from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Texas
DENNIS, CLEMENT, and GRAVES, Circuit Judges.
E. GRAVES, JR., Circuit Judge
August 2016, Defendant-Appellant Olga Murra was convicted by
a jury of two counts of forced labor, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1589(a), and two counts of harboring an illegal
alien for profit, in violation of 8 U.S.C. §§
1324(a)(1)(A)(iii) and 1324(a)(1)(B)(i), based on conduct
toward her half-sister Vania Rodriguez and quasi-adopted
family member Ingrid Guerrero. The district court sentenced
her to seventy-two months' imprisonment. Murra now
appeals from that conviction and sentence, claiming that (1)
the district court erred by admitting the testimony of the
Government's expert witness; (2) the Government
prosecutor improperly commented on her decision not to
testify; (3) the district court erred in ruling that Mosaic
Family Services, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provided
both counseling and legal services to the victims, did not
have to produce documents that Mosaic contends are protected
by psychotherapist-patient or attorney-client privilege; and
(4) the district court erred by imposing a "vulnerable
victim" enhancement to her sentence. For the reasons
that follow, we affirm.
to the evidence and testimony presented at trial, Murra used
psychological manipulation, mental and physical abuse, and
threats of abuse to coerce both Vania and Ingrid to work for
her without pay for over a decade.
1985, while living in Mexico, Murra and her family (her
children and now-deceased husband) met Ingrid Guerrero and
her three sisters-Tania, Yuriria, and Jehan-who were living
apart from their mother and father because of a tumultuous
home life. A few years into their relationship with Murra,
the Guerreros began attending church at Murra's home,
with Murra "preaching" and leading the services.
Murra later told the sisters that they should move out of
their house and live with her, which they did.
thereafter, Murra began to inflict physical and psychological
abuse on the Guerreros. Murra would hit them with a wooden
paddle almost daily as punishment for being
"obscene" or "rebellious, " or if they
didn't agree with something she said. She made Ingrid sit
in baths of ice water because she wasn't
"pure." She forced the sisters to sleep in the
laundry room, at times for up to a week, because she felt
they needed to repent for their "sins." She would
slap the sisters, cut their hair, and tell them "nobody
will love you."
told the sisters that "she was a prophet from God."
Based on this, they believed that whatever Murra said came
directly from God. They were ordered to cut off ties with
their family, which they did-leaving them completely
dependent on Murra.
was in medical school during the time Murra lived in Mexico.
Vania and Murra used to communicate via letter, and at one
point the content of Murra's letters became increasingly
more religious. Murra claimed she was a prophet of God and
would communicate prophecies to Vania. One of Murra's
"prophecies" was that Vania had to end the
relationship with the man she was dating because the marriage
would be without God's consent or approval; she also told
Vania that the man could beat or kill her, and that if they
had a child together the child would be sick. Vania left the
man as a result and returned to Mexico. Vania never practiced
medicine because Murra told her that God did not want her to
do so. While living in Mexico, Vania witnessed Murra's
nightly paddling of the Guerreros. Murra instructed Vania to
paddle the sisters or risk being punished herself. Murra also
occasionally paddled Vania.
her sisters, and Vania were forced to work in Murra's
husband's factory making jeans five or six days a week.
And while they were ostensibly paid for their work, all of
their wages went to Murra.
that "God had told her to come to the promise[d] land,
" Murra- who is a U.S. citizen-moved with her children
to El Paso, Texas, in 1997. The Guerreros stayed behind in
Mexico to work in the jeans factory, and Ingrid took care of
Murra's husband for no compensation. Murra facilitated
the Guerreros' illegal passage into the United States in
1998. Vania entered the country illegally a year later. While
in the United States, Murra retained Vania and Ingrid's
identification documents and birth certificates. The
Guerreros did not have beds in the house in El Paso and had
to sleep on the floor or, as punishment, in the garage.
Ingrid delivered flyers and cleaned houses for Murra, who
retained all of the money Ingrid earned.
moved the group from El Paso to Fort Worth in 1999. Once in
Fort Worth, Ingrid and her sisters delivered flyers
advertising a house-cleaning service, and they and Vania
began cleaning houses. They cleaned three or four houses a
day, six days a week. Clients would pay by cash or by checks
made out to Murra, and Murra would retain all the money they
earned. They would not hold back from Murra the money they
were given by clients out of fear of punishment. Ingrid also
was forced to obtain employment as a cashier at
McDonald's and Wal-Mart under a false name and using
false identification documents that Murra had supplied.
