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United States v. Richard

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

December 29, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
QUINCY RICHARD, SR., Defendant - Appellant

Page 288

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 289

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee: Camille Ann Domingue, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Howard Cobb Parker, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA.

For QUINCY RICHARD, SR., Defendant - Appellant: Quincy Mason Richard, Jr., Baton Rouge, LA.

Before JOLLY and JONES, Circuit Judges, and AFRICK[*], District Judge.

OPINION

Page 290

E. GRADY JOLLY, Circuit Judge.

This appeal presents questions arising from a Louisiana public-corruption case. Quincy Richard, Sr., a former member of the St. Landry Parish School Board, pledged his support to an applicant for the position of School Board Superintendent in exchange for $5,000. Unknown to Richard, the applicant was a government informant, and Richard was convicted by a jury under the federal bribery statute, 18 U.S.C. § 666. On appeal, Richard challenges the sufficiency of his indictment, the constitutionality of § 666, the sufficiency of the evidence, one of the district court's evidentiary rulings, and his sentence. We

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find no reversible error, and so we AFFIRM his conviction and sentence.

I.

Quincy Richard, Sr., was a member of the St. Landry Parish School Board. Early in the summer of 2012, he arranged a meeting between himself; John Miller, a fellow member of the School Board; and Joseph Cassimere, an applicant for the position of School Board Superintendent. At the meeting, Richard and Miller asked Cassimere to discuss his application for the Superintendent position. When Cassimere began detailing his plans for improving local schools, however, Richard informed him that it would " take a little bit more than that" for Cassimere to be selected. Miller elaborated, explaining that he and Richard vote as a team and like to " work" for the Superintendent, but that, in order for them to work on Cassimere's behalf, it would take " some kind of finance."

Cassimere assumed that they were joking. But when, weeks later, Richard arranged another meeting at which Richard and Miller put a specific dollar figure on their support, he concluded that the bribery scheme was serious. He therefore contacted the FBI, who gave him recording equipment and instructed him to record future conversations with Richard and Miller.

Several more meetings followed. At one, Richard reiterated that Cassimere needed to " take care of Miller" while rubbing his fingers together in a gesture that Cassimere understood to refer to money. At another, Cassimere informed Richard and Miller that he could pay them $5,000 apiece, and the group agreed to reconvene for payment.

Finally, on September 24, 2012, two days before the Board was scheduled to select a Superintendent, Cassimere met Miller and Richard at the restaurant of a local casino. Cassimere had come with $10,000 worth of FBI-provided bribe money, and FBI agents were in place to covertly monitor the meeting. During the meeting, Cassimere gave Richard and Miller each an envelope containing $5,000. Richard was confronted by an FBI agent as he left the restaurant, and he surrendered the envelope.

Richard and Miller were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and two counts of bribery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 666. Miller pled guilty and cooperated with the government, but Richard decided to go to trial. Before Richard's trial began, the Board held its vote to select a Superintendent. Richard, who had remained on the Board despite his indictment, cast the deciding vote against Cassimere and in favor of one of his competitors. Later, a Louisiana state court held that Richard was ineligible to serve on the School Board because of a prior, unrelated felony conviction. The government moved to prevent this judgment, which was pending appeal, from being presented at trial, and the district court agreed, citing relevance.

At trial, Richard was convicted by a jury on all three counts. He was then sentenced to thirty-three months of imprisonment per count, to be served concurrently, followed by three years of concurrent supervised release per count.

II.

In this appeal, Richard challenges the sufficiency of his indictment, the constitutionality of ยง 666, the sufficiency of the evidence, one of the district court's evidentiary rulings, ...


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