United States v. Veach

455 F.3d 628 (6th Cir. 2006)



The additional, specific intent requirement in 18 U.S.C.S. § 115(a)(1)(B) differentiates that statute from 18 U.S.C.S. § 111(a)(1). Not only does 18 U.S.C.S. § 115(a)(1)(B) require the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant threatened certain action against a government official but also that the defendant made such a threat for the specific purpose of interfering with the performance of official duties or of retaliating for the performance of such duties. 


A man was convicted for resisting a federal law enforcement officer and threatening to assault and murder two federal law enforcement officers with intent to impede the performance of their official duties. The district court determined that defendant was a career offender and sentenced him to a prison term of 80 months. The case was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Defendant argued that the district court erred in preventing him from presenting a diminished capacity defense, in restricting his cross-examination of one of the victims, and in counting his prior conviction for a fourth offense of driving under the influence of intoxicants as a crime of violence. 


Was the conviction proper?




The Court concluded that the district court improperly restricted defendant's ability to present a diminished capacity defense to a specific-intent crime, and because the case was remanded for a new trial, the appellate court addressed the remaining evidentiary and sentencing issues merely as a matter of guidance to the district court. Because under18 USCS $ 115(a)(1)(B), a defendant had to possess a particular mens rea in order to be guilty of the crimes described in that statute, in this case defendant should have been allowed to present evidence to the jury that he was too intoxicated at the time of his arrest to form the requisite specific intent. Contrary to his argument, defendant's fourth Kentucky conviction within a five-year period for driving under the influence should have been considered a crime of violence.

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