United States v. Eckel, 073018 FED11, 17-12673

Docket Nº:17-12673
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ANDREW ECKEL, Defendant-Appellant.
Judge Panel:Before TJOFLAT, WILLIAM PRYOR, and ANDERSON, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:July 30, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit



ANDREW ECKEL, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 17-12673

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

July 30, 2018


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida D.C. Docket No. 1:15-cr-20918-JLK-1

Before TJOFLAT, WILLIAM PRYOR, and ANDERSON, Circuit Judges.


A grand jury indicted Andrew Eckel on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Eckel was convicted by a jury and sentenced to sixty-three months of imprisonment. He appeals the District Court's ruling on an evidentiary issue and its denial of his motion for a judgment of acquittal. We affirm the decisions of the District Court on both matters.



On November 16, 2015, Officer Anthony Castellanos was patrolling Florida City, Florida in the early morning hours. He was on the lookout for a white vehicle with four doors. Sometime past 2:00 A.M., he saw a vehicle that matched this description and began to follow it. The vehicle came to an immediate halt, and then proceeded slowly forward. Officer Castellanos continued to follow the vehicle, keeping his eyes on the driver. The vehicle took a turn. After making the turn, the driver of the vehicle leveled a revolver at Officer Castellanos and fired three shots. Officer Castellanos dove into the center console of his police cruiser and accelerated past the vehicle. He then made a U-turn, called dispatch to report the gunfire, and pursued the vehicle.

A number of police officers joined in the pursuit. Officer Frantz Hardy was one of them. He was closest to the white vehicle. And as the vehicle approached a trailer park, its driver opened the door and leapt out. Officer Hardy exited his police cruiser and instructed the driver to stop and to get on the ground. The driver did not comply. He instead jumped over a cement wall and ran into the trailer park. Officer Hardy did not pursue the driver. But he did get a clear look at him. He radioed dispatch and described the driver as a Spanish male with a ponytail and a goatee who was approximately five feet and six inches tall. He also stated that the driver was wearing black clothes.

After the driver fled, the police established a perimeter around the trailer park. They also investigated the white car and its surroundings. Outside the driver's side of the car they found a revolver with three spent rounds and a pair of black gloves. Inside the car, they found a ski mask on the driver's seat. The police also discovered an intoxicated woman in the passenger's seat; she declined to identify the driver. The car was dusted for fingerprints.

Later that morning, Officer Anthony Prieto apprehended Andrew Eckel in the trailer park because he matched the description given out in the dispatch. Eckel sported a goatee and wore black shorts and black shoes. He also had a number of tattoos, including one on his neck that read: "Blessed." Eckel did not, however, have a ponytail and he was not five foot and six inches tall. Soon after his apprehension, Eckel was shown to Officer Hardy at the police's command post. Officer Hardy identified Eckel as the man who fled from the white car.


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