Oftentimes, Ingrid would clean houses and work as a cashier
on the same day-getting only four hours of sleep at night.
the twelve years Ingrid lived in Fort Worth with Murra, she
never had a bed or bedroom; she was forced to sleep on the
floor. Murra continued to send the Guerreros to sleep in the
garage as punishment, as she had done in El Paso. When
confined to the garage, which was neither heated nor cooled,
the Guerreros would have to request permission to use the
constantly reminded the Guerreros that they were in the
country illegally and that they had no papers. Vania
testified that she eventually confronted Murra about her
treatment of the Guerrero sisters; Murra responded by
subjecting Vania to the same treatment from then on. Murra
threatened Vania with immigration consequences, as well,
telling her she had nowhere to go because "immigration
is going to . . . grab you, they are going to get you and
then they are going to put you in this casket and they are
going to bury you alive." Vania testified that she was
so indoctrinated by Murra that she believed that federal
immigration officials would treat an illegal alien in that
continued to exert religious-based influence over Vania and
the Guerreros. The Government proffered a tape recording that
Murra made concerning the victims' purported religious
failings. On the recording, Murra stated (translated from
Spanish), "I'm good before God because I speak the
will of God." She accused the women of existing in a
"vicious circle of mistakes and mistakes and self-pity
and laziness" and told them they were destined for hell
(an accusation that Ingrid testified Murra made every day
during the years she lived with Murra).
time, several of Murra's house cleaning clients began to
notice signs of abuse, and the victims confided in them about
Murra's treatment. Alicia Richardson testified to her
belief that Vania lost at least thirty pounds during her
employment and that she looked "very thin and
frail" and "unhealthy." Vania eventually told
Richardson that she was not being fed, that she would not be
paid for her cleaning work, and that Murra maintained her
immigration papers, which caused Vania fear regarding her
immigration status. Richardson offered to have Vania come
live with her family, and she and her husband would pay Vania
to watch their children, but Vania was "scared to
death" that Murra would have her sent back to Mexico.
Marsia Blackwell, another client, also testified as to
Vania's weight loss. Blackwell noticed Vania's
"progression of degradation . . . mentally, physically,
emotionally." Eventually, Vania emotionally recounted to
Blackwell the details of Murra's punishment, including
that she was prohibited from using the refrigerator at home
and was given rotten food to eat.
Ziegler, for whom Ingrid provided cleaning services from 2001
to 2011, testified that Ingrid looked "very thin"
and that she would clean her house despite appearing sick.
Ingrid told Ziegler about the abuse she suffered and how she
was not allowed to keep the money she earned, but she was
afraid of having nowhere to live and nowhere to go. John
Angle, for whom Ingrid provided cleaning services between
2008 and 2011, testified that Ingrid frequently looked
"run down" while cleaning his house and would clean
despite being "clearly . . . ill."
testified that the money the victims earned from house
cleaning went to fund cosmetic procedures for Murra. The
Government's analysis of Murra's expenditures between
February 2009 and May 2011 indicated that her spending, made
possible by revenue from the victims' house cleaning,
included thousands of dollars spent on salons, cosmetics,
other health and beauty products, clothes, and
home-improvement items. Review of these accounts during this
period revealed no checks written or other transfers to
Ingrid, despite $287, 000 of cleaning revenues in that
left Murra's home in October 2006, preferring the unknown
to "dying in this hell." Marsia Blackwell brought
Vania to stay with her until she was up on her feet. Vania
revealed later in group counseling sessions that Murra had
allowed her no personal freedoms and punished her by putting
her in the garage and depriving her of food and water. She
also explained that Murra would use scripture to curse her
and threaten her with an eternity in hell.
left in 2011, after feeling trapped and having suicidal
thoughts. One witness who saw Ingrid thereafter, Margarita
Delosantos, testified that In-grid was extremely upset and
fearful. Ingrid recounted to Delosantos the abuse she
suffered-that Murra subjected her to ice baths, beatings,
verbal abuse, and spiritual threats. She also told Delosantos
about Murra's practice of segregating her and her sisters
to certain areas of the house and depriving them of food.
and Vania both eventually sought help from a nonprofit
organization, Mosaic Family Services, Inc.
("Mosaic"), which specializes in
immigration-related legal and counseling services. Mosaic
ultimately referred this case to the Government for
was charged with two counts of forced labor and two counts of
harboring an illegal alien for profit, based on her treatment
of Vania and Ingrid. Both the Government and Murra submitted
evidence and testimony, though Murra elected not to testify
in her own defense. At the close of the five-day trial, the
jury found Murra guilty on all counts. The district court
entered judgment on January 27, 2017, and Murra timely filed
a notice of appeal.
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 18 U.S.C. §
briefly summarize the facts pertinent to each of the issues
to trial, the Government served notice that it intended to
call as an expert witness Dr. Shannon Wolf, a Professor of
Psychology and Counseling at ...