Skip to main content

10th Circuit

USA v. De la Cruz (10th Cir. Jan 9, 2013)
EBEL Briscoe Seymour

Summary:  ICE agents performed a Terry stop on someone dropping off his brother for work at a carwash, without articulable reasonable suspicion.  He was charged with illegal reentry, after fingerprints showed that he had been previously removed.  The 10th Cir reversed the denial of a suppression motion, finding no good reason for the stop.  It also rejected the district court’s alternate holding, that the identity of the defendant could never be suppressed. 

The district court based its conclusion on language in Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032 (1984). In Lopez-Mendoza, a case addressing civil deportation hearings, the Supreme Court noted that “[t]he ‘body’ or identity of a defendant or respondent in a criminal or civil proceeding is never itself suppressible as a fruit of an unlawful arrest, even if it is conceded that an unlawful arrest, search, or interrogation occurred.” Id. at 1039. Lopez-Mendoza, however, does not “exempt[] from the ‘fruits’ doctrine all evidence that tends to show a defendant’s identity.” United States v. Olivares-Rangel, 458 F.3d 1104, 1111 (10th Cir. 2006). Rather, Lopez-Mendoza’s “statement that the ‘body’ or identity of a defendant are ‘never suppressible’ applies only to cases in which the defendant challenges the jurisdiction of the court over him or her based upon the unconstitutional arrest, not to cases in which the defendant only challenges the admissibility of the identity-related evidence.” Olivares-Rangel, 458 F.3d at 1111. 

Read the opinion here.