United States v. Garcia-Morales, No. 17-50323 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for attempted transport of aliens and rejected his claim of prosecutorial misconduct. Specifically, defendant alleged that the prosecution committed misconduct by introducing evidence of, and commenting on, his post-arrest silence at trial. However, the panel held that defendant was not silent in response to an agent's questioning on the topic of his coconspirators, and it was not error for the prosecution to introduce evidence of, and comment on, that part of the interrogation including argument characterizing defendant as being evasive about other people involved in smuggling. Therefore, the prosecution properly relied on admissible evidence to rebut the theory that defendant had always intended to turn aliens he picked up over to border patrol.