Destruction of Government Property18 U.S.C.
Section 1361 protects "any property" of the United States or an
or department thereof, or any property being manufactured or constructed for
United States or an agency or department thereof, from willful depredation
attempted depredation. "Depredation" has been characterized as the act of
plundering, robbing, pillaging or laying waste. United States v.
554 F.2d 783, 786 (6th Cir. 1977); cf. Deal v. United States,
U.S. 277, 283 (1927) ("depredation" defined in context of postal statute).
section prohibits actual physical damage or destruction of both real and
property, but mere adverse possession of that property without physical harm
insufficient to violate the law. United States v. Jenkins,
554 F.2d at 785. Section 1361 is a specific intent crime, see
States v. Jones, 607 F.2d 269, 273-74 (9th Cir. 1979), cert.
444 U.S. 1085 (1980), and the government must prove that the defendant acted
willfully; that is intentionally, with knowledge that he/she is violating a
United States v. Simpson, 460 F.2d 515, 518 (9th Cir. 1972);
States v. Moylan, 417 F.2d 1002, 1004 (4th Cir. 1969), cert.
397 U.S. 910 (1970). The government is not required to prove that defendant
the property belonged to the government, because government ownership is
a 'jurisdictional fact'." United States v. LaPorta, 46 F.3d 152, 158
Cir. 1994), quoting United States v. Feola, 420 U.S. 671
In fact, title or possession by the United States is not a necessary element
this offense, if the property in question was being made for the United
The government must present evidence establishing value of damage.
States v. Seaman, 18 F.3d 649, 651 (9th Cir. 1994). The penalties for
violations of this section are tied to the extent of the property damage