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United States v. Askew

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

August 29, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ANTHONY ASKEW

MEMORANDUM ORDER DENYING ANTHONY ASKEW'S MOTION FOR THE RETURN OF PROPERTY FOLLOWING MANDATE FROM THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT (DOC. NO. 328)

ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.

Before the Court is Anthony Askew's ("Askew's"), Motion for the Return of Property Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g). Doc. no. 328. The Government filed a response opposing this Motion. For the reasons set forth herein, Askew's Motion will be denied.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

This Court has recited the facts of this case many times over in its Opinions related to Motions filed not only by Askew, but by his co-defendants as well. The Court will recite the salient facts relevant to this Motion by quoting them from a prior Opinion denying one of Askew's Motions to Vacate his Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. This Court has previously noted that:

In 2002 and 2003, there was a series of armed robberies at numerous financial institutions in Western Pennsylvania that followed a remarkably similar pattern. The modus operandi of these bank robberies was that two masked men would enter the bank, each with gun drawn, one of the men would cover the employees and patrons while the other jumped over the counter and riffled the drawers for cash, and then the two men would run to a waiting stolen vehicle and flee the scene. The 18-count Superseding Indictment filed on March 2, 2004 charged four persons with various offenses stemming from six of these bank robberies, as follows:
• Dollar Bank in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania; August 1, 2002. Counts One through Three charged Anthony Williams and Maurice Askew with bank robbery, armed bank robbery and carrying and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of the armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a), 2113(d) and 924(c)(1)(A)(ii), respectively.
• Dollar Bank, Penn Hills, Pennsylvania; September 3, 2002. Counts Four through Six charged Anthony Williams and Maurice Askew with bank robbery, armed bank robbery and carrying and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of the armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a), 2113(d) and 924(c)(1)(A)(ii), respectively.
• USAir Credit Union, Moon Township, Pennsylvania; September 21, 2002. Counts Seven through Nine charged Anthony Williams and Anthony Askew (Maurice Askew's brother) with bank robbery, armed bank robbery and carrying and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of the armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a), 2113(d) and 924(c)(1)(A)(ii), respectively.
• S&T Bank, Plum Borough, Pennsylvania; November 21, 2002. Counts Ten through Twelve charged Anthony Williams and Anthony Askew with bank robbery, armed bank robbery and carrying and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of the armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a), 2113(d) and 924(c)(1)(A)(ii), respectively.
• National City Bank, New Kensington, Pennsylvania; December 3, 2002. Counts Thirteen through Fifteen charged Anthony Williams and Anthony Askew with bank robbery, armed bank robbery and carrying and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of the armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a), 2113(d) and 924(c)(1)(A)(ii), respectively.
• S&T Bank, Murrysville, Pennsylvania; July 8, 2003. Counts Sixteen through Eighteen charged Anthony Williams, Anthony Askew and Nicole Harris with bank robbery, armed bank robbery and carrying and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of the armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a), 2113(d) and 924(c)(1)(A)(ii), respectively.
Anthony Williams was the gunman who jumped the counter and took the cash while one or the other of the Askew brothers stood guard in each robbery. Nicole Harris was the driver of the getaway car for the S&T bank robbery on July 8, 2003. Williams and Harris entered into plea agreements with the government and testified against the Askew brothers at their jury trial in May/June 2004. The jury found the Askews guilty as charged on all counts of the Superseding Indictment, and this Court sentenced the two men...

Doc. no. 274, pp. 2-3.

B. Procedural Background

Askew filed this Motion for the Return of Property on December 19, 2013. Doc. no. 328. The Court denied this Motion, along with one of a series of Motions to Vacate on December 20, 2013. Doc. no. 331. Askew appealed this Court's decision to the United State Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Doc. no. 332. At first, the Court of Appeals issued a Mandate affirming this Court's decision (see doc. no. 337 affirming judgment/order of the District Court), but then the Court of Appeals recalled that Mandate. Doc. no. 335. The Court of Appeals next entered a Judgment vacating and remanding this Court's decision with respect to the instant Motion for Return of Property, and an Opinion and a Mandate followed. Doc. nos. 341, 346.

Shortly after the filing of this Mandate, this Court reopened Askew's Motion for Return of Property (doc. no 328) and ordered the Government to respond.[1] The Government filed its Response on August 27, 2014 ...


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