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United States v. Gonzalez

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 9, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ISIDORO ZUÑIGA GONZALEZ, of Mexico. Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER CERTIFYING EXTRADITABILITY

FREDERICK F. MUMM, Magistrate Judge.

I.

INTRODUCTION

The United Mexican States ("Mexico") has requested the extradition of Isidoro Zuñiga Gonzalez (the "fugitive") pursuant to the Extradition Treaty between the United States of America ("United States" or "government") and Mexico, signed at Mexico City on May 4, 1978 ("Extradition Treaty"), and entered into force January 25, 1980. See T.I.A.S. No. 9656, 31 U.S.T. 5059, 1980 WL 309106 (Jan. 25, 1980).

II.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On January 21, 2002, the First Judge of the Court of First Instance for Criminal Matters of the Judicial District of San Juan del Rio, Queretaro, Mexico issued a warrant for the arrest of the fugitive on charges of aggravated homicide. (Government's Filing of (1) Redacted Copy of Formal Extradition Papers, and (2) Request for Extradition (herein after "Gov't Ex."), filed March 18, 2013, A-1 at 20-41.) On April 3, 2009, Mexico requested the fugitive's extradition from the United States. (12-2972-M, CM/ECF ("ECF") No. 1, Ex. A.) Supplemental extradition requests were issued on May 27, 2010 and April 30, 2012. ( Id. at Exs. B, C.)

On December 20, 2012, the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued a warrant for the arrest of the fugitive pursuant to Mexico's extradition request. ( Id. at ECF No. 2.) The fugitive was arrested on December 21, 2012. ( Id. at ECF No. 5.)

On May 15, 2013, the government filed a Memorandum of Points and Authorities Regarding Extradition. (CV 13-1867, ECF No. 25.) On June 13, 2013, the fugitive filed an Opposition[1] to Government's Memorandum of Points and Authorities Regarding Extradition. ( Id. at ECF No. 31.) On July 17, 2013, the government filed a Reply. ( Id. at ECF No. 36.) On August 7, 2013, the Court held an extradition hearing on this matter.

This matter was subsequently transferred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge. The Court has considered the record compiled in this case and reviewed the transcript of the August 7, 2013, extradition hearing.

III.

EVIDENCE PRESENTED

Dating back many years, there existed a feud between the families of Alejandro Bautista Osornio[2] (the "victim") and his half-brother Angel Zuñiga Bautista. (Gov't Ex. A-1 at 25, 53-54, 58.)[3] On the night of January 5, 2002, the victim informed his wife that he had gotten into an argument with the fugitive, Angel's son. ( Id. at 53-54.) The victim then left for a dance. ( Id. )

Members of a band that played at the dance remembered seeing the victim on the night of January 5, 2002. ( Id. at 24.) The victim was drunk and had offended members of the band and guests at the dance. ( Id. ) The band members saw the victim leave the dance at approximately 1:30 a.m. on January 6, 2002. The victim left with the fugitive and his brother Anastasio Zuñiga Gonzalez ("Anastasio") in the fugitive's white pickup truck. ( Id. at 25, 31.) When the band members saw the victim leave with the Zuñiga brothers they suspected the victim would be beaten. ( Id. at 25, 31.) The victim never returned home that night. ( Id. at 54.)

The Zuñiga brothers arrived at the home of Pedro Martinez Duran in the early morning hours of January 6, 2002. ( Id. at 29.) The victim was not with them. ( See Id. at 29.) The men drank alcohol and then the brothers left to return home. ( Id. at 29-30.)

The fugitive returned home early on the morning of January 6, 2002. ( Id. at 30.) He slept until about 10:30 a.m. and then left. ( Id. )

At about 11:00 a.m. on January 6, 2002, Pedro Gomez Bautista ("Gomez") was in the yard of his mother's home when he saw an ambulance traveling toward a nearby dam. ( Id. at 57.) Gomez ran to where a crowd of people had gathered and found the victim on his knees holding his head; he had been beaten. ( Id. at 57-58.) The victim was asked what happened, to which he only responded that "there had been two." ( Id. at 58.) The victim was transferred to the hospital, where he died from the wounds sustained in the beating. ( Id. at 26, 60-61, 63-74.) After identifying the body, the victim's wife offered law enforcement descriptions of Zuñiga family members as possible suspects in the death of her husband. ( Id. at 54-55.)

The same day, Anastasio appeared before the Agent of the Public Prosecutor. He denied having been at the dance and stated that he did not know how the victim died. The prosecutor noted that Anastasio appeared nervous, had an injury on his hand, and began to sweat and speak incoherently. ( Id. at 28.)

The fugitive returned home that evening and told his wife that he was leaving for the United States "because he already had a ticket, and that his [work] permit was getting to the due date." ( Id. at 30, 39.) The fugitive left for the United States that evening. ( Id. at 30, 39-40.)

On January 8, 2002, Anastasio gave a statement to investigators ("Anastasio's First Statement"). He detailed the feud between his family and the victim's family. ( Id. at 77-78.) Anastasio admitted attending a dance with The fugitive, arriving in the early morning hours of January 6, 2002. ( Id. at 79.) He explained that members of the band that played at the dance complained of the victim's behavior. ( Id. ) As Anastasio and the fugitive were leaving the dance in the fugitive's white pickup truck, the victim asked for a ride. ( Id. at 79.) About 10 minutes into the drive, the victim became confrontational. ( Id. ) Anastasio asked the fugitive to stop the truck so that Anastasio and the victim could "kick each other's asses." ( Id. ) The fugitive stopped and Anastasio pulled the frightened victim out of the truck. ( Id. ) Anastasio kicked the victim and he fell to the ground. ( Id. ) The fugitive then exited the truck and he and Anastasio proceeded to beat the victim. ( Id. at 79-80.) After beating the victim for about five minutes, Anastasio and the fugitive got back in the truck and left, leaving the victim lying on the ground. ( Id. at 80.)

On January 9, 2002, Anastasio led investigators through a crime scene reconstruction consistent with the statement he provided on the day prior, except he claimed that after he pulled the victim from the truck he thought the victim was reaching for something under his clothes ("Anastasio's Second Statement"). ( Id. at 83-86.)

On August 11, 2009, members of the band that played at the dance identified a photograph of the fugitive as being Isidoro Zuñiga Gonzalez. (Gov't Ex. A-2.) On November 7, 2011, the victim's wife identified the fugitive from a photographic lineup as being the person she knows as Isidoro Zuñiga Gonzalez. (Gov't Ex. A-1 at 88.)

Expert reports concluded that the victim's injuries were caused by at least two different perpetrators. (Gov't Ex. A-1 at Ex.11 at 25.)

IV.

STANDARD FOR CERTIFICATION OF ...


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