An El Dorado County man was sentenced Monday to three months in federal prison for diverting to his own address mail meant for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians.
The band is a tribe made up of Miwok, Maidu and Nisenan Indians that governs the Shingle Springs Rancheria, a 160-acre reservation in El Dorado County, and owns and operates the Red Hawk Casino.
Cesar Caballero, 42, contests the tribe's use of the name, claiming a tribe with which he is affiliated is the real Shingle Springs Band of Miwoks. In August 2010 he submitted three change-of-address orders at the Shingle Springs post office routing mail addressed to the Shingle Springs Rancheria to Caballero's address in the community of El Dorado.
On Aug. 30, after a 2 1/2-hour non-jury trial, U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan found Caballero guilty on three misdemeanor counts of obstructing the mail.
In December 2008, the tribe sued Caballero in federal court, alleging trade-name and trademark infringement. The civil lawsuit, which is still pending, asks for a permanent injunction prohibiting Caballero from posing as the tribe's representative and for punitive damages against him.
In the course of the civil action, Caballero has managed to keep U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez riled by refusing to obey the judge's directives. As a result, Caballero has spent 2 1/2 months in jail in accord with civil contempt orders issued by Mendez. He was most recently released April 5.
In urging a 30-day sentence Monday, Caballero's criminal-defense attorney, Joseph Wiseman, noted to Brennan that his client was "released after coming into compliance with (Mendez's) order.
This shows that a brief incarceration can have the desired effect on his behavior."
Brennan was not persuaded.
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