USA v. Alexander Ortega
UNPUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [14-40530 Affirmed ] Judge: ECP , Judge: PRO , Judge: JEG. Mandate pull date is 05/29/2015 for Appellant Alexander Ortega [14-40530]
Date Filed: 05/08/2015
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
United States Court of Appeals
May 8, 2015
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Lyle W. Cayce
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Texas
USDC No. 1:12-CR-68-1
Before PRADO, OWEN, and GRAVES, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM: *
Alexander Ortega appeals from his conviction of conspiracy to possess
more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute
5.1 kilograms of methamphetamine, conspiracy to import more than 50 grams
of methamphetamine, and importation of 5.1 kilograms of methamphetamine.
He argues that the district court committed reversible error by admitting the
record of his prior border crossings into evidence.
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 R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not
be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH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. R. 47.5.4.
Date Filed: 05/08/2015
“This court applies a highly deferential standard in reviewing a district
court’s evidentiary rulings, reversing only for abuse of discretion. Even then,
the error is not reversible unless the defendant was prejudiced.” United States
v. Booker, 334 F.3d 406, 411 (5th Cir. 2003). This court looks first at whether
the extrinsic offense evidence is relevant to an issue other than the defendant’s
character and next looks at whether the evidence possesses probative value
that is not substantially outweighed by its undue prejudice. See United States
v. Beechum, 582 F.2d 898, 911 (5th Cir. 1978) (en banc). The evidence must
also satisfy the requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 403. Id.
The evidence of Ortega’s prior border crossings was offered for an
admissible purpose, namely, to show his knowledge of and familiarity with the
Brownsville border crossing. Moreover, Agent Jupe specifically admitted that
the information was not evidence of any crime or proof that Ortega was
involved in drug trafficking. The evidence was probative of Ortega’s knowing
participation in the conspiracy because it would have made it easier for him to
direct other, less knowledgeable individuals through the area.
testimony provided by Ortega’s coconspirators, it is unlikely that evidence of
Ortega’s purportedly innocent border crossings had any prejudicial impact on
the jury. As such, the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting
Booker, 334 F.3d at 411.
Accordingly, the judgment is
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