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United States of America v. Domingo Gonzalez

June 20, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
DOMINGO GONZALEZ, JR., DEFENDANT, FRANCISCO DEIDA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from a judgment of conviction and sentence of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Underhill, J.).

Per curiam.

11-2722-cr

United States v. Deida

Argued: May 29, 2012

Before: WINTER, MCLAUGHLIN, and CHIN, Circuit Judges.

AFFIRMED.

Defendant-appellant Francisco Deida, convicted after a jury trial of two counts of bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and sentenced to life imprisonment, appeals from a judgment of conviction and sentence entered by the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Underhill, J.) on July 6, 2011. We hold that the district court did not err in sentencing Deida to a mandatory term of life imprisonment pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c). Accordingly, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

Deida's conviction stems from two armed bank robberies in Connecticut on January 28, 2009, and April 6, 2009. Deida committed both robberies with co-defendant Domingo Gonzalez, who entered the banks with Deida, and co- defendant Henry Crespo, who served as the getaway driver both times. During the first robbery, Deida and Gonzalez entered the Webster Bank in Milford wearing heavy clothing and masks, carrying umbrellas that partially blocked the bank's video surveillance, and wielding guns. The defendants fled in a car driven by Crespo with approximately $84,000.

The second robbery was of a TD Bank in Woodbridge, Connecticut. Deida and Gonzalez again wore heavy clothing and masks and carried umbrellas and guns. Deida also wore a fake mustache and prosthetic nose. A postal worker who had been delivering mail to the bank observed the crime in progress, left the bank, and called 911 from his postal truck. The defendants left the bank with approximately $23,000 and fled in Gonzalez's Cadillac, driven by Crespo. A high speed police chase ensued. Crespo drove the getaway car to New Haven, where Deida and Gonzalez jumped out of the car and fled on foot. Crespo abandoned the car a few blocks away and was apprehended by police later that day. Before trial, the government filed an information pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c) and 21 U.S.C. § 851 notifying Deida of its intention to seek a sentence of mandatory life imprisonment. The information asserted three prior felony convictions: robbery in the first degree, assault in the first degree, and manslaughter in the first degree, all in violation of Connecticut law. At trial, the government presented evidence found in the vicinity of the abandoned getaway car that connected the three defendants to the two bank robberies. The evidence included Gonzalez's cell phone, and records for the phone showed that Gonzalez called a telephone number around the times of both robberies that matched a telephone number listed as Deida's contact number in a job application found in his possession at the time of his arrest. On March 4, 2010, the jury found Deida guilty of both robberies.

At sentencing on June 21, 2011, the government presented evidence of Deida's three prior convictions. The government argued that the convictions were "serious violent felonies" under the three strikes provision of 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c), thereby subjecting him to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. The district court agreed and found that "each of the three crimes set forth in the information ha[s] been proven to have been committed by the defendant here,

Francisco Deida," and that the crimes were serious violent felonies under § 3559(c). The district court sentenced Deida to a term of life imprisonment on each of the two counts.

This appeal ...


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