United States v. Escobar-Gonzalez, No. 12-4657-cr (2d Cir. Nov. 21, 2013) (Pooler, Raggi, and Wesley) (summary order), available hereThis summary order holds that the evidence was sufficient to support the defendant's conviction of transporting a minor interstate to engage in illegal sexual activity. The panel also held that the district court did not improperly rely at sentencing on a prior, uncharged rape allegation. [Disclosure: the Federal Defenders of New York represents Mr. Escobar-Gonalez.]
The facts were these: The defendant drove a group of illegal aliens from Dallas to the New York tri-state area. Toward the end of the trip, he allegedly sexually assaulted one of the aliens at a rest stop in New Jersey.
The defendant argued on appeal that the evidence was insufficient to establish that he formed the intent to commit the sexual assault before he crossed state lines, as the charged sexual crimes required. But the panel held that, given the defendant's apparent "special interest" in the victim throughout the journey, the jury reasonably could have found that the defendant's sexual motive was "more than incidental" to the trip and that he crossed state lines with the specific intent to commit a sex crime.
The panel also held that sentencing court did not improperly rely on a prior, uncharged rape allegation. First, there was no evidence that the court had considered the uncharged rape at sentencing. Second, the panel ruled, even if the court had considered the uncharged rape, it did not affect the defendant's sentence.