Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, October 23, 2009

Quintina: Ethnicity not basis for police encounter

In U.S. v. Quintana, No. 08-12967 (Oct. 22, 2009), the Court rejected a defendant’s claim that his right to Equal Protection was violated when the police initiated a consensual encounter with him – an encounter which ultimately led to a conviction for illegal re-entry in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a) – based on their belief that he appeared to be of Middle Eastern ethnicity. The Court found that it did not need to reach the question whether a consensual encounter can give rise to an Equal Protection violation, because the record showed that the encounter in Quintana’s case was not based on Quintana’s apparent race or ethnicity, but on the police’s interest in questioning him about why he showed up a nightclub with a video camera and did not want to go in, and took flight upon seeing the police.