A federal appeals court has upheld the hate crime conviction of a New Mexico man who participated in branding a swastika on the arm of a Navajo man with mental disabilities.
The ruling in the case of William Hatch was filed this week by a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Hatch was part of a trio that lured Vincent Kee from a McDonald's in Farmington to an apartment where they used a metal coat hanger to burn the swastika onto Kee's arm.
The Daily Times reports that Hatch's lawyer argued unsuccessfully that adding federal hate crime charges on top of state charges undermined state sovereignty by granting the government unbridled and unneeded discretion.
The court rejected that argument and upheld Hatch's conspiracy conviction.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.