United States v. Adriana Montes-De Oca

Case: 19-50770 Document: 00515476227 Page: 1 Date Filed: 07/02/2020 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED No. 19-50770 July 2, 2020 Lyle W. Cayce UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Clerk Plaintiff - Appellee v. ADRIANA MONTES-DE OCA, Defendant - Appellant Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas USDC No. 3:19-CR-1508-1 USDC No. 3:19-MJ-549-1 Before KING, GRAVES, and OLDHAM, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM:* Adriana Montes-De Oca appeals her conviction following a bench trial for the misdemeanor offense of eluding examination or inspection by Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) officers in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a)(2). She argues that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction. For the following reasons, we affirm. * 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 R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH CIR.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: 19-50770 Document: 00515476227 Page: 2 Date Filed: 07/02/2020 No. 19-50770 STANDARD OF REVIEW Where an appeal involves the district court’s affirming a misdemeanor conviction by a magistrate judge (“MJ”), we review “the magistrate judge’s findings of fact for clear error and conclusions of law de novo.” United States v. Vasquez-Hernandez, 924 F.3d 164, 168 (5th Cir. 2019) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). We also consider “the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, deferring to the reasonable inferences of fact drawn by the trial court.” United States v. Lee, 217 F.3d 284, 288 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing United States v. Cardenas, 9 F.3d 1139, 1156 (5th Cir. 1993)). “[A] finding is ‘clearly erroneous’ when, although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” United States v. U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948). “Where there are two permissible views of the evidence, the factfinder’s choice between them cannot be clearly erroneous.” Cooter & Gell v. Hartmarx Corp., 496 U.S. 384, 400-01 (1990) (citation and quotation omitted); see also United States v. Yellow Cab Co., 338 U.S. 338, 342 (1949) (finding that a trial court’s “choice between two permissible views of the weight of evidence is not ‘clearly erroneous’” where the evidence “would support a conclusion either way”). BACKGROUND On an evening in January 2019, Montes-De Oca walked northbound on the Bridge of the Americas Port of Entry, which connects Ciudad Juárez, Mexico with El Paso, Texas. The bridge is comprised of several lanes for traffic traveling northbound and southbound. In the northbound lanes from Mexico into the United States, passenger vehicle lanes are aligned to the east with one pedestrian lane called a “catwalk” which is aligned to the east by cargo export lanes. For safety reasons, the pedestrian “catwalk” is fully enclosed with mesh caging and no access points to the vehicle lanes. A pedestrian passing over the 2 Case: 19-50770 Document: ...

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