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United States v. Clayton

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

June 1, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Michael Clayton, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted April 17, 2015.

Page 930

Appeal from United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa - Ft. Dodge.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Forde Fairchild, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Sioux City, IA.

Michael Clayton, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Jonesville, VA.

For Michael Clayton, Defendant - Appellant: Bradley Ryan Hansen, Assistant Federal Public Defender, FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER'S OFFICE, Sioux City, IA.

Before BYE and SMITH, Circuit Judges, and SCHILTZ,[1] District Judge.

OPINION

Page 931

SCHILTZ, District Judge.

On the morning of February 7, 2013, a robber stole $11,284 from Citizens State Bank in Fort Dodge, Iowa. A jury convicted Michael Clayton of the robbery and the district court[2] sentenced Clayton to 129 months' imprisonment. Clayton appeals his conviction and sentence. We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

The government's case against Clayton rested in large part on the testimony of his accomplice, Christopher Anderson. Anderson and Clayton share a common connection with a third man, Terrell Newman. Anderson and Newman were part of the same drug-trafficking organization and also ran a restaurant together. Clayton is Newman's cousin. Clayton, Anderson, and Newman all live in or near Omaha.

In February 2013, Newman was in jail facing criminal charges. At trial, Anderson testified that Clayton asked Anderson to drive to Fort Dodge, where Clayton was visiting his sister. According to Anderson, Clayton said that he needed Anderson to give him a ride back to Omaha and that he had something that would help Newman.

Anderson drove to Fort Dodge on February 6, arriving sometime around midnight. Anderson's first stop in Fort Dodge was at a gas station, where a security camera captured his image. Anderson then went to Clayton's sister's house, where he and Clayton spent the rest of the night.

The next morning, Clayton directed Anderson to drive to an apartment complex near Citizens State Bank. After Anderson parked in the complex, Clayton got out of the car and made a phone call on Anderson's cell phone. Anderson could not hear what Clayton was saying, but it sounded like an argument. Other evidence established that Anderson's phone was used on the morning of February 7 to make two threatening calls: one to a local school, and one to an individual whose number was listed in the telephone directory just below that of another local school. (Presumably, the purpose of the calls was to create a distraction for local law enforcement.)

Page 932

After finishing his calls, Clayton tossed the phone back into Anderson's car and walked away, saying ...


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