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United States v. Spatig

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

September 13, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Max Spatig, AKA John Spatig, AKA John Serge Spatig, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and Submitted July 12, 2017 Seattle, Washington

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Idaho Wiley Y. Daniel, Senior District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 4:12-cr-00302-WYD-1

          Steven V. Richert (argued), Federal Defender Services of Idaho, Pocatello, Idaho, for Defendant-Appellant.

          Emily Anne Polachek (argued), Adam C. Cullman, Allen M. Brabender, and Aaron P. Avila, Attorneys; John C. Cruden, Assistant Attorney General; Environment and Natural Resources Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.; Michael J. Fica, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney's Office, Pocatello, Idaho; for Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Before: Michael R. Murphy, [*] M. Margaret McKeown, and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges.

         SUMMARY [**]

         Criminal Law

         The panel affirmed the defendant's jury conviction and sentence for storage of hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

         The panel held that the district court properly refused to allow evidence of the defendant's diminished capacity because the crime was one of general intent.

         The district court also did not err in applying a four-level sentence enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 2Q1.2(b)(3) for cleanup that required a substantial expenditure.

          OPINION

          McKEOWN, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         As the saying goes, fences make good neighbors. But when the neighbor collects thousands of containers of hazardous and combustible chemicals in his yard that could explode at any moment, a fence may not be enough to save the neighborly relationship. Instead, the authorities need to get involved.

         Max Spatig was charged and convicted under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA") for storing more than 3, 000 containers of hazardous waste in his yard without a permit. On appeal, Spatig challenges the district court's refusal to allow evidence of his diminished capacity, arguing that his crime is one of specific, as opposed to general, intent. He also objects to the district court's application of a ...


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