Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Mendoza

filed*fn*: January 25, 1994.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ENRIQUE MENDOZA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. D.C. No. CR-92-00231-EHC. Earl H. Carroll, District Judge, Presiding

Before: Reinhardt, O'scannlain, and Kleinfeld, Circuit Judges.

MEMORANDUM

Enrique Mendoza appeals his conviction following jury trial for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Mendoza contends (1) the district court erred by failing to instruct the jury on his theory of the defense and (2) the government's loss of certain evidence necessitates a new trial. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm.

I

Theory of Defense Instruction

We review de novo whether other jury instructions adequately cover the defense theory of the case. United States v. Gomez-Osorio, 957 F.2d 636, 642 (9th Cir. 1992). "It is not error, . . . , to reject a theory-of-the-case instruction if the other instructions in their entirety cover the defense theory." United States v. Lopez, 885 F.2d 1428, 1434 (9th Cir. 1989), overruled on other grounds, Schmuck v. United States, 489 U.S. 705, 103 L. Ed. 2d 734, 109 S. Ct. 1443 (1989), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 1032 (1990).

Here, Mendoza claims his defense theory was that he did not know about the drugs found in the secret compartment of the truck. Mendoza requested that the jury be instructed that "If, after a consideration of all the evidence, you have a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew there were drugs in the vehicle, you must find the defendant not guilty." The district court declined to give the instruction because it was duplicitive and covered by other instructions.*fn1

Upon review of the instructions given, we hold that the instructions given adequately cover the defense theory. Accordingly, the district court did not err by refusing to give the specific instruction requested by Mendoza. See Lopez, 885 F.2d at 1434.

II

Alleged Loss of Evidence

We review de novo whether the government's failure to preserve potentially exculpatory evidence violated due process. United States v. Cooper, 983 F.2d 928, 931 (9th Cir. 1993).

To constitute a due process violation, the destroyed evidence must have an exculpatory value that was apparent before it was destroyed and be "'of such a nature that the defendant would be unable to obtain comparable evidence by other reasonably available means.'" Id. (quoting California v. Trombetta, 467 U.S. 479, 489, 81 L. Ed. 2d 413, 104 S. Ct. 2528 (1984)); see also United States v. Lillard, 929 F.2d 500, 504 (9th Cir. 1991). In addition, the defendant must demonstrate that the law-enforcement officers acted in bad faith in failing to preserve the evidence. Cooper, 983 F.2d at 931 (citing Arizona v. Youngblood, 488 U.S. 51, 58, 102 L. Ed. 2d 281, 109 S. Ct. 333 (1988)).

Mendoza alleges that customs agents lost his birth certificate and he was prejudiced because the certificate was necessary to substantiate his claim that after having driven across the border into the United States, he returned on foot to the inspection station in order to retrieve the certificate. At trial, Customs Officer Thomas Williams testified that Mendoza, upon being arrested after returning to the border, told him that he had walked back to the inspection station to retrieve his birth certificate.

We hold that Mendoza was not prejudiced by the alleged loss of the birth certificate. Customs Officer Williams' testimony concerning Mendoza's statement that he had returned to the inspection station to retrieve the birth certificate served the same purpose for which Mendoza intended to use the birth certificate. See Cooper, 983 F.2d at 931. Further, Mendoza has failed to show how his desire to retrieve a birth certificate constitutes ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.