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United States v. Holmes

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 12, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Jason Holmes, Defendant - Appellant; United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Juan Antonio Castaneda Rendon, also known as Tony, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted January 17, 2014.

Page 847

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 848

Appeals from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee (13-1660): Marsha Wardlaw Clevenger, Anne E. Gardner, Chris Givens, Cameron Charles McCree, Alexander D. Morgan, U.S. Attorney's Office, Little Rock, AR.

Jason Holmes, Defendant - Appellant (13-1660), Pro se, Forrest City, AR.

For Jason Holmes, Defendant - Appellant (13-1660): James Phillips, Little Rock, AR.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee (13-1661): Marsha Wardlaw Clevenger, Anne E. Gardner, Chris Givens, Cameron Charles McCree, Alexander D. Morgan, U.S. Attorney's Office, Little Rock, AR.

For Juan Antonio Castane Rendon, also known as: Tony, Defendant - Appellant (13-1661): Richard Eugene Holiman, Little Rock, AR.

Juan Antonio Castane Rendon, also known as: Tony, Defendant - Appellant (13-1661), Pro se, Safford, AZ.

Before GRUENDER, BENTON, and KELLY, Circuit Judges. KELLY, Circuit Judge, concurring.

OPINION

Page 849

BENTON, Circuit Judge.

A jury convicted Jason Lee Holmes and Juan Antonio Castaneda Rendon of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), and 846. They appeal, arguing that the district court[1] erred in admitting expert testimony on narco-saints. Holmes also argues that a limiting instruction should have been given on the narco-saint testimony, that there was insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction, and that the district court committed sentencing errors. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.

I.

As the first witness, the government called Robert R. Almonte, the United States Marshal for the Western District of Texas, as an expert on the iconography of the Mexican drug underworld. He linked to drug trafficking several images and shrines in the home of Rendon and Christian Maldonado, a co-conspirator. Almonte's testimony focused on images of JesĂș s Malverde, a " narco-saint" hailed as a " Mexican Robin Hood." Almonte also testified that Malverde is a patron saint of the poor, noting that many not ...


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