United States v. Pierce, 051118 FED5, 17-20069

Docket Nº:17-20069
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee v. AARON MATTHEW PIERCE Defendant-Appellant
Judge Panel:Before HIGGINBOTHAM, JONES, and SMITH, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:May 11, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit



AARON MATTHEW PIERCE Defendant-Appellant

No. 17-20069

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

May 11, 2018

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas USDC No. 4:16-CR-57-2

Before HIGGINBOTHAM, JONES, and SMITH, Circuit Judges.


Aaron Matthew Pierce appeals his jury trial convictions for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud and aiding and abetting wire fraud. He contends that the district court abused its discretion by declining to include an instruction on multiple conspiracies in its jury charge and that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions.

"A multiple conspiracy charge instructs the jury to acquit if it finds that the defendant was not a member of the indicted conspiracy but rather was involved in another conspiracy." United States v. Cavin, 39 F.3d 1299, 1310 (5th Cir. 1994). Pierce asserts primarily that a multiple-conspiracies instruction was warranted based on the lack of evidence establishing a connection between himself and a coconspirator.

Our review of the record reveals no evidence that Pierce "w[as] only involved in separate conspiracies unrelated to the overall conspiracy charge in the indictment." United States v. Greer, 939 F.2d 1076, 1088 (5th Cir. 1991) (quoting United States v. Anguiano, 873 F.2d 1314, 1317 (9th Cir. 1989)), opinion reinstated in part on reh'g, 968 F.2d 433 (5th Cir. 1992); United States v. Castaneda-Cantu, 20 F.3d 1325, 1334 (5th Cir. 1994). In addition, that the evidence was silent as to Pierce's connection with the coconspirator is irrelevant; in order to establish a single conspiracy, "[i]t is not necessary . . . for all coconspirators to know each other or to have worked together on all phases of the criminal enterprise." United States v. Winship, 724 F.2d 1116, 1122 (5th Cir. 1984). Accordingly, the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to instruct the jury on the theory of multiple conspiracies. See Castaneda-Cantu, 20 F.3d at 1333-34; Greer, 939 F.2d at 1088.

Pierce's arguments that the evidence was insufficient...

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