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Silver v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

August 15, 2013

Richard N. Silver, Appellant,
v.
United States, Appellee.

Argued February 7, 2013

Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia CF2-11325-09, Hon. Robert I. Richter, Trial Judge.

Montrell L. Scaife for appellant.

John V. Geise, Assistant United States Attorney, for appellee. Ronald C. Machen Jr., United States Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman, Elizabeth H. Danello, Claire Pozos, and Karen L. Shinskie, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief, for appellee.

Before Washington, Chief Judge, Thompson, Associate Judge, and Farrell, Senior Judge.

WASHINGTON, CHIEF JUDGE

Richard Silver appeals his conviction for obstructing justice.[1] He argues that the trial court erred by rejecting his claim of a speedy trial violation and by allowing testimony regarding evidence from an illegal search. He also argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. For the following reasons, we affirm.

I.

On May 7, 2009, two unnamed individuals reported to Officer Jason Bagshaw that their home had been burglarized. Officer Bagshaw went to Silver's home to investigate the complaint at approximately 2:00 a.m. As he approached the home, he saw Silver approach Kevin Boyd and Rodney Williams, who were seated in Silver's Cadillac which was parked in the rear of Silver's home. Silver came outside and spoke with Officer Bagshaw and other police officers and consented to a search of his vehicle. After the search, the officers separately walked Silver, Boyd, and Williams up the street to conduct a show-up identification procedure; only Boyd was identified as possibly involved in the burglary.

After the show-up, the officers escorted Silver back to his home. Therein, the officers obtained purported consent to search the home from all the occupants. During the search, the officers found a jacket containing seventeen rocks of cocaine hanging on the door of Silver's bedroom. Silver was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine ("PWID") on May 20, 2009.

On July 11, 2009, the police executed a search warrant at Williams' home. In Williams' bedroom, they found letters postmarked June 5 and 18, 2009, addressed to Williams from Silver. In the first letter, Silver asked Williams to "step up and help [him] out" by telling the police that the coat found in Silver's bedroom and the "rocks" therein belonged to Williams, and to tell the police that Williams did not come forward sooner because he was afraid. He urged Williams to do it as soon as possible because if Williams put it off until the next month, as the two had previously discussed, it would look like Williams was lying for Silver. Silver reasoned that Williams would only get two years of probation because he had a clean record, whereas Silver was facing ten to fifteen years' imprisonment. In return, Silver promised Williams that he would give him his car and North Face jacket and assured Williams that his lawyer would take care of him.

In the second letter, Silver conveyed his anger that Williams had not come forward. He warned Williams that "what goes around comes around" and promised that "when or if I ever do make it out of this shit, you have to see me. Real talk we got to fight, Dog, me and you."

On January 20, 2010, Silver was indicted for PWID and obstructing justice. Silver moved to suppress the drug evidence and the trial court granted his motion on December 13, 2011, finding that the consent to search Silver's home was not voluntarily given. The government dismissed the PWID charge and proceeded to trial on the ...


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