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U.S. v. Anderson

March 10, 1997

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

APPELLEE,

v.

JEFFREY ANDERSON, A/K/A JONATHAN THOMAS,

APPELLANT.



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

(D.C. Crim. No. 95-cr-00424-01)

Before: BECKER and ROTH, Circuit Judges, and ORLOFSKY, District Judge. *fn*

ORLOFSKY, District Judge.

Argued: January 27, 1997

(Filed: March 10, 1997)

OPINION OF THE COURT

Jeffrey Anderson appeals from his conviction after a jury trial on a three-count superseding indictment charging him with carjacking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section(s) 2119 (the "carjacking statute"), using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section(s) 924(c)(1), and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section(s) 922(g)(1).

This appeal requires this Court to address for the first time the quantum of evidence that the government must offer at trial such that a jury could find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had the requisite "intent to cause death or serious bodily harm," within the meaning of the 1994 amendment to the carjacking statute. The federal courts which have considered this issue have reached different conclusions. *fn1 We hold that it is sufficient for the government to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant possessed a conditional intent to cause death or serious bodily harm to the carjacking victim -- in other words, that the defendant intended to cause death or serious bodily harm if the victim resisted the defendant's efforts to obtain the victim's car. In addition, we conclude that, when viewing the evidence presented at trial in a light most favorable to the government, a rational trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant in this case had such an intent to kill or cause serious bodily harm, if necessary, in order to obtain the victim's car. We, therefore, affirm.

I. Facts and Procedural Background

On December 28, 1994, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Pamela White was inside her mother's home when she noticed Mark Stanley sitting at a table appearing jumpy, upset and nervous. Ms. White then noticed Jeffrey Anderson, whom she did not know at the time, standing in the vestibule of the house. Ms. White's mother asked Anderson to leave and he refused. Ms. White observed the imprint of a gun in the front of Anderson's jersey.

Anderson entered the living room of the house, exchanged words with Stanley and began to struggle with him. When Anderson brandished his .38 caliber handgun at Stanley, Ms. White tried to get her children and her mother upstairs. Stanley then broke away from Anderson and fled up the stairs behind them. Anderson followed them up the stairs with the gun in his hands. Ms. White heard a gunshot which she later discovered had gone into the ceiling. After firing the gunshot, Anderson fled from the house.

After fleeing from the house, Anderson passed directly by a marked police car, making eye contact with Officer Terrence Graham, who was inside the car. Graham briefly pursued Anderson, who was still carrying the gun in his hand at the time, before losing sight of him. Anderson then came upon Alfred Tennessee a few blocks away. Tennessee was washing a car belonging to a friend. While kneeling down near the front passenger side tire, Tennessee suddenly felt Anderson's gun pressed against the back of his neck. Tennessee turned to see a man whom he subsequently identified as Anderson, clutching the gun. Anderson told Tennessee that "the police [are] after me, I'm taking the car." Tennessee responded by telling Anderson to take the car.

Tennessee, however, ran around to the driver's side of the vehicle in an attempt to stop Anderson from taking the car. Anderson pointed the gun out the driver's side window at Tennessee and sped off in the car. Tennessee heard a gun shot when Anderson was a half-block away, although he did not see who fired the shot, or in which direction it was fired. Tennessee informed nearby police of the incident and the police began to pursue Anderson.

This vehicular pursuit ended when the vehicle Anderson was driving stalled out. Anderson exited the vehicle with the gun in his hand, and refused to comply with a police officer's order to drop the gun. Six officers pursued Anderson on foot. The officers finally caught up with him and forcibly removed the gun from his hand. Anderson was arrested and placed in a police vehicle. The ...


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