USA v. Cristian Escarcega


UNPUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [15-51090 Affirmed ] Judge: TMR , Judge: PRO , Judge: LHS. Mandate pull date is 05/08/2017 for Appellant Cristian Escarcega [15-51090]

Download PDF
Case: 15-51090 Document: 00513954722 Page: 1 Date Filed: 04/17/2017 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT No. 15-51090 United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED April 17, 2017 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Lyle W. Cayce Clerk Plaintiff - Appellee v. CRISTIAN ESCARCEGA, Defendant - Appellant Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas USDC No. 4:15-CR-275-1 Before REAVLEY, OWEN, and SOUTHWICK, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM:* Christian Escarcega was convicted of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and appeals denial of a motion to suppress evidence of the warrantless search of his cell phone. We affirm. This happened at the border between Mexico and the United States where the defendant was crossing into this country and put his cell phone in the custody of the border control officers. When they saw that there had been 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 R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH CIR.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. * Case: 15-51090 Document: 00513954722 Page: 2 Date Filed: 04/17/2017 No. 15-51090 a conversation between the defendant and another person who was under investigation for illegal activity, they obtained a warrant and went through the phone’s content to obtain incriminating evidence. Prior to trial, defendant moved to suppress the evidence acquired from the cell phone, which motion was denied and the appeal now is based on the authority of the Supreme Court in Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473 (2014). We apply the law as it stands under holdings of the Supreme Court. The defendant’s argument fails because of the difference between a simple arrest and the plenary power of customs officials to search for concealed merchandise. The defendant in this routine crossing of the border could expect no privacy of articles in his possession. The Supreme Court said in 1925 in Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132 at 154: “Travelers may be so stopped in crossing an international boundary because of national self-protection reasonably requiring one entering the country to identify himself as entitled to come in, and his belongings as effects which may be lawfully brought in.” Then in 1985 the Supreme Court said: “Since the founding of our Republic, Congress has granted the Executive plenary authority to conduct routine searches and seizures at the border, without probable cause or a warrant, in order to regulate the collection of duties and to prevent the introduction of contraband into this country.” United States v. Montoya de Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531, 537. The stop and search in this case were constitutionally valid. AFFIRMED. 2

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?