [will] rest upon a jury determination that the defendant is guilty of every element of the crime with which he is charged, beyond a reasonable doubt." United States v. Gaudin, --- U.S. ----, ----, 115 S.Ct. 2310, 2313, 132 L.Ed.2d 444 (1995). Thus, "[t]he Constitution gives a criminal defendant the right to demand that a jury find him guilty of all the elements of the crime with which he is charged." Id. at ----, 115 S.Ct. at 2314. We review de novo the legal question of whether a district court has properly instructed a jury on the statutory elements of an offense. See United States v. Fiel, 35 F.3d 997, 1005 (4th Cir.1994), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 115 S.Ct. 1160, 130 L.Ed.2d 1116 (1995)....

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41 practice notes
  • United States v. Jefferson, No. 09–5130.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • March 29, 2012
    ...whole and in the context of the entire charge, the instructions accurately and fairly state the controlling law.” United States v. Rahman, 83 F.3d 89, 92 (4th Cir.1996).1. As background for our assessment, we identify and discuss the relevant legal principles underlying the parties' conflic......
  • United States v. Gibert, Nos. 10–4848
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • April 20, 2012
    ...the scienter requirement of the animal fighting statute presents an issue of law, which we review de novo. See United States v. Rahman, 83 F.3d 89, 92 (4th Cir.1996). In support of his scienter argument, Gibert relies almost exclusively on our decision in United States v. Talebnejad, 460 F.......
  • U.S. v. Ellis, No. 96-4189
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • August 6, 1997
    ...consider de novo whether a district court has properly instructed a jury on the statutory elements of an offense. United States v. Rahman, 83 F.3d 89, 92 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 998, 117 S.Ct. 494, 136 L.Ed.2d 387 (1996). However, "the decision of whether to give a jury instructi......
  • United States v. Whitfield, No. 10–5217.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • August 22, 2012
    ...whole and in the context of the entire charge, the instructions accurately and fairly state the controlling law.” United States v. Rahman, 83 F.3d 89, 92 (4th Cir.1996). On the whole, the contested instruction—advising the jury that “the term forced accompaniment includes[ ] forcing a perso......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • United States v. Jefferson, No. 09–5130.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • March 29, 2012
    ...whole and in the context of the entire charge, the instructions accurately and fairly state the controlling law.” United States v. Rahman, 83 F.3d 89, 92 (4th Cir.1996).1. As background for our assessment, we identify and discuss the relevant legal principles underlying the parties' conflic......
  • United States v. Gibert, Nos. 10–4848
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • April 20, 2012
    ...the scienter requirement of the animal fighting statute presents an issue of law, which we review de novo. See United States v. Rahman, 83 F.3d 89, 92 (4th Cir.1996). In support of his scienter argument, Gibert relies almost exclusively on our decision in United States v. Talebnejad, 460 F.......
  • U.S. v. Ellis, No. 96-4189
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • August 6, 1997
    ...consider de novo whether a district court has properly instructed a jury on the statutory elements of an offense. United States v. Rahman, 83 F.3d 89, 92 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 998, 117 S.Ct. 494, 136 L.Ed.2d 387 (1996). However, "the decision of whether to give a jury instructi......
  • United States v. Whitfield, No. 10–5217.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • August 22, 2012
    ...whole and in the context of the entire charge, the instructions accurately and fairly state the controlling law.” United States v. Rahman, 83 F.3d 89, 92 (4th Cir.1996). On the whole, the contested instruction—advising the jury that “the term forced accompaniment includes[ ] forcing a perso......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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