United States v. Nelson, No. 16-14253 (11th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed Defendant Skillern and Nelson's convictions for mail fraud, wire fraud, and associated conspiracies. Defendants' convictions stemmed from their efforts to peddle non-existent gold to the public through their company, Own Gold LLC. In this case, Skillern alleged that the district court deprived him of his Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of counsel when, just before an overnight recess that occurred while Skillern was on the stand, the district court granted his lawyer's request to speak to him "about matters other than his testimony." The court held that the district court did not commit constitutional error in light of the court's en banc decision in Crutchfield v. Wainwright, 803 F.2d 1103 (11th Cir. 1986), because the record did not reflect that Skillern (or his lawyer) actually wanted or planned to discuss his testimony during the recess. The court rejected defendants' remaining contentions.