United States v. Houston; United States v. Bridgewater, No. 07-50478 (9th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Defendants were jointly tried and convicted of a substantive RICO violation, 18 U.S.C. 1962(c); RICO conspiracy, 18 U.S.C. 1962(d); and two counts of violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity (VICAR), 18 U.S.C. 1959, arising out of their membership in the Aryan Brotherhood (AB). Defendants appealed, raising Brady v. Maryland and Napue v. Illinois issues and claiming instructional error. The court held that, under the circumstances, it saw no plain Brady Error. The court also held that defendants failed to show that a jail house informant's testimony was "actually false" or that the government knowingly presented false testimony in light of Napue. The court further held that, assuming a duress defense was available, the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to give a duress instruction under California, Pennsylvania, or federal law because the evidence did not support such an instruction. The court also rejected defendants' remaining claims of instructional errors. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.