United States v. Lizarraga-Tirado

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 06-18-2015
  • Case #: 13-10530
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Kozinski for the Court; Circuit Judge Graber and Senior District Judge Ponsor.
  • Full Text Opinion

A satellite image makes no assertion, cannot be hearsay, and therefore does not violate the Confrontation Clause.

Paciano Lizarraga-Tirado, a Mexican citizen, was charged with illegal reentry as a previously removed alien following his arrest north of the United States-Mexico border. Lizarraga-Tirado testified that he was in Mexico when he was arrested, but that border patrol agents crossed into Mexico prior to his arrest. Border Patrol Agent Garcia testified that she used a GPS device to record the coordinates at the location of arrest. The government produced Google Earth satellite images to corroborate the location of the arrest. Lizarraga-Tirado objected to the admission of the satellite images as hearsay. The district court overruled the objection and admitted the satellite image. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that a satellite image makes no assertion, cannot be hearsay, and therefore does not violate the Confrontation Clause. Additionally, “a tack placed on the satellite image” without human intervention is not hearsay. Lizarraga-Tirado failed to raise the question of authentication, which is an appropriate claim to raise regarding satellite imaging. AFFIRMED.

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