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United States v. Gorman

July 28, 2010


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 1:08-cr-0156-Sarah Evans Barker, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kanne, Circuit Judge


Before KANNE, ROVNER, and TINDER, Circuit Judges.

Jamarkus Gorman was convicted of perjury after testifying falsely before a grand jury. He now challenges both the basis for his perjury conviction and the admission of evidence at his trial. We affirm.


In June 2007, federal law enforcement agents began investigating the drug activities of Jermoine Gorman.*fn1 After Jermoine was arrested for drug trafficking, federal officials obtained and executed a search warrant at Jermoine's Indianapolis residence in conjunction with that arrest. During this search, they discovered a lease in the name of "J. Gorman" for a condominium located in an exclusive gated community, Lion's Gate Condominium Complex, along with keys to and pictures of a Bentley. After contacting the complex, officials discovered that the lease was actually in Appellant Jamarkus Gorman's name.

Intending to seize the Bentley as proceeds of Jermoine's illegal drug activity, officials arranged to meet Jamarkus at the Lion's Gate complex the following day. After explaining to Jamarkus that his cousin had been arrested and that they were looking for proceeds of drug trafficking, including the Bentley, Jamarkus consented to a search of his condominium unit. While searching his condominium, officials asked Jamarkus if he was aware of a Bentley belonging to Jermoine that was stored in the complex's garage. Jamarkus said that he was unaware of any Bentley, let alone one stored in the basement garage.

Upon completion of their search of the condominium unit, Jamarkus escorted the officials to the basement garage. The garage was designed so that one wall was composed of tandem parking spots and the opposite wall was comprised of single parking spots. Dividing the wall of tandem spots into two was an enclosed section containing the mailroom, a storage space, the elevator bank, and the elevator equipment room.

Jamarkus led the officials to the garage via the elevator. When they emerged, Jamarkus pointed out what he said were his assigned parking spots, referring generally to the areas covered by spots 20 through 22. Unsurprisingly, those spots were vacant. Their investigation concluded, the officials left empty-handed.

Unbeknownst to the officials, however, was the fact that Jamarkus actually utilized tandem spots 31A and B-spots which were located on the other side of the division created by the elevator bank and which were not visible from the location of spots 20 through 22.*fn2 In fact, on the day that the officials searched the complex, the Bentley was parked against the wall in parking spot 31 and in front of it was parked an Expedition.*fn3

Later that same afternoon, a Friday, condominium maintenance technician Kevin McCray saw Jamarkus fiddling with the trunk of the Bentley. Jamarkus explained to McCray that he had locked his keys in the trunk. When McCray returned to work the following Monday, the Bentley was gone, leaving in its place only an oil spill on the floor where the car had once been.

Law enforcement officials later determined that over the weekend preceding discovery of the car's disappearance, Jamarkus had enlisted the help of a handful of individuals in removing the Bentley from the garage. These individuals were Chavis Taylor; two tow truck drivers, Tyrone Whitson and Suglett Miller; two crooked Indianapolis police officers, Jason Edwards and Robert Long; and an individual known only as "J-Rock."

On the day of the theft, Jamarkus led all of the participants to the garage, using the key pad to enter. He instructed the men to pour oil onto the floor to allow the Bentley's tires to slide; the men complied with Jamarkus's direction, wenching the Bentley from the garage floor to the bed of a flatbed wrecker. They covered the Bentley and removed it from the condominimum garage. Taylor, Edwards, and Long escorted the Bentley to Whitson's automotive shop. At the shop, Jamarkus explained that he needed to retrieve an ID from the car and two bags from the trunk. The men then cut the soft top to access the car and pried open the trunk. The bags were removed and given to Jamarkus. Then Edwards and Long paid Miller, Whitson, and J-Rock $1,000 to $5,000 each. The men paid Taylor $10,000 for his involvement. Taylor was sure that his payment had come from money contained in the bags seized from the Bentley, and later claimed to have been told that the bags contained approximately $100,000. The men then took the Bentley to a parking lot and abandoned it. Law enforcement officers discovered the abandoned car the ensuing Monday morning.

Following these events, and in an unrelated investigation, Internal Revenue Service Agent Eric White began investigating a money laundering scheme perpetrated by Jermoine. Jermoine and two other individuals were later charged with money laundering. As part of the indictment process, Jamarkus was required to testify before a grand jury. During the course of Jamarkus's testimony, he was questioned about his residence at Lion's Gate. He was also questioned about the Bentley.

Jamarkus began his testimony by acknowledging that he had heard rumors that Jermoine owned a Bentley but that he had never seen the car. Grand jurors then proceeded to question Jamarkus about the presence of a Bentley in his Lion's Gate garage and its subsequent removal. The statement serving as the basis for Jamarkus's eventual perjury conviction occurred during this exchange:

Grand Juror: Mr. Gorman, did you have a Bentley in your ...

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