Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Davis

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

May 1, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
FATHIA-ANNA DAVIS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued: March 30, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, at Charlotte. Robert J. Conrad, Jr., District Judge. (3:15-cr-00076-RJC-DSC-1)

         ARGUED:

          Jaclyn Lee DiLauro, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant.

          Anthony Joseph Enright, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          Thomas P. McNamara, Federal Public Defender, Stephen C. Gordon, Assistant Federal Public Defender, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant.

          Jill Westmoreland Rose, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellee.

          Before SHEDD, DUNCAN, and AGEE, Circuit Judges.

          SHEDD, Circuit Judge.

         Without knowing their true identity, Fathia-Anna Davis hired two undercover police detectives to murder her ex-husband. During the detectives' undercover investigation, Davis used her car and three mobile phones on multiple occasions to meet and communicate with them about the plot, and she eventually paid them $4, 000 when they falsely told her the murder had been committed. As a result, Davis was convicted and sentenced to the 120-month statutory maximum under the federal "murder-for-hire" statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1958.[1] She now appeals, arguing that the district court erred by denying her motion to dismiss the § 1958 charge based on the "manufactured jurisdiction" doctrine and by imposing an unreasonable sentence. Finding no merit to these arguments, we affirm.

         I

         We first address Davis' "manufactured jurisdiction" argument. Pertinent here, § 1958 criminalizes the use of any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including means of transportation and communication, with intent that a murder be committed for compensation. Davis moved to dismiss the charge against her based on the manufactured jurisdiction doctrine, which prohibits the government from "manipulat[ing] events to create federal jurisdiction over a case." United States v. Al-Talib, 55 F.3d 923, 929 (4th Cir. 1995). By invoking this doctrine, Davis essentially argues that the government failed to prove the requisite use of a facility of interstate or foreign commerce. See United States v. Wallace, 85 F.3d 1063, 1065-66 (2d Cir. 1996).[2] We review this matter de novo, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the government. United States v. Fuertes, 805 F.3d 485, 501-02 (4th Cir. 2015), cert. denied, 136 S.Ct. 1220 (2016).

         A.

         The government's evidence establishes that while Davis was married to Jodi Davis ("Jodi"), she unsuccessfully attempted to kill him by putting Ambien in his food before he went to work. Davis intended for Jodi to lose consciousness while driving and die in a car crash. However, Jodi passed out from his Ambien-laced food before driving and eventually received medical care. When Davis learned that Jodi was alive in the hospital, she told her family nanny that she thought Jodi was dead, and she also described her effort to drug and kill him. The nanny later told Jodi about the drugging, and Davis fired her.

         After divorcing Jodi, Davis asked her friend Huy Nguyen if he knew anyone who could kill Jodi. Davis was aware that Nguyen had previously worked for a car dealership used by gang members and drug dealers. Nguyen advised Davis not to kill Jodi and told her that he would ask someone to do so if she wanted him to.

         However, Nguyen decided against helping Davis and several days later told a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department ("CMPD") officer about her request. Subsequently, CMPD Detective Jim Hetrick met Nguyen, who agreed to assist police with an investigation. At the request of officers, Nguyen sent Davis a text message stating he had found someone to do the job for her. Through a series of cellphone conversations and text messages, Nguyen arranged for Davis to meet CMPD undercover detectives Robert Rendon and Rolando Ortiz-Trinidad. Eventually, Davis met with them on three occasions, and she drove her car to and from each meeting.

         The first meeting occurred on February 15, 2015, at a shopping center. Nguyen introduced Davis to the detectives, and she got into their unmarked car. Davis used a mobile phone to show the detectives Jodi's photograph and told them that she wanted him killed. Davis then directed the detectives to Jodi's apartment complex, where she provided his address and identified his automobiles. During the meeting, the detectives asked Davis if she was certain of her intent to have Jodi killed, and she replied: "I want him out of my life. I want him out of my daughter's life. I've been trying for the last two years." J.A. 104. Davis and the detectives discussed the timing and method of the murder and agreed on a price of $4, 000, with $500 to be paid up front. After the detectives and Davis returned to the shopping center, Jodi happened to pass by, and Davis pointed him out.

         Three days later, on February 18, Davis placed a voice call and sent several text messages asking the detectives to call her. Although Davis had previously used two other phones to arrange the first meeting, this time she used a Tracfone, which is a prepaid phone that can be obtained without a name or credit-card information. Detective Rendon ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.