United States v. Andres A. Lopez-Martinez

Case: 17-11097 Date Filed: 03/29/2018 Page: 1 of 9 [DO NOT PUBLISH] IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT ________________________ No. 17-11097 Non-Argument Calendar ________________________ D.C. Docket No. 1:15-cr-00391-MHC-RGV-1 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, versus ANDRES A. LOPEZ-MARTINEZ, Defendant-Appellant. ________________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ________________________ (March 29, 2018) Before WILSON, MARTIN, and JORDAN, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM: Case: 17-11097 Date Filed: 03/29/2018 Page: 2 of 9 Andres Lopez-Martinez appeals his conviction and sentence for naturalization fraud. He argues that the district court denied him the right to present a complete defense and that the prosecutor’s closing argument inappropriately and incorrectly referred to excluded evidence. Lopez-Martinez argues these errors warrant a vacation of the judgment and a new trial. After careful consideration, we affirm. I. Lopez-Martinez originally immigrated to the United States in 1988. He arrived in Oregon and took on work picking strawberries. His job as an agricultural worker helped him get legal status as a permanent resident in 1990. In 1997 Lopez-Martinez moved in with the Santos family. The Santos had two daughters under twelve, A.S. and J.S. About two years later, Lopez-Martinez was investigated by local police for allegedly molesting the Santos girls. Lopez- Martinez denied the allegations and moved out. He then left the country to visit his family in Guatemala. Lopez-Martinez returned to the United States about three months later, this time arriving in Canton, Georgia. He stayed in Georgia after he got a job making more money than he had working two jobs in Oregon. Nearly thirteen years after the events in Oregon, Lopez-Martinez applied for naturalization. On the application and in an interview with a government officer, he said that he had 2 Case: 17-11097 Date Filed: 03/29/2018 Page: 3 of 9 never “committed an offense for which [he was] not arrested.” Lopez-Martinez became a United States citizen on December 7, 2012. In the meantime, back in 2001, a grand jury in Oregon issued an indictment charging Lopez-Martinez with a number of crimes. It wasn’t until 2013, however, that police were able to find Lopez-Martinez in Georgia and arrest him. Lopez- Martinez was brought back to Oregon for prosecution and faced a prison sentence of up to 500 months if convicted. He pled guilty to two counts of unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree and received a 100-month sentence. While Lopez-Martinez was serving his state sentence, the federal government indicted him for naturalization fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1425(a). The government charged that, based on the Oregon charges and conviction, Lopez-Martinez knowingly lied when he said he had never committed a crime for which he was not arrested. Before trial, Lopez-Martinez filed a motion in limine, asking the district court to exclude evidence of his Oregon guilty plea. He argued that plea was unconstitutional because it was the product of coercion; it was not entered into knowingly and voluntarily; and his court-appointed counsel was constitutionally ineffective during the ...

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