United States v. Hernandez, No. 16-2765 (2d Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for assault with a dangerous weapon and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence. The court rejected defendant's contention that the district court gave erroneous instructions to the jury on his defense of duress, because the instruction as given accurately reflected the law of the circuit; the evidence presented through the testimony of former MS-13 members as to the acts of violence in which defendant engaged as he was repeatedly seeking membership in MS-13's BLS clique, and which culminated in his leadership of BLS, dispelled any notion that defendant was involved in the shooting through no fault of his own; and, even if the instructions were erroneous, the error would afford no ground for relief. The court rejected defendant's contention that the district court improperly found that defendant had committed attempted murder where the court declined defendant's invitation to rule that the district court's normal authority to make findings relevant to sentencing vanished because of a speculative possibility.