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United States v. Santillan

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20541
Nos. No. 99-50773, 243 F.3d 1125/(9th Cir., 03/14/2001)

The court upholds the conviction of an individual charged with smuggling 10 baby parrots across the U.S. border in violation of the Lacey Act. The Lacey Act does not require knowledge of the particular law violated by the possession or other predicate act, so long as the defendant knows of its unlawfulness. The court first holds that here, there was sufficient evidence to show that the individual knew what he did was unlawful. The parrots were concealed in a car, and he admitted to government officials that he knew importing birds was illegal. The court next holds that the district court did not err in declining to instruct the jury that it could convict him of a lesser included offense because the evidence did not allow for it. Likewise, the court did not determine whether the district court erred in allowing a government witness to testify that the birds were worth $500 each because the testimony was harmless in light of the overwhelming and uncontradicted evidence.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Anne K. Perry, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
880 Front St., Rm. 6293, San Diego CA 92101
(619) 557-5610

Counsel for Defendant
Mayra Garcia
Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc.
225 Broadway, Ste. 900, San Diego CA 92101
(619) 234-8467

Kleinfeld, J. Before Rymer and Paez, JJ.