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United States v. Milliner

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 27, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
James L. Milliner, Defendant - Appellant

> Submitted August 22, 2014

Page 837

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Jeannette Suzanne Graviss, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, Sirena Miller Wissler, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri, Saint Louis, MO.

James L. Milliner, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Leavenworth, KS.

For James L. Milliner, Defendant - Appellant: Sean Matthew Vicente, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Saint Louis, MO.

Before BENTON, MELLOY, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 838

PER CURIAM.

A jury convicted James Lee Milliner of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a) and 846. He appeals the conviction, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence and the denial of his motion to suppress wiretap evidence. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.

In 2010 the Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating Charles E. McRoberts for trafficking crack cocaine. By late 2010, the government had a significant amount of information. Confidential sources said that McRoberts paid Michael B. Rogers to sell crack outside a " Pavilion" in Wright City, Missouri. When Rogers was incarcerated, Halesha C. Bradshaw took over the sales. A buyer of crack would call a number (telephone #1). McRoberts provided the crack to Rogers (later Bradshaw) in the morning, and in the evening, collected the money (and the remaining crack). The confidential sources said that some local police were being paid off to help the distribution.

In November 2010, the government applied for, and obtained, wiretap orders for the cellular telephones of the crack ring. During the 20-day existence of the first wiretap, defendant Milliner would watch for police near the Pavilion, and also picked up proceeds and remaining crack when McRoberts could not do it. At trial, the government played recorded calls corroborating Milliner's participation. Shortly after the government began wiretapping telephone #1, Bradshaw became nervous and quit. Every contact in telephone #1

Page 839

was called and given a new number (telephone #4). Sales also moved from the Pavilion to an apartment complex. The government stopped intercepting calls from telephone #1 and got a wiretap authorization for telephone #4. Milliner was recorded on the wiretaps of telephone #4. In March 2011, police searched Milliner's apartment, where they found a digital scale, but no crack. Arrested, Milliner said he and McRoberts had nothing to do with the crack trafficking, ...


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