In the following case, how did the prosecution get a RICO conviction?United States v. Fernandez, 388 F3.d 1199 (9th Cir. 2004), cert. denied 544 U.S. 1043 (2005)

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krcavnar | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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A defendant is guilty of conspiracy to violate § 1962(c) if the evidence shows that he or she knowingly agreed to facilitate a scheme that includes the operation or management of a RICO enterprise. United States v. Fernandez, 388 F.3d 1199, 1230 (9th Cir.2004), cert. denied, 555 U.S. 1043 (2005).   In  Fernandez, the Prosecution presented evidence the appellants were involved in different aspects of the Eme's or the Mexican Mafia’s enterprise from drug trafficking by street gangs.  Testimony was given that the Defendants used fear, force and intimidation to gather taxes or “contributions” from other gang members from drug sales.  The government presented hours of taped conversations which corroborated the” appellants' efforts to organize and tax the drug distribution of street gangs.”

To get a RICO conviction you must show an enterprise which is “ (1)an ongoing organization, formal or informal, (2) which exhibits a hierarchical or consensual decision-making structure beyond that inherent in the alleged racketeering activity, and (3) in which the various associates function as a continuing unit.”  In this case the Court stated:

“Wiretap evidence showed, and several witnesses testified, that the Eme was a criminal organization of long standing, with a well-defined set of rules that were enforced by violence or the threat of violence,15 consistent procedures for recruitment and advancement, and the overall goal of controlling Latino gangs in southern California by maintaining and projecting its power both inside and outside of prison.”

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