ROBERTO JOSE MALDONADO RIVERA, PETITIONER V. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA No. 90-7246 In The Supreme Court Of The United States October Term, 1990 On Petition For A Writ Of Certiorari To The United States Court Of Appeals For The Second Circuit Brief For The United States In Opposition OPINION BELOW The opinion of the court of appeals (Pet. App. 7449-7549) is reported at 922 F.2d 934. JURISDICTION The judgment of the court of appeals was entered on December 12, 1990. A petition for rehearing was denied on February 4, 1991. The petition for a writ of certiorari was filed on February 28, 1991. The jurisdiction of this Court is invoked under 28 U.S.C. 1254(1). QUESTION PRESENTED Whether the district court properly admitted evidence concerning petitioner's involvement in a terrorist organization. STATEMENT Following a jury trial in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, petitioner was convicted of conspiring to commit bank robbery and to transport the proceeds in interstate and foreign commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371. He was sentenced to five years' imprisonment and fined $100,000. The court of appeals affirmed. /1/ Pet. App. 7449-7549. 1. Petitioner's conviction arose out of the September 1983 robbery of more than $7 million from a Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford, Connecticut. The robbery was planned and carried out by members of Los Macheteros (the "machete wielders"), a Puerto Rican terrorist organization, to obtain money to fund the group's activities. The evidence at trial showed that petitioner was an important figure in the organization, that he had possession of numerous documents describing the planning of the Wells Fargo robbery and subsequent transfers of the stolen funds, and that he directly participated in transporting stolen money out of the United States. Pet. App. 7457-7458; 7537-7538. 2. On appeal, petitioner argued, among other things, that the district court's instructions to the jury permitted the jury to convict him merely on the basis of his membership in Los Macheteros, without regard to his participation in the conspiracy charged in the indictment. /2/ The court of appeals rejected this claim, concluding that the district court's instructions properly limited the jury to convicting on the basis of proof of the charged conspiracy. Pet. App. 7491-7497. The court observed that the district court had specifically instructed the jurors that they were not to base a conviction merely on evidence of association with alleged conspirators. The court of appeals also noted that one defendant who conceded that he was a member of Los Macheteros was acquitted. Consequently, the court of appeals concluded that the jury could not have understood "that it was to convict defendants of conspiracy on the basis of their membership in Los Macheteros." /3/ Id. at 7496. ARGUMENT Petitioner contends (Pet. 2-7) that the district court erred in permitting the government to introduce evidence of his involvement in Los Macheteros, claiming that the admission of this evidence improperly expanded the scope of the conspiracy beyond the objectives charged in the indictment. This contention is incorrect. The indictment specifically alleged that petitioner and his co-defendants "were members of a group which called itself the 'Macheteros,' which funded its operations and activities * * * through economic expropriations including robbery" and that the object of the Wells Fargo robbery was "to obtain money for the 'Macheteros' and its members to be used to fund its operations." /4/ C.A. App. 50, 52. The evidence of petitioner's involvement in Los Macheteros' illegal activities was plainly relevant to show his knowing participation in the conspiracy to commit the offenses charged in the indictment. The government introduced evidence that petitioner was aware of the details of the planning of the robbery and the subsequent transfer of the stolen funds. See Pet. App. 7536-7538. This evidence rebutted petitioner's claim that he was not involved in the conspiracy to commit the Wells Fargo robbery and was merely an unwitting participant in the transportation of the money. Petitioner also contends (Pet. 5, 7) that the district court's admission of the challenged evidence, "without providing the appropriate cautionary instructions," violated his rights under the First Amendment by allowing the jurors to convict him solely on the basis of his association with Los Macheteros. This claim is also without merit. The trial court gave detailed instructions concerning the requirement that the government prove each defendant's knowing participation in the conspiracy. C.A. App. 247-254. The court specifically instructed the jurors that "(m)ere association of alleged conspirators without any evidence of participation does not permit an inference of guilt." Id. at 248. Thus, even assuming that petitioner had a constitutionally protected interest in associating with a terrorist organization, the district court's instructions to the jury eliminated any possibility that petitioner might be convicted merely because of his membership in Los Macheteros. CONCLUSION The petition for a writ of certiorari should be denied. Respectfully submitted. KENNETH W. STARR Solicitor General ROBERT S. MUELLER, III Assistant Attorney General NINA GOODMAN Attorney JUNE 1991 /1/ The court of appeals also affirmed the convictions of petitioner's co-defendants. One of petitioner's co-defendants is the petitioner in Segarra-Palmer v. United States, No. 90-7227. The government's brief in opposition in No. 90-7227 is being filed separately. /2/ The indictment charged that petitioner and a number of co-defendants conspired to commit three specific offenses: bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2113; theft from an interstate shipment, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 659; and transportation of stolen money in interstate and foreign commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2314. C.A. App. 50-51. /3/ The court of appeals also rejected petitioner's claims that the district court erred in allowing him to represent himself and that the evidence introduced at trial was insufficient to support his conviction. Pet. App. 7531-7539. Petitioner does not seek further review of those claims. /4/ Petitioner's suggestion (Pet. 6) that the objectives of a Section 371 conspiracy are limited to "specific statutory offenses" is incorrect. See Ingram v. United States, 360 U.S. 672, 679-680 (1959) (conspiracy may have multiple objectives, including concealment of another crime).