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United States v. Cortes-Meza

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
685 Fed. Appx. 731 (2017)


The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Amador Cortes-Meza (Cortes) (defendant) on several counts related to human trafficking and sex trafficking, including illegally bringing aliens into the United States and harboring them for purposes of prostitution, in violation of 8 U.S.C. §§ 1324(a)(1)(A)(i) and 1328. Cortes admitted bringing Mexican women into the United States illegally, but he said the women came voluntarily, and chose to work as prostitutes. At trial, several of the women testified that Cortes lured them into coming here, and then coerced them into prostitution by repeatedly subjecting them to rape, severe beatings, and psychological torment. Federal immigration officials, as well as physicians who treated the women, corroborated various aspects of the women's testimony. Over Cortes's objection, the federal district court judge admitted entries that the women made in their diaries while they were under Cortes's control. These entries described the depression and hopelessness the women felt due to the oppressive atmosphere created by Cortes's abuse. The jury convicted Cortes on all counts. On appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Cortes argued that the judge abused his discretion by admitting the diary entries.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Carnes, J.)

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