United States v. Zelaya (P)

Evidence was sufficient to support the convictions of four MS-13 members on charges of violent crimes in aid of racketeering.

The combination of the appellant’s shooting offense as a grossly disproportionate retaliation to a public slight and his after-the-fact engagement of a fellow MS-13 member to help him manage the consequences of the crime suffice to permit the jury to infer the appellant’s gang-related motive. In particular, the excessive nature of the response, which was objectively apparent and involved the appellant shooting nearly a dozen rounds from an assault rifle at the victims, suggests a motive of making a statement rather than merely exacting payback.

Convictions affirmed. Judge Floyd dissented in part.

United States v. Zelaya (P), No. 16-4857, Nov. 14, 2018. 4th Cir. (Duncan) from WDNC at Charlotte (Conrad).

Categories: 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions, Published

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