United States v. Gonzalez

A man entered a Rock Falls bank and handed the teller (Miller) a robbery note. Miller handed over $1,870. Miller immediately filled out a form, describing the robber's appearance and clothing. Police thought, based on the description, that Gonzalez was involved. Miller was shown poor quality printouts of Gonzalez’s driver’s license pictures, taken three years earlier. She stated that she did not recognize the person, although she thought one photograph depicted a man with features similar to those of the robber. Police released a still image taken from the bank’s video surveillance system. An employee at a restaurant close to the bank saw the photo and contacted the police because she had seen the sweatshirt in a dumpster. An officer retrieved the sweatshirt and found $20 bills in the pocket. Others told the police that they thought the robber in the still image resembled Gonzalez and connected him to the sweatshirt. Miller quickly identified Gonzalez from a six-man photo array that included his Facebook photo. Gonzalez was addicted to crack cocaine and stated that his addiction was “out of control.” Gonzalez was scheduled to visit his daughter at the time of the robbery, at a Rock Falls McDonald’s, next to the restaurant; he missed the visit. The Seventh Circuit affirmed his conviction for bank robbery. Although there were significant problems with the challenged identification procedures, any error was harmless. View "United States v. Gonzalez" on Justia Law