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United States v. Kelly

Citation: 29 ELR 20572
No. 96-3102, 167 F.3d 1176/(7th Cir., 02/12/1999)

The court holds that a district court properly instructed a jury on the statutory elements necessary to convict the president of an underground storage tank removal company under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) § 3008(d) for unlawfully transporting and disposing of hazardous waste. The court first holds that the district court was not required to instruct the jury that it needed to find that the president knew the transported substances were waste. The jury instructions explicitly incorporated RCRA's definition of hazardous waste. Further, under RCRA's terms, and under the jury instructions, the jury was only required to find that the president knowingly transported and disposed of a substance that was within the parameters of the hazardous waste definition, not that the president had knowledge that the material was hazardous and that it was waste. The court next holds that the district court properly instructed the jury of the government's burden of proof regarding the president's knowledge of a hazardous waste. The jury was given a separate instruction that explicitly mandated that the jury operate throughout the case under the assumption that the government has the burden of proof. In addition, a plain reading of the jury instructions does not suggest that the president has the burden of establishing that he did not know the substance was harmful.

Counsel for Plaintiff
John W. Vaudreuil
U.S. Attorney's Office
660 W. Washington Ave., Madison WI 53701
(608) 264-5158

Counsel for Defendant
Robert J. Palmer
May, Oberfell & Lorber
300 N. Michigan St., South Bend IN 46601
(219) 232-2031

Before Manion and Kanne, JJ.