Friday, September 14, 2012

United States v. Park case brief

United States v. Park Defendant, president of food company, was charged with knowledge of and failure to comply with a federal statute requiring for food to be uncontaminated when it reaches the public. Defendant pleads not guilty because of size of the company and the fact that the knowledge of the sanitation of the warehouses was a delegable responsibility (he’s the president – he doesn’t have info on day to day)
  • The court finds that the prosecution does not have the burden of establishing a “wrongful action” on the part of Park. It is sufficient that the prosecution establish a prima facie case that D, by reason of his position in the corporation, had the authority and responsibility to prevent the unsanitary condition and after it was discovered promptly correct it. He failed to do so, so his conviction stands.
    • The duty imposed on responsible corporate agents is one that requires the highest standard of foresight and vigilance, but the Act, in its criminal aspect, does not require that which is objectively possible.
  • Notes: Under this doctrine, the prosecutor must present sufficient evidence "to warrant a finding by the trier of the facts that the defendant had, by reason of his position in the corporation, responsibility and authority either to prevent in the first instance, or promptly to correct, the violation complained of, and that he failed to do so."
  • Although a defendant can raise a defense that he was powerless to correct the violation, federal courts have been slow to recognize situation sin which it was "objectively impossible" to avoid the harm.

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