United States v. Herrera, No. 19-2126 (10th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
This case arose from the murder of a state inmate and conspiracy to murder two corrections officials. The government attributed the crimes to a prison gang, Sindicato de Nuevo Mexico (“SNM”), and charged many of its members under the Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering Act (“VICAR”). After a six-week jury trial, three SNM members (Anthony Ray Baca, Daniel Sanchez, and Carlos Herrera) were convicted of: (1) conspiring to murder a fellow SNM member (Javier Molina) (Count 6);and (2) aiding and abetting that murder (Count 7). Baca was also convicted of conspiring to murder two corrections officials (Counts 9–10). The three defendants appealed, advancing eight arguments largely alleging multiple errors on the admission of evidence, the conduct of trial and the constitutionality of VICAR, taken cumulatively, required a new trial. Rejecting each argument, the Tenth Circuit affirmed defendants' convictions.