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United States v. Baca

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

January 17, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ANTHONY RAY BACA, a.k.a. “Pup”; CHRISTOPHER GARCIA; MANUEL JACOB ARMIJO, a.k.a. “Big Jake”; FREDERICO MUNOZ, a.k.a. “Playboy”; SERGIO LOYA RODRIGUEZ, a.k.a “Churro”; MANUEL BENITO, a.k.a. “Panther”; VINCENT GARDUÑO a.k.a. “Fatal”; MANDEL LON PARKER, a.k.a. “Chuco”; DANIEL ARCHULETA, a.k.a. “Smurf”; DANIEL SANCHEZ, a.k.a. “Dan Dan”; ANTHONY CORDOVA, a.k.a. “Antone”; and ARTURO ARNULFO GARCIA, a.k.a. “Shotgun, ” Defendants.

          Fred Federici Attorney for the United States Acting Under Authority Conferred by 28 USC § 515 Albuquerque, New Mexico

          John C. Anderson United States Attorney Maria Ysabel Armijo Randy M. Castellano Matthew Beck Assistant United States Attorneys United States Attorney's Office Las Cruces, New Mexico Attorneys for the Plaintiff

          Theresa M. Duncan Duncan, Earnest, LLC Albuquerque, New Mexico

          Marc M. Lowry Rothstein Donatelli, LLP Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Anthony Ray Baca

          Christopher W. Adams Charleston, South Carolina

          Amy Sirignano Law Office of Amy Sirignano, P.C. Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Christopher Garcia

          Louis E. Lopez, Jr. El Paso, Texas Attorney for Frederico Munoz

          Donald F. Kochersberger, III Business Law Southwest, LLC Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Sergio Loya Rodriguez

          Diego R. Esquibel The Barnett Law Firm Albuquerque, New Mexico

          R. Scott Reisch Reisch Law Firm, LLC Denver, Colorado Attorneys for Vincent Garduño

          Marc Grano Grano Law Offices Las Vegas, New Mexico Attorney for Mandel Lon Parker James Baiamonte Albuquerque, New Mexico

          Ahmad Assed Ahmad Assed & Associates Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Daniel Archuleta Lauren Noriega The Noriega Law Firm Los Angeles, California

          Lauren Noriega The Noriega Law Firm Los Angeles, California

          Marcia A. Morrissey Santa Monica, California

          Gregory M. Acton Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Anthony Cordova

          Billy R. Blackburn Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Arturo Arnulfo Garcia

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Anthony Cordova's Amended Motion to Strike Question 54(c) from Supplemental Jury Questionnaire, filed May 17, 2018 (Doc. 644)(“54(c) Motion”). The Court held a hearing on June 14, 2018. See Clerk's Minutes at 1, filed June 14, 2018 (Doc. 743). The primary issue is whether the Court should strike from the Supplemental Juror Questionnaire, filed January 10, 2019 (Doc. 947)(“Baca SJQ”), question 54(c), which asks prospective jurors whether they “would be in fear of retaliation if [they] came to a decision to vote guilty.” 54(c) Motion at 1 (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Baca SJQ ¶ 54(c), at 13). Because the Court mailed the Baca SJQ to the venire before Defendant Anthony Cordova filed the 54(c) Motion and, because the Court cannot say that question 54(c)

         will prejudice Cordova and Defendant Vincent Garduño -- who, by the June 14, 2018, hearing, were the only United States v. Baca (“Baca”) Defendants[1] planning to proceed to trial, the Court will not strike question 54(c). At the hearing, Cordova and Garduño requested that the Court allow them to address in voir dire the potential jurors' fears regarding retaliation. See Transcript of Hearing at 243:20-22 (taken June 14, 2018), filed July 3, 2018 (Doc. 771)(Morrissey)(“June 14 Tr.”). During voir dire, the Court will allow Cordova and Garduño to address such fears, and, if Cordova and Garduño desire to speak with potential jurors individually, the Court will allow Cordova and Garduño to speak individually with potential jurors. Accordingly, the Court will grant Cordova and Garduño's requests in part and deny them in part.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The Court recounts the factual background and early procedural history in its Memorandum Opinion and Order at 2-4, 2018 WL 5980443, at *1-2, filed November 14, 2018 (Doc. 932)(“MOO”). The Court incorporates that recitation here. The Court includes the footnotes from the MOO.

The Court takes its background facts from the Superseding Indictment, filed March 9, 2017 (Doc. 372)(“Indictment”). The Court does not set forth these facts as findings or for their truth. The Court recognizes that the factual background is largely the Plaintiff United States of America's version of events ...

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