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. Suarez

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

December 14, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
BETILUZ SUAREZ, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUCFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the Government's Motion in Limine to Admit Evidence Under Rule 404(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence [91], and Betiluz Suarez's Motion to Strike Surplusage from the Indictment [99].

         I. BACKGROUND

         On March 8, 2017, a Northern District of Georgia grand jury returned a 13-count Indictment charging Defendants Betiluz Suarez (“Ms. Suarez”), Jose F. Polanco, and Alexander Alayo with various offenses in connection with their roles in a fraudulent marriage scheme, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371 and 1546, and Title 8, United States Code, Sections 1324 and 1325(c). ([1]). Specifically, the Indictment alleges that Ms. Suarez arranged several of the fraudulent marriages, served as the notary public for documents related to the marriages, and coached co-conspirators who engaged in the marriages in evading detection by immigration officials. All the Defendants are accused of committing these criminal acts in exchange for payments from the aliens who hoped to attain lawful status in the United States by marrying Cuban nationals. The Indictment alleges that the Defendants' conspiracy spanned from in or around April 16, 2012, through in or about March 2017.

         In its Motion in Limine, the Government alleges that on or about October 19, 2009, and January 29, 2010, Ms. Suarez arranged fraudulent marriages separate from those alleged in the Indictment. The Government seeks to introduce evidence at Ms. Suarez's trial in the form of testimony from D. Rodriguez and A. Lopez, both Uruguayan aliens, whom the Government alleges were fraudulently wed to Cuban nationals in a scheme Ms. Suarez orchestrated in a similar fashion to the indicted offenses. The Government anticipates that Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. Lopez will testify that Ms. Suarez: (1) arranged the fake marriages by introducing the couples; (2) advised the couples to live together for a time and open joint bank accounts to avoid detection; (3) notarized immigration documents that were required for the aliens to obtain a change in their legal status in the United States; and (4) received payment for arranging the fake marriages. ([91] at 5). Both proposed witnesses admitted to government agents that they married Cuban nationals to attain legal status in the United States.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard Regarding Prior Bad Acts Evidence

         “Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) ‘is a rule of inclusion, and . . . accordingly 404(b) evidence, like other relevant evidence, should not be excluded when it is central to the prosecution's case.'” United States v. Eckhardt, 466 F.3d 938, 946 (11th Cir. 2006) (citing United States v. Jernigan, 341 F.3d 1273, 1280 (11th Cir. 2003)).

         Under Rule 404(b):

Evidence of a crime, wrong, or other act is not admissible to prove a person's character in order to show that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character. . . . This evidence may be admissible for another purpose, such as proving motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident.

         Fed. R. Evid. 404. “Evidence is admissible under Rule 404(b) if: (1) it is relevant to an issue other than the defendant's character; (2) the prior act is proved sufficiently to permit a jury determination the defendant committed the act; and (3) the evidence's probative value cannot be substantially outweighed by its undue prejudice, and it must satisfy Federal Rule of Evidence 403.” Eckhardt, 466 F.3d at 946.

         B. Analysis Regarding Mr. Rodriguez's and Ms. Lopez's Proposed Testimony

         1. The Witness Testimony is Susceptible to Sufficient Proof[1]

         To admit evidence of extrinsic acts under Rule 404(b), there must be an adequate basis for the jury to conclude that the defendant actually committed the extrinsic acts sought to be admitted. See United States v. Miller, 959 F.2d 1535, 1538 (11th Cir.1992) (en banc). “The prosecution can introduce evidence of a defendant's otherwise admissible acts if the jury could find by a preponderance of the evidence that the acts did in fact occur.” ...


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.