District courts must therefore remain vigilant to ensure that all of a law-enforcement expert's testimony relates to issues that are “beyond the ken of the average juror.” Amuso, 21 F.3d at 1263. The substance of the defendants' attack on Bevacqui is that his knowledge about the national Latin Kings does not bear on the Holland Latin Kings, making it irrelevant and unreliable in this case. Haglund's testimony was largely either within the appropriate scope of gang-expert testimony, as it focused on the traditional areas in which a gang expert can testify—history, organization, and unique terminology or symbols—or involved him testifying to specific facts and events he personally witnessed. 2 at 323:8–3) (Page ID #14467–68); (2) how the Holland Latin Kings obtained and utilized “nation guns,” id. These aspects of Haglund's testimony may have been proper if they were given in Detective Haglund's capacity as a fact witness, based upon his actual experience with the investigation. Most prominently, evidence showed that Rios had an intricate tattoo on his left bicep, which displayed a scale similar to the scales of justice.
“An increasingly thinning line separates the legitimate use of an officer expert to translate esoteric terminology or to explicate an organization's hierarchical structure from the illegitimate and impermissible substitution of expert opinion for factual evidence.” Mejia, 545 F.3d at 190. To assuage these concerns, we have suggested that “the district court and the prosecutor take care to assure that the jury is informed of the dual roles of a law enforcement officer as a fact witness and an expert witness.” Tocco, 200 F.3d at 418 (agent's “dual roles were emphasized to the jury by the fact that he testified at two different times” and “the district court instructed the jury, both before he gave his opinion and again in the jury charge, that it should consider [the agent's] dual roles in determining what weight, if any, to give [the] expert testimony”).2. This framework is easily applied to Bevacqui's expert testimony. In light of other testimony linking the Holland Latin Kings to the national organization, and showing that the Holland Latin Kings shared with the national organization many of the characteristics Bevacqui discussed, Bevacqui's testimony was appropriate “evidence regarding the inner-workings of organized crime,” Tocco, 200 F.3d at 419, including testimony similar to that we approved in Tocco regarding “the structure, the organization, the rules, the interpretation of phrases, and jargon that's been used in [the] trial,” id. The application of the gang-expert legal framework is more complex with respect to Detective Haglund. Using an expert to convey that information ran the risk that Detective Haglund would “transform[ ] into the hub of the case, displacing the jury by connecting and combining all other testimony and physical evidence into a coherent, discernible, internally consistent picture of the defendant's guilt.” Mejia, 545 F.3d at 190–91. 2 at 3–371:3, 3–381:1) (Page ID #14510–15, 14521–26). On the lighter side of the scale was depicted “a cross and a book and ․ a rosary,” while the heavier side had a gun, “a bag with a dollar sign on it,” and packages that Detective Haglund testified appeared to be similar in appearance to bricks of marijuana or cocaine.
OPINIONAntonio Rios and David Casillas were charged along with twenty-nine co-defendants in a sprawling racketeering indictment charging that they were involved in the criminal activities of the Holland, Michigan chapter of the organization known as the Latin Kings. 14-1360, 14-1600, 14-1717, 14-1804, 14-1839, 14-1986, 14-2094, 14-2129, 14-2249, 2016 WL 2755180, ___ F. Count One alleged the commission of 129 overt acts in furtherance of the twenty-year-long racketeering conspiracy, and also contained eleven special sentencing allegations, charging various defendants with conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine between 19, and the commission of ten assaults with the intent to commit murder. On June 13, 2014, the jury found Rios and Casillas guilty of Count One, the RICO conspiracy, and Count Fourteen, the cocaine conspiracy.
Kavalhuna, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY' S OFFICE, Grand Rapids, Michigan, for Appellee. The case against Rios and Casillas focused on a racketeering-conspiracy charge (“Count One”) under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U. 480 (Fourth Superseding Indictment at 5) (Page ID #2142). Rios and Casillas were each charged in Count One and its special sentencing allegation regarding the distribution of cocaine, and Rios was additionally charged with three of the assaults with the intent to commit murder. Much of the rest of the trial consisted of testimony, largely from cooperating co-defendants, corroborating aspects of the testimony regarding the Holland Latin Kings, and setting forth details about a number of specific criminal acts that the government claimed had been committed in furtherance of the racketeering conspiracy. The jury also found Rios and Casillas responsible for the Count One special sentencing allegation related to the distribution of five kilograms or more of cocaine between 19. For the reasons that follow, we AFFIRM Rios's conviction and sentence, and AFFIRM Casillas's conviction and sentence. Keith Bevacqui would serve as an expert “regarding the Latin Kings national organization,” R. Although Rule 702 commonly applies to scientific expert testimony, it applies equally to witnesses whose expertise stems from other types of specialized knowledge, granting the district court “considerable leeway in deciding in a particular case how to go about determining whether particular expert testimony is reliable,” provided that the gatekeeping mandate of Daubert v.
Where other evidence suggests that members of a particular gang tend to have unique tattoos, gang-tattoo evidence helps to identify an individual as a member. Ford, 761 F.3d 641, 649 (6th Cir.) (gang-tattoo evidence “is relevant because it demonstrates the relationship amongst the co-conspirators”), cert.
This was true of the testimony regarding specific criminal actions, Accordingly, we cannot say on these specific facts that “it is more probable than not that the error materially affected the verdict.” United States v.