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United States v. Edgeworth

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 2, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Alvin L. Edgeworth, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued April 18, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1:15-cr-00015-1 - Charles R. Norgle, Judge.

          Before Wood, Chief Judge, and Flaum and Easterbrook, Circuit Judges.

          Flaum, Circuit Judge.

         Defendant-appellant Alvin Edge- worth was convicted of bank robbery and brandishing a fire- arm. Edgeworth seeks a new trial, asserting the district court erred by: (1) denying his motion to suppress and failing to grant an evidentiary hearing relating to his motion to sup- press; (2) conducting a flawed jury selection process and declining to excuse a juror; and (3) applying a two-level enhancement for taking a financial institution's property. We affirm.

         I. Background

         On January 9, 2015, Belmont Bank & Trust, located on Wacker Drive in Chicago, was robbed. The robber wore a yellow construction helmet, reflective vest, and a neck warmer wrapped around his face and neck. The robber approached a teller, held a firearm so the teller could see it, and demanded money. The teller gave the robber approximately $3, 000 and included a GPS tracking device in the cash bundles.

         After the robber left, the teller called 911 and a manager pushed the bank alarm. Law enforcement responded and within ten minutes, a person matching the teller's description was located running south on State Street. The pursuit led to an underground train platform where the individual at- tempted to flee via the train tracks. The police apprehended the individual, returned him to the platform, and performed a search. They found the bank's stolen money, the GPS tracker, and the construction outfit that matched the teller's description. They also recovered a loaded revolver from his waist- band. The individual identified himself as Alvin Edgeworth, the defendant. Police transported Edgeworth to a FBI facility for processing, where he provided a video-recorded post-arrest statement.

         Prior to trial, Edgeworth filed a motion to suppress statements from his interrogation and requested an evidentiary hearing. Edgeworth's motion to suppress contained three allegations: (1) "that police officers physically assaulted him once he was placed in custody"; (2) "that officers physically coerced him into making statements the government intends to use in its case in chief"; and (3) "that officers made statements that made him believe that if he would not cooperate with law enforcement, he would be sent to prison for a long time." The district court denied Edgeworth's motion, holding he did not allege sufficient facts to make out a "prima facie showing of illegality."

         Edgeworth proceeded to trial in January 2017. During voir dire, one potential juror indicated she needed to return to college later that week. The judge did not follow up on her statement. Nevertheless, along with eleven others, she was seated on the jury. An alternate was also chosen.

         After the government's case in chief, the college-bound juror presented a note to the district court which read, in relevant part:

Hello. My name is []. When being interviewed on Tuesday I said that I am leaving to return to school tomorrow, Thursday, January 12th, to at- tend a mandatory orientation for a class Friday. Tomorrow is the only day my parents were able to take off work this week to take me. I do wish I had another option. Judge Norgle continued with another unrelated question when I mentioned I needed to go back Thursday. Therefore I did not want to question him, and I assumed he heard me. When I was chosen, I thought that was because he believed it would be over by the end of the day. I apologize for any inconvenience this causes, and I do wish I could be here tomorrow. Due to the inflexible above circumstances, I will not be able to attend tomorrow.

         The court asked the parties whether they believed the juror should remain on the jury. The government stated the juror should remain for the rest of the trial. Defense counsel stated: "I'm in agreement with the government, your Honor. I think she should stay." As a result, the district court advised the juror that "[y]ou are to remain on this jury and be here on time tomorrow morning at 10:00 A.M."

         Jury deliberations began the next day. The jury convicted Edgeworth of bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and brandishing a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii). Edgeworth filed a post-trial motion seeking ...

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