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United States v. Pollock

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

July 1, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CHARLES W. POLLOCK, JR., Defendant-Appellant

Argued April 8, 2014

Page 583

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 584

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. No. 1:11-cr-10082-JES-JAG-1 -- James E. Shadid, Chief Judge.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: K. Tate Chambers, Attorney, Office of The United States Attorney, Peoria, IL; Joseph H. Hartzler, Attorney, Office of The United States Attorney, Springfield, IL.

For Charles W. Pollock, Jr., Defendant - Appellant: Sarah O'Rourke Schrup, Attorney, Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, IL.

Before POSNER and TINDER, Circuit Judges, and LAWRENCE, District Judge.[*]

OPINION

Page 585

Lawrence, District Judge.

A jury found Charles Pollock, Jr. guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and attempted witness tampering, and Pollock was sentenced to 240 months in prison. Pollock appeals his conviction and seeks a new trial; in the alternative, he challenges his sentence. We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

Pollock's troubles began in 2009 after a relationship with his then-girlfriend ended. Pollock was convicted of aggravated stalking after he violated an order of protection by following and threatening his ex-girlfriend. This felony conviction prohibited him from possessing any firearms and ammunition.

Thereafter, in April 2010, Pollock began a personal, yet tumultuous, fifteen-month relationship with Kim Bowyer.

In June 2011, Bowyer accompanied Pollock to his mother's home in Kewanee, Illinois to retrieve his guns. They left with several gun cases and shoeboxes and placed them in the trunk of Pollock's car.

By July 2011, Pollock and Bowyer's relationship had become abusive. On the evening of July 16, 2011, Pollock abducted Bowyer from her home and drove her to his house. she claimed that while there, he restrained, threatened, and raped her. After he finished, he discussed all of the evidence Bowyer had against him and suggested that they both commit suicide with a .45 caliber pistol he kept in his garage.

Bowyer reported this incident to the police,[1] and the police began investigating Pollock. On July 20, 2011, Pollock's friend Todd Clayes visited Pollock at his home. The two men drank numerous beers and smoked marijuana. At some point during the evening, Pollock showed Clayes a semiautomatic pistol and then put it in the trunk of his car, which already contained

Page 586

boxes. The next day, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant and searched Pollock's home. They found two high-capacity rifle magazines and bullets in his dresser drawer. The police then arrested Pollock.

While in jail, Pollock phoned Clayes and told him to remove the " stereo" from his car. Knowing this meant Pollock wanted him to remove the guns that were located in his trunk, Clayes went to Pollock's home, destroyed the trunk lock with a hammer, and removed the guns. Clayes took them to Pollock's mother's home.

The police were monitoring Pollock's jail phone conversations and eventually questioned Clayes about the guns. Clayes admitted that he retrieved the guns and told the police he took them to Pollock's mother's home. He eventually turned over nine guns to the police.

Pollock was initially charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. However, a charge of attempted witness tampering was later added because in the months leading up to trial Pollock wrote Clayes a letter suggesting that he " disappear," " hide," or " leave [the] state" so he would not be available to testify at his trial.

The case proceeded to trial, and a jury found Pollock guilty of all three counts. At the sentencing hearing, the district court applied the cross-reference found in section 2K2.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, finding that Pollock committed the firearm offense in connection with aggravated sexual abuse. The district court agreed with the Government's argument that Pollock's threat of killing himself and Bowyer with the .45 caliber pistol after discussing all of the evidence Bowyer might use against him--essentially, threatening her so she would not report what happened to the police--was enough to meet the " in connection with" requirement of the provision. With a criminal history category of IV, using the base offense level for the aggravated sexual abuse, and applying several other enhancements, Pollock's advisory Guideline range was 360 to 480 months. The district court imposed ...


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