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. Mandell

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

August 17, 2016

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Steven Mandell, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued April 1, 2016

         Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 12 CR 842-1 - Amy J. St. Eve, Judge.

          Before Posner, Easterbrook, and Williams, Circuit Judges.

          WILLIAMS, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         Steven Mandell was convicted for conspiring to kidnap, and for conspiring and attempting to extort, a wealthy businessman. His plan involved a gun, and so he was also convicted for possessing a gun in furtherance of a crime of violence, and for possessing a gun as a convicted felon. The evidence included videos from hidden cameras that the FBI installed at the site of the planned extortion. As required by statute, a federal court authorized the installation of the cameras. Arguing that the court only did so because the FBI's application was misleading due to certain omissions, Mandell moved to suppress the video evidence. The district judge denied that motion and we affirm because the omissions Mandell complains about are not material.

         Mandell also moved for a new trial, arguing that the government had withheld important exculpatory information about the source of the gun. We affirm because we agree with the district judge that the information is irrelevant and the evidence supporting Mandell's gun convictions was overwhelming.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Mandell's History

         Defendant Steven Mandell, formerly known as Steven Manning, is familiar to us. We discuss his unusual history because it is relevant to his current appeal. As we have previously described: "[Mandell] was employed as a Chicago police officer and later as an FBI informant. In 1986 after [he] ceased to be an informer for the FBI he fell under suspicion for a variety of crimes." Manning v. Miller, 355 F.3d 1028, 1030 (7th Cir. 2004) (Manning III).

         1. Missouri Kidnapping

         In 1990, Mandell and a man named Gary Engel were charged for a kidnapping that occurred in Missouri in 1984. See Manning v. Bowersox, 310 F.3d 571, 574 (8th Cir. 2002) (Manning II). What happened next is noteworthy:

Because [Mandell] was also a suspect in an Illinois murder, the FBI planted a government informant in his cell to try to collect evidence about the Illinois crimes. The informant's agreement specified that he was not to elicit any information about [Mandell's] pending Missouri charges. However, the informant did talk about the Missouri charges, and agreed to help [Mandell] fabricate an alibi defense using the informant's girlfriend, Sylvia Herrera. The FBI then met with Herrera to go over what information she should attempt to elicit from [Mandell]. Pursuant to her agreement with the FBI, Herrera began to record her conversations with [Mandell]. Id.

         Mandell was convicted but the Eighth Circuit granted his habeas petition, holding that the government's use of informants, after charges had been filed, violated his constitutional right to counsel. Id. at 577. Missouri declined to retry him. See Manning v. United States, 546 F.3d 430, 431 (7th Cir. 2008) (Manning IV). Gary Engel was tried separately and convicted, but his conviction was vacated because the government failed to disclose that one of its witnesses had been paid to testify. See Engel v. Buchan, 710 F.3d 698, 700-01 (7th Cir. 2013).

         2. Illinois Murder

         In 1993, Mandell was charged for a murder that occurred in Illinois in 1990. See Manning III, 355 F.3d at 1030. Mandell tried to pin the murder on Engel, "who had ties to both [Mandell] and the victim." People v. Manning, 182 Ill.2d 193, 204 (1998) (Manning I). Mandell was convicted but this conviction was vacated too-this time because the trial judge admitted inadmissible evidence. Id. at 215-18.

         3. Civil Suit

         In 2002, Mandell sued the government for maliciously prosecuting him, and two FBI agents for fabricating evidence against him. See Manning III, 355 F.3d at 1030-31; Manning IV, 546 F.3d at 431. A jury found against the agents and awarded Mandell $6.5 million. Id. at 431-32; Engel, 710 F.3d at 701. But a judge found that even without the fabricated evidence, the government had probable cause to prosecute. See Manning IV, 546 F.3d at 431-32; Engel, 710 F.3d at 701. For technical reasons not pertinent here, the upshot is that Mandell recovered nothing. Manning IV, 546 F.3d at 438; see also Engel, 710 F.3d at 701.[1]

         B. Events ...


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.