As a state legislator Hayden was a leading proponent of gang peace efforts, including Homies Unidos, and testified for asylum in the Alex Sanchez case.

The gang conspiracy case against Alex Sanchez was transferred to the jurisdiction of a new federal judge today after weeks of community protest alleging bias by Judge Manuel Real. The decision was rendered by a judicial status conference in a closed chamber December 2. Supporters of Alex Sanchez saw the ruling as a major change for the better.

The new judge assigned to the case is Judge Christina Snyder, 61, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997 on the recommendation of California senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Judge Snyder is a Pomona College alumna (1969) and a Stanford Law School graduate (1972). In an important recent decision, she ruled against California state Medicare cuts in 2008. Little is known about her approach to juvenile justice or police reform issues. She was in private practice for twenty-five years before her appointment to the federal bench.

Anonymous evaluations by parties who have appeared before her are mixed. They range from “definitely one of the few good judges left” to “there has been a sea change in her temperament and demeanor…. she is short, impatient and biased in favor of the government.”

Judge Real’s denial of bail has been appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which has the option to remand the issue to the new judge. The Sanchez defense team is weighing a motion to sever Sanchez from the case, which now involves twenty-four alleged Mara Salvatrucha members indicted on a range of issues.