United States v. Arreguin, 042211 FED9, 09-50552

Docket Nº:09-50552
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. OMAR ARREGUIN, Defendant-Appellant.
Judge Panel:Before: GOODWIN, D.W. NELSON, and N.R. SMITH, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:April 22, 2011
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,


OMAR ARREGUIN, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 09-50552

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

April 22, 2011


Argued and Submitted February 11, 2011 Pasadena, California

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California No. 5:08-cr-00161-VAP-1Virginia A. Phillips, District Judge, Presiding

Before: GOODWIN, D.W. NELSON, and N.R. SMITH, Circuit Judges.


Omar Arreguin entered a conditional guilty plea to a two-count indictment charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841. Pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement, Arreguin now challenges the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained in a warrantless search of his residence by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as statements he made to the agents following his arrest. Arreguin contests: (1) the district court's factual findings; (2) the district court's finding that Arreguin's written consent to a search of the residence was voluntary; and (3) the district court's conclusion that an overnight guest, Elias Valencia, possessed authority to consent to the agents' entry and search.

For the reasons that follow, we affirm the district court's order in part, reverse in part and remand for further proceedings. Because the parties are familiar with the facts of the case, we do not recite them here except as necessary to explain our decision.

1. The District Court's Factual Findings

At the suppression hearing, defense witnesses testified to a version of events regarding the agents' search of the residence that differed sharply from the testimony of the Government's sole witness, Special Agent John Rubio. In denying Arreguin's motion, the district court specifically found "the Government's witness['s] version of the events surrounding the task force's entry into the residence more credible than those of the defense witnesses." In particular, the district court found credible Agent Rubio's "testimony that Valencia opened the door in the presence of the other adult occupants [Arreguin and his wife], without any objection on their parts, " and consented to the agents' entry and search of the house.

While failing to contest these findings in his opening brief, Arreguin's counsel stated at oral argument that this issue was implicit in his reliance on the testimony of defense witnesses in his opening brief.1 Despite the presentation of contradictory testimony, Arreguin has failed to identify any evidence suggesting that the district court's credibility determination was...

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