Archives for posts with tag: robbers

VU NGUYEN, Defendant.

May 29, 2013

Opinion by United States District Judge Kent J. Dawson:

This matter is before the Court on remand from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for the limited purpose of granting or denying a certificate of appealability.

This case arises from the armed robbery of Chong Hing Jewelers in Las Vegas Nevada. In the course of the robbery, several luxury watches having a value of approximately $885,000 were taken by two individuals. The robbers were covered, head-to-toe, in ninja-style white clothing. Before entering the store, one of the robbers executed the store security guard who had his back to them and was cleaning store windows. Eye witnesses had little to go on in describing the robbers other than the fact that one was carrying an assault-type rifle and the other was carrying a bag, and there appeared to be a height difference between the two individuals. The robbers were inside the store for no more than 90 seconds and store employees were assaulted in the process of the robbers obtaining access to the contents of display cabinets.

There was no deficiency in performance of counsel where counsel based the defense on a theory of lack of presence at the scene, incorporating facts and testimony of eyewitnesses to the crime combined with a lack of physical evidence placing Defendant there. This is also entirely consistent with the claim of Defense counsel that they were not previously informed by Defendant of his participation in the robbery. However, even if Defendant did inform counsel of his involvement and potential defense to the shooting, the outcome would not have been different.

Accordingly, Defendant is denied a certificate of appealability.

This may be the first mention of a white ninja outfit, as the prior clothing references refer to mostly (if not always) black clothing, but definitely not the first ninja robbery.


In 1992, convicted bank robbers appealed their conviction.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JASON KEITH WALKER, Defendant-Appellant.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. LARRY BAXTER STALLINGS, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 92-5159, No. 92-5160
Decided – December 16, 1992

On appeal, the Court affirmed the convictions and the sentences. The Court explained the circumstances of how these bank robbers were caught, mentioning a “ninja-style motorcycle” with “ninja-style” set in quotes in the opinion:

On August 16 and September 19, 1991, the North Duke Street branch of the NCNB National Bank in Durham, North Carolina was robbed. In both incidents, a man wearing a dark, visored motorcycle helmet entered the bank, brandished a pistol and threatened violence, and robbed the same teller. At the appellants’ trial, the teller and other bank employees testified that, because of similarities in voice and mannerisms, they believed that the same man committed both crimes. J.A. at 58-59, 68, 77-78, 126-27. After each robbery, witnesses saw the perpetrator exit the bank, jump on a “ninja-style” motorcycle driven by another individual, and ride off.

After the September robbery, a city maintenance supervisor followed the fleeing motorcyclists. From a distance, the supervisor saw the motorcyclists speak with the driver of an automobile and then drive off. The police eventually stopped the automobile and apprehended the driver

Unlike the sentence preceding, the quote “ninja-style” is not cited and it is unclear where the Judge got that from and why motorcycle is not also in the quote. It is also a Per Curiam opinion so it is unclear which of the three sitting judges (or their clerks) is responsible for the ninja usage.

I take this moment to note how “ninja” is used as a descriptor. Ninja is a brand name Kawasaki motorcycle (see previous NinjaLaw case of Kawasaki Motorcycle) but here the word used as a generic descriptor of a type of motorcycle with no explanation of what that means exactly. In the previous NinjaLaw post about “ninja pants” the court first referred to them as “black karate pants”. What exactly does the “ninja” adjective serve to imply?