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United States v. Geisen

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

January 19, 2010, Argued; July 15, 2010, Decided; July 15, 2010, Filed

File Name: 10a0203p.06

No. 08-3655

Opinion

 [*475]  [***1]   JULIA SMITH GIBBONS, Circuit Judge. Defendant--appellant David Geisen appeals his conviction on three counts of concealing a material fact and making a false  [***2]  statement to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ("NRC") in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 and 2. On appeal, Geisen argues that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions and that the district court erred by giving a deliberate ignorance instruction  [**2] and denying a motion to admit evidence of Geisen's rejection of a pre-indictment deferred prosecution agreement. For the following reasons, we find that there was sufficient evidence to support each of Geisen's convictions and that the district court did not err in its instruction or exclusion of evidence. Therefore, we affirm.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

This case arises out of an incident that occurred in 2001 at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station ("Davis-Besse" or "the plant"), which is located on the shores of Lake Erie near Toledo, Ohio, and is owned and operated by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company ("FENOC"). Geisen began work at the plant in 1988 and, by 2000, was manager of design basis engineering. After a safety incident at a similar plant prompted the NRC to require inspections at all like plants by the end of 2001, FENOC successfully petitioned the NRC to permit Davis-Besse to operate without interruption and thus delay inspection until a scheduled refueling shutdown in spring of 2002. Geisen's role in preparing the documents that Davis-Besse submitted to the NRC and presentations given to NRC officials in furtherance of the delayed inspection gave rise to  [**3] his indictment on and subsequent conviction of three counts of concealing a material fact and making a false statement to a United States agency. During the delayed inspection, Davis-Besse found five cracked nozzle heads and a football-sized cavity caused by boric acid erosion in the head of the reactor. The finding prompted NRC investigations into previous plant inspections and, eventually, the prosecution of Geisen, systems engineer Andrew Siemaszko, and independent contractor Rodney Cook. A second engineer, Prasoon Goyal, and three other Davis-Besse employees signed deferred prosecution agreements.

A. Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station

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612 F.3d 471 *; 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 14501 **; 2010 FED App. 0203P (6th Cir.) ***

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DAVID GEISEN, Defendant-Appellant.

Subsequent History: Rehearing denied by, Rehearing, en banc, denied by United States v. Geisen, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 19467 (6th Cir., Sept. 2, 2010)

US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Geisen v. United States, 131 S. Ct. 1813, 179 L. Ed. 2d 772, 2011 U.S. LEXIS 2672 (U.S., 2011)

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio at Toledo. No. 06-00712-001--David A. Katz, District Judge.

In re Geisen, 70 N.R.C. 676, 2009 NRC LEXIS 124 (N.R.C., 2009)United States v. Siemaszko, 612 F.3d 450, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 14497 (6th Cir.) (6th Cir. Ohio, 2010)

CORE TERMS

inspection, nozzles, deposits, plant, videos, cleaning, boric acid, reactor, cracking, district court, deliberate, captions, boron, photographs, rational jury, penetrations, false statement, indictment, ignorance, leakage, convict, letters, argues, flange, serial, visual, visual inspection, witnesses, sufficient evidence, staff

Criminal Law & Procedure, Jury Instructions, Particular Instructions, General Overview, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Harmless & Invited Error, Jury Instructions, Fraud Against the Government, False Statements, Elements, Trials, Motions for Acquittal, De Novo Review, Sufficiency of Evidence, Substantial Evidence, Motions to Acquit & Dismiss, Accusatory Instruments, Indictments, Appellate Review, Appeals, Conclusions of Law, Evidence, Relevance, Exclusion of Relevant Evidence, Confusion, Prejudice & Waste of Time, Evidence, Clearly Erroneous Review, Findings of Fact