USA v. Fidel Valencia, et al
UNPUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [11-41165 Affirmed ] Judge: WED , Judge: RHB , Judge: JWE Mandate pull date is 04/01/2013 for Appellant Daniel Mendoza [11-41165]
Date Filed: 03/11/2013
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
United States Court of Appeals
FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
March 11, 2013
Lyle W. Cayce
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff - Appellee
Defendant - Appellant
Appeals from the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Texas
USDC No. 7:11-CR-320-1
Before DAVIS, BARKSDALE, and ELROD, Circuit Judges.
Daniel Mendoza appeals his jury conviction for conspiracy to possess, with
intent to distribute, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, in violation of 21
U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B)(vii), and 846. He challenges:
court’s denying his motion to suppress inculpatory statements, in Spanish, made
during a post-arrest interview, during which he claims he invoked his right to
counsel; and the sufficiency of the evidence for his conviction.
Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not
be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH CIR.
Date Filed: 03/11/2013
Regarding those statements, Mendoza commented in Spanish to
investigating officers about an attorney, and three translations of the statement
were suggested in the district court. Under any of the translations, Mendoza’s
statement was not sufficiently clear to invoke his right to counsel. E.g., Davis
v. United States, 512 U.S. 452, 459, 461-62 (1994) (remarking to agents “[m]aybe
I should talk to a lawyer” insufficient to require cessation of questioning).
For his sufficiency challenge, Mendoza contends the evidence failed to
prove he knowingly participated in the conspiracy. He does not dispute that
other evidence proved false his telling agents he had been at a mechanic shop
and not the warehouse. Viewing the evidence in the requisite light most
favorable to the guilty verdict, a rational juror could have reasonably inferred
from Mendoza’s concealing his presence at the warehouse: he was aware of
marijuana in the boxes of a wall-repair compound at the warehouse; and he
knowingly participated in the conspiracy when he helped load those boxes into
the tractor-trailer. E.g., United States v. Elashyi, 554 F.3d 480, 495 (5th Cir.
2008); United States v. Diaz-Carreon, 915 F.2d 951, 954-55 (5th Cir. 1990).
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