Friday, September 14, 2012

United States v. MacDonald & Watson Waste Oil Co. case brief

United States v. MacDonald & Watson Waste Oil Co.: Company president was convicted of knowingly transporting and causing the transportation of hazardous SOLID waste to a facility that did not have a permit, in violation of the RCRA. Defendant now contests his conviction.
  • Jury Instructions: When an individual defendant is also a corporate officer, the Government may prove that individual's knowledge in either of two ways: 1) demonstrate that D had actual knowledge of the act in question. 2) establish that D was a responsible officer of the corporation committing the act. In order to prove the person is a responsible officer three things must be proved: 1) it must be shown that the person is an officer of the corporation, not merely an employee; 2) the officer had direct responsibility for the activities that are alleged to be illegal. Simply being an officer or even the president is not enough; 3) the officer must have known or believed that the illegal activity of the type alleged occurred.
  • Jury instructions were erroneous because they allowed the jury to find him guilty without finding he had actual knowledge of the alleged transportation of hazardous waste
  • In a crime having knowledge as an express element, a mere showing of official responsibility under Dotterweich and Park is not an adequate substitute for direct or circumstantial proof of knowledge.

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