United States v. Valdiviez-Garza, No. 11-10105 (11th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to dismiss the indictment charging him with one count of illegal reentry by an alien who had been previously removed or deported. Defendant argued that the indictment must be dismissed because the Government was collaterally estopped from attempting to establish the essential element of alienage because a jury, in a previous federal criminal trial for illegal reentry, found against the Government on this indispensable element. Based on all of the evidence presented on the issue of defendant's alienage and considering that the evidence of the remaining three non-alienage elements was undisputed, the court concluded that "the jury's verdict of acquittal [in the 2009 trial] was based upon reasonable doubt about a single element of the crime." Accordingly, the court agreed that the Government was collaterally estopped from arguing that defendant was an alien, reversing and remanding with instructions to dismiss the indictment.