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US v. Suarez, No. 08-13675

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By FindLaw Staff on March 31, 2010 3:28 PM

In US v. Suarez, No. 08-13675, the court of appeals affirmed defendants' alien smuggling convictions and sentences, holding that 1) there was no reasonable basis to believe that the testimony of the aliens defendant was alleged to have smuggled would be material and favorable to him; 2) an agent's testimony regarding the contents of the affidavit in support of a wiretap provided ample support; 3) an excluded statement by a witness was made after the fact, not at the time of the incident, and thus was not an expression of state of mind; and 4) the evidence supported the district court's sentencing enhancements for special skills and substantial risk of death.

As the court wrote:  "In December 2007, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Appellants Alexis De La Cruz Suarez ("De La Cruz"), Ramon Barrabi Puentes ("Barrabi"), and Jose Vazquez ("Vazquez"), and three other co-defendants. The indictment charged the Appellants with conspiracy in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(v)(I) to commit alien smuggling in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv), and to bring aliens into the United States at a place other than a designated port of entry in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(I) ("Count 1"); and attempting to bring aliens into the United States for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(ii) and 18 U.S.C. § 2 ("Counts 2-35"). Vazquez was charged with 35 additional counts of attempting to bring aliens into the United States for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain ("Counts 36-70"). Barrabi was charged with 66 additional counts of attempting to bring aliens into the United States for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain ("Counts 36-101"). After a joint trial, a jury found the Appellants guilty as to Count 1. As to the remaining counts, the Appellants were either acquitted, or the charges were dismissed.

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