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United States v. Spight

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

April 4, 2016

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Jamillo Donte Spight, Defendant - Appellant

         Submitted October 23, 2015

          Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - St. Paul.

         For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Carol M. Kayser, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Steven L. Schleicher, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Saint Paul, MN; Richard Newberry, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, District of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

         For Jamillo Donte Spight, Defendant - Appellant: Paul Applebaum, APPLEBAUM LAW FIRM, Saint Paul, MN.

         Jamillo Donte Spight, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Pine Knot, KY.

         Before RILEY, Chief Judge, SMITH and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

Page 1100

          SMITH, Circuit Judge.

         Jamillo Donte Spight challenges the sufficiency of the evidence used to convict him of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Spight also argues that the district court[1] should not have admitted

Page 1101

into evidence expert testimony from an ATF[2] agent because it lacked proper foundation. Additionally, Spight asserts that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by making an evidentiary stipulation and not adequately investigating the case. Lastly, Spight contends that the government failed to disclose exculpatory evidence during discovery. We affirm.

         I. Background

         In September 2013, a nightclub security camera recorded Spight enter the establishment with a loaded handgun. In addition, several eyewitnesses observed him in possession of the weapon. In fact, an unarmed security guard, Eric Wasson, wrestled the gun from Spight's grasp. The gun discharged twice during the scuffle. Fortunately, the shots injured no one. Wasson then handed the gun to Jonathan Price, the nightclub's owner, who had rushed to the commotion. Standing nearby, Annikki Davis, another unarmed security guard, witnessed the entire incident.

         Spight was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). At Spight's bench trial, Wasson, Price, and Davis testified. The government also admitted the video from the security camera. Spight challenged the credibility of both Wasson and Davis on two bases. First, both witnesses were themselves convicted felons. The district court " [took] into account their criminal records" and concluded that " their testimony was credible with respect to their observations and identification of [Spight] and their testimony regarding his possession of a firearm." The court based its conclusion upon its " evaluation of their testimony, in light of all of the evidence before the Court, including the DVD video." Second, Price indicated that he had helped wrestle the gun from Spight, which contradicted Wasson's testimony that he took the gun from Spight and then handed it to Price. On the basis of the video evidence that supported ...


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