Tuesday, August 30, 2005

US v. Johal,

No. 03-30579 (8-30-05). What if cold pills had warnings like: Possession of large quantities of these cold pills may give you reasonable cause to believe that they could be used to manufacture meth. That would certainly put defendants on notice. As it is now, a poor defendant, like here, ran a convenience store, and started selling hundred of boxes of pills to individuals. he kept the pills in the back of the store because they were being stolen, and sold the quantities to select individuals (two of whom were CIs). (Sounds like franchising to me). The first trial ended in a hung jury, with the issue of contention being "reasonable cause to believe" that the bad chemicals will be sued to manufacture illegal substances. The second trial ended in convictions. Defendant argues now that the standard of "reasonable cause" in 841(c) criminalizes conduct without a mens rea. The 9th rejects the issue, pointing to precedent in US v. Kaur, 382 F.3d 1155 (9th Cir. 2004), where the court defined the standard of "reasonable cause to believe" as requiring "to have knowledge of facts which, although not amounting to direct knowledge, would cause a reasonable person knowing the same facts, to reasonably conclude that the pseudoephedrine would be used to manufacture a controlled substance." Id. at 1156. A defendant is required to "subjectively" know facts, but that he is not required to know that manufacture is to occur. The standard of facts is not purely objective but turns on facts actually known by the defendant. Here the defendant sold in bulk quantities to repeat customers, and the CIs told the defendant specifically they ere going to make "crystal." The defendant also loses in arguing that actual production is required. The case is remanded in light of Ameline.


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