Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

UNITED STATES v. BAIRD

April 30, 1990

United States of America,
v.
David P. Baird



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHEY

On January 27, 1989, the jury returned a verdict in the above-captioned case finding the defendant David P. Baird guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 203(a) and (c), the federal conflict of interest statute. Now before the Court is a motion by the defendant for judgment of acquittal. *fn1" Upon careful consideration of defendant's motion, the supporting and opposing legal memoranda, and the underlying law, the Court will deny the defendant's motion.

Defendant advances essentially three arguments in support of his motion. First, defendant contends that the Court's instructions to the jury concerning the elements of the offense with which defendant was charged were incomplete because they did not contain the level of scienter required for the commission of that offense. Second, defendant maintains that the prosecutor suggested to the jurors that defense counsel was trying to mislead them by raising the issue of "consciousness of wrongdoing," even though "consciousness of wrongdoing" was not an element of the offense with which defendant was charged. Defendant argues that this suggestion by the prosecutor was particularly prejudicial in view of the fact that it was the prosecutor, and not defense counsel, who initially raised the issue of "consciousness of wrongdoing." Moreover, the defendant asserts that the Court improperly deprived him of the opportunity to rebut the government's evidence that defendant consciously knew that his acts were in violation of the law. Finally, defendant maintains that the government improperly read from a transcript, which was not received into evidence, during its rebuttal argument, and that the portion of the transcript read by the prosecutor was extremely prejudicial to him. The Court will address each of defendant's arguments in turn.

 The Indictment in this case charges defendant with having violated 18 U.S.C. § 203(a) by receiving or agreeing to receive compensation from the International Science and Technology Institute, Inc. ("ISTI") for services he performed or would perform for ISTI before the United States Coast Guard ("Coast Guard") while he was a special government employee with the Coast Guard. These services allegedly included a personal appearance by defendant on behalf of ISTI at a conference on August 9, 1985, at which ISTI presented a contract proposal to representatives of the Coast Guard concerning the New Orleans Vessel Traffic Systems Project.

 The statutory language of 18 U.S.C. § 203(a), in pertinent part, provides:

 (a) Whoever, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duties, directly or indirectly --

 . . .

 B) at a time when such person is an officer or employee of the United States in the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government, or in any agency of the United States,

 in relation to any proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest or other particular matter in which the United States is a party or has a direct and substantial interest, before any department, agency, court, court-martial, officer, or any civil, military, or naval commission; or

 (2) knowingly gives, promises, or offers any compensation for any such representational services rendered or to be rendered at a time when the person to whom the compensation is given, promised, or offered, is or was such . . . employee;

 shall be subject to the penalties set forth in section 216 of this title.

 18 U.S.C. § 203(a) (emphasis added).

 Defendant argues that in instructing the jury on the elements of the offense with which the defendant was charged, the Court's omission of the term "knowingly" from the elements was error. *fn2" Section 203(a) contains two subsections. The first subsection makes it a crime to demand, seek, receive, accept, or agree to receive or accept compensation under certain circumstances; the second subsection makes it a crime to knowingly give, promise, or offer compensation under certain circumstances. The language of the first subsection, which is the one defendant was charged with violating, is strikingly different from the second subsection in that it does not contain the term "knowingly." Congress' inclusion of the term "knowingly" in subsection 203(a)(2) and its omission of this term in subsection 203(a)(1) provide a strong suggestion that Congress intended to be harsher on government employees who received compensation resulting in a conflict of interest than on the donors of such compensation. See United States v. Evans, 572 F.2d 455, 480 (D.C. Cir.) ("The purpose of [the conflict of interest statute] is to reach any situation in which the judgment of a government agent might be clouded because of payments or gifts made to him by reason of his position otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty.'"), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 870, 99 S. Ct. 200, 58 L. Ed. 2d 182 (1978). Moreover, the only logical explanation the Court can discern for Congress' inclusion of the term "knowingly" in one subsection and its exclusion in the other is Congress' intent to treat government employees receiving payments from those interested in matters in which the United States is a party or has a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.