from the United States District for the District of New
Mexico (D.C. No. 1:15-CR-02732-JAP-1)
G. Elsenheimer, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Offic
Defender for the District of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New M
R.W. Braun, Assistant United States Attorney (James D.
Tierney, Acting United States Attorney, on the brief) Office
of the United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico,
Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Plaintiff - Appellee.
MATHESON, MCKAY, and MCHUGH, Circuit Judges.
MATHESON, Circuit Judge.
convicted Shane Roach of coercing D.G. into prostitution in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a)(1). Mr. Roach recruited
D.G. and, with help from Angela Santillanes, prostituted D.G.
to clients. D.G. became scared and reached out for help,
leading to Mr. Roach's and Ms. Santillanes's arrests.
Government charged Mr. Roach and Ms. Santillanes under §
1591(a)(1), but after Ms. Santillanes agreed to testify
against Mr. Roach, it dropped her charge. At trial, Mr. Roach
attempted to cross-examine Ms. Santillanes about three
topics. The Government successfully objected.
appeal, Mr. Roach argues that the district court's
rulings preventing cross-examination violated (1) the
Confrontation Clause and (2) the Federal Rules of Evidence,
and because these errors were not harmless, we must vacate
his conviction and remand for a new trial.
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm Mr.
Roach's conviction because (1) Mr. Roach waived his
Confrontation Clause arguments, and (2) any error in limiting
his cross-examination under the evidence rules was harmless.
April 2015, Mr. Roach found D.G.'s advertisement on
Backpage.com ("Backpage"), a website where
prostitutes solicit clients, and offered to be her pimp. On
their second in-person meeting, she agreed.
May to June 2015, Mr. Roach and Ms. Santillanes managed the
prostitution operation, advertising D.G.'s services on
Backpage and arranging for her to meet clients in motels and
hotels. Clients scheduled an appointment through
"Diamond"-Ms. Santillanes's alias-who then
would inform Mr. Roach. He would then contact D.G. through a
prepaid TracFone he bought for her. The client would meet
D.G. in her room, and she would collect payment after the sex
act. She saw three to six clients a day. Mr. Roach would then
collect the money from her.
Roach controlled the enterprise and D.G.'s activities. He
chose her rates, selected her clients, and kept the proceeds.
D.G. testified that he controlled her contact with others, in
part by keeping her identification (e.g., driver's
license) and her personal cellphone. In his testimony, Mr.
Roach disputed the level of control he had outside of client
The Arrests and Search
2015, D.G. started to fear that Mr. Roach was going to send
her to another pimp. She notified Life Link, an organization
that offers "program[s] for victims of human
trafficking." ROA, Vol. III at 514. It contacted the
Albuquerque Police Department. Police then contacted D.G., and
she eventually disclosed her location. The police removed her
from her motel room and interviewed her. She divulged Mr.
Roach's first name, identified him in an online
photograph, and identified his car.
further investigation, officers obtained a warrant to track
and search Mr. Roach's car and to search his residence.
After tracking his car's location, they stopped it,
discovered Mr. Roach and Ms. Santillanes inside, and arrested
them. Executing the search warrant, law enforcement searched
Mr. Roach's Albuquerque apartment and found prepaid gift
cards that had been used to purchase advertisements on
First Indictment, Government Deal, and Superseding
2015, a grand jury indicted Mr. Roach and Ms. Santillanes on
one count of sex trafficking by means of force, threats,
fraud, and coercion in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1591(a)(1). The Government made a deal with Ms. Santillanes:
she agreed to testify against Mr. Roach in exchange for
having her charge dismissed. In April 2016, a superseding
indictment charged Mr. Roach alone with violating §
Roach filed a pretrial motion to cross-examine Ms.
Santillanes regarding her dismissed charge. He also filed a
set of three pretrial motions to cross-examine Ms.
Santillanes about her prior and current involvement in
prostitution. The district court granted Mr. Roach's
first motion and denied the others.
Roach's trial spanned four days. This appeal concerns the
testimony of three witnesses: D.G., Ms. Santillanes, and Mr.
Roach. We provide an overview of their testimony
testified about her initial meeting with Mr. Roach,
day-to-day activities working for him, and her escape. She
also testified about specific instances when Mr. Roach was
controlling and violent, stating that he isolated her from
the outside world using violence, intimidation, and threats.
Santillanes corroborated much of D.G.'s testimony. She
confirmed that Mr. Roach had been both controlling and
violent toward D.G. The district court limited defense
counsel's cross-examination on three lines of
questioning: (1) the length of Ms. Santillanes's
potential sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a)(1), (2)
lying to her pretrial services officer about residing with
her grandparents, and (3) her potential fraud scheme with the
prepaid gift cards discovered in Mr. Roach's apartment.
Mr. Roach contests these limitations on appeal.
Roach confirmed that he, Ms. Santillanes, and D.G. had
engaged in a commercial prostitution enterprise, but he
denied controlling D.G. through violence, intimidation, and
threats. He disputed D.G.'s testimony about specific
instances of violence and intimidation, but did admit that he
hit her at least once. He characterized their professional
relationship as consensual and supportive.
The Verdict and Sentence
jury found Mr. Roach guilty. The district court imposed a
sentence of 180 months in prison. Roach filed this timely
appeal, Mr. Roach argues that the district court improperly
barred his cross-examination of Ms. Santillanes on the three
topics identified above.
he argues the district court violated the Confrontation
Clause because it "limited [his] cross-examination of
Ms. Santillanes to such an extent that the jury did not
receive sufficient information to make a discriminating
appraisal of Ms. Santillanes'[s] motives and bias."
Aplt. Br. at 36. We hold that Mr. Roach waived his
Confrontation Clause arguments because he failed to raise
them below and did not argue plain error on appeal.
he argues in the alternative that the court abused its
discretion under the Federal Rules of Evidence. See
Aplt. Reply Br. at 4. But even assuming a rules violation, we
hold any error was harmless.
therefore affirm Mr. Roach's conviction.
Roach not only failed to make a Confrontation Clause argument
below, his failure to argue plain error ...