December 30, 2021, opinions

Designated for publication

  • U.S. v. Meals, 20-40752, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • Jones, J. (Owen, Jones, Wilson), criminal, search and seizure
    • Affirming conviction for production and possession of child pornography, on finding that Facebook did not act as a government agent when it sent a tip about the defendant’s Messenger exchange with a 15-year-old to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (“NCMEC”), and that NCMEC, even if it were a government agent, did not exceed the scope of the tip from Facebook in forwarding information to local law enforcement.
    • “Under the private search doctrine, when a private actor finds evidence of criminal conduct after searching someone else’s person, house, papers, and effects without a warrant, the government can use the evidence, privacy expectations notwithstanding. In other words, if a non-government entity violates a person’s privacy, finds evidence of a crime, and turns over the evidence to the government, the evidence can be used to obtain warrants or to prosecute.”


  • U.S. v. Davis, 19-11188, appeal from N.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Davis, Jones, Elrod), criminal, sentencing
    • Affirming 80-month sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
  • U.S. v. Arif, 19-20662, c/w 21-20120, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Smith, Stewart, Graves), criminal, sufficiency of evidence
    • Affirming conviction of conspiring to unlawfully distribute controlled substances, including Hydrocodone (also known as Norco) and Carisoprodol (also known as Soma), not for a legitimate medical purpose and outside the scope of professional practice.
  • Terry v. Martin, 20-60068, appeal from S.D. Miss.
    • per curiam (Smith, Graves, Willett), habeas corpus
    • Affirming denial of sec. 2241 petition.
  • De Andrade v. Garland, 20-60549, petition for review of BIA order
    • per curiam (Davis, Jones, Elrod), immigration
    • Denying Brazilian citizen’s petition for review of BIA order denying motion to reopen.
  • Lima-Gonzalez v. Garland, 20-60666, petition for review of BIA order
    • per curiam (Smith, Graves, Willett), immigration
    • Dismissing in part and granting in part Guatemalan citizen’s petition for review of BIA order affirming the denial of his motion to reopen proceedings and rescind the in absentia order of removal entered by the immigration judge, vacating BIA order in part and remanding for further proceedings.
  • Ornelas v. Haynes, 21-40297, appeal from E.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Smith, Stewart, Graves), prisoner suit
    • Affirming dismissal of prisoner’s claims arising from alleged retaliation for reporting of a sexual assault.
  • U.S. v. Palacios-Martinez, 21-40492, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Wiener, Dennis, Haynes), criminal, sentencing
    • Affirming 63-month sentence on conviction of illegal reentry.