February 26, 2014 4th Circuit published opinion

United States v Janson Strayhorn and Jimmy Strayhorn

Janson and Jimmy were convicted of robbery, conspiracy and brandishing a weapon. The panel affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded in part. As to Janson, the panel held that evidence was insufficient to convict as to robbery as the only evidence connecting him the crime was a fingerprint on duct tape. As the tape was easily movable and there was no evidence the fingerprint was made at the time of the robbery, the government was required to produce supporting evidence. Here, they only produced possession of a stolen gun which was insufficient as the possession was months after the event and explained by intercepted phone calls to be unrelated to the robbery. Janson’s conspiracy conviction was upheld based on intercepted phone calls where he agreed to rob a store to get money to bail Jimmy out and going to the scene of the proposed robbery with guns in the car. As to Jimmy, the panel vacated his sentence as to brandishing as intervening Supreme Court precedent required the jury to determine the fact of brandishing as an element of the offense which was not done at trial. Thus, both cases were remanded for resentencing.

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