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United States v. Felsen

Citation: 11 ELR 20761
No. No. 79-1519, 648 F.2d 681/(10th Cir., 05/05/1981)

The court affirms the conviction of an auto dealer for stating falsely that two automobiles which he imported were in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations concerning emissions and safety. In documents prepared in connection with the imports, appellant stated that the autos were of model types for which EPA had issued certificates of conformity, when in fact they were of model types for which no such certificates had been issued. In addition, appellant averred that the autos could be brought into compliance with DOT standards by installing "readily attachable equipment items," whereas each auto required approximately two and a half to three days of work to meet the regulatory standards. The court finds that the jury could reasonably have determined that appellant, an experienced auto dealer and mechanic, willfully misrepresented the model types of the autos. He was thus found to have had the mental state requisite to sustain his conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 542. In addition, the court determines that the term "readily attachable equipment items" is not so vague as to constitute a denial of due process. Finally, the court rules that the prosecution's attempt to introduce into evidence certain written statements, although rebuffed by the trial court, constitutes harmless error and does not counsel against affirmance of the conviction.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (17 pp $2.75, ELR Order No. C-1248).

Counsel for Appellant
Alex Stephen Keller
Keller, Dunievitz & Johnson
Suite 1650, 950 17th St., Denver CO 80202
(303) 571-5302

Counsel for Appellee
Nancy E. Rice, Ass't U.S. Attorney; Joseph F. Dolan, U.S. Attorney
C-330 U.S. Cthse., Drawer 3516, Denver CO 80294
(303) 837-2081