Justia U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

United States v. Vazquez-Hernandez

By
Defendant appealed his conviction for attempted illegal reentry and noted that the district court's instruction at trial failed to properly inform the jury of the essential elements of the offense. Petitioner frequently earned money washing car windows at the Mariposa port of entry into the United States. Petitioner was arrested by border patrol agents one day when he was washing windows. The court concluded that the lack of instruction to the jury that petitioner had to have a conscious desire to reenter the United States free from official restraint to be found guilty of the crime of attempted illegal reentry was plain error. In this case, if properly instructed on the official restraint doctrine, no rational jury could have concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that petitioner was free from official restraint in the pre-inspection area, or that he intended to be simply by entering that area. Likewise, there was insufficient evidence in the record to support petitioner's guilt on the theory that he intended to go beyond the pre-inspection area so as to be free to go at large and at will within the United States. Accordingly, the court vacated the conviction and remanded for a judgment of acquittal View "United States v. Vazquez-Hernandez" on Justia Law