Unpublished Disposition, 928 F.2d 409 (9th Cir. 1991)

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 928 F.2d 409 (9th Cir. 1991)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,v.Martin Trevino VARGAS, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 90-50466.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted March 8, 1991.* Decided March 12, 1991.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California; No. CR-90-0011-JSL-1, J. Spencer Letts, District Judge, Presiding.

C.D. Cal.


Before CANBY and RYMER, Circuit Judges, and WARE, District Judge** 


Martin Vargas appeals his conviction for armed bank robbery and using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, claiming that the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal under Fed. R. Crim. P. 29. We review the denial of such a motion "to determine whether, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Government, there was substantial relevant evidence produced from which the jury reasonably could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." United States v. Sarault, 840 F.2d 1479, 1487 (9th Cir. 1988); see also Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S. Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 L. Ed. 2d 560 (1979). We affirm.

* Vargas first challenges the credibility of several witnesses. He claims that Ms. Bicking conformed her testimony to the facts; Mr. Callagy's description of the car was suspect because he had an obstructed view of the car; and Inspector Tidyman's testimony concerning Vargas's confession was questionable because he testified from memory. The " [c]redibility of witnesses and the weight accorded the evidence ... are questions for the jury that are not reviewable." United States v. Burns, 701 F.2d 840, 842 (9th Cir.) (per curiam), cert. denied, 462 U.S. 1137, 103 S. Ct. 3123, 77 L. Ed. 2d 1375 (1983).


Vargas next challenges the evidence against him as being purely circumstantial. This contention is without merit. The law is clearly established that " [c]ircumstantial evidence is sufficient to sustain a conviction." United States v. Talbert, 710 F.2d 528, 530 (9th Cir. 1983) (per curiam), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1052, 104 S. Ct. 733, 79 L. Ed. 2d 192 (1984).


Vargas finally contends that the evidence was insufficient to convict because several witnesses gave conflicting testimony. In deciding whether the evidence is sufficient, we view the evidence "in the light most favorable to the government," and resolve all conflicts in testimony in its favor. United States v. Ramos, 558 F.2d 545, 546 (9th Cir. 1977). Considering the evidence in this light, we conclude the evidence was sufficient.

The record reflects that the man who robbed the Wells Fargo Bank on Grand Avenue in Santa Ana was approximately 5'8", 170 pounds, wore a hat, a ski mask, a leather jacket, black shoes, ivory pants, prescription glasses, a black shirt, black gloves and carried a white bag and a chrome revolver. A bank inventory revealed that approximately $25,000 was missing, including twelve $20 bait bills. Several witnesses claimed they saw the robber leave in a green car.

Five minutes after the robbery, Officer Hein stopped a green car about a mile and a half from the bank. In the car, Hein discovered Vargas, a 6'1" male weighing approximately 187 pounds, wearing black shoes, a black shirt and sunglasses. A subsequent investigation by Officer Cabrera revealed a hat, a ski mask, a black jacket, a white pair of pants, and black gloves in the back seat of the car. On the right front passenger floorboard where Vargas had been sitting, Cabrera found a chrome revolver and a white bag containing approximately $25,000 cash, including the bait bills from Wells Fargo Bank. On these facts, we have little difficulty holding that a rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the charged offenses beyond a reasonable doubt.



The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a); 9th Cir.R. 34-4


Honorable James Ware, United States District Judge for the Northern District of California, sitting by designation


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by 9th Cir.R. 36-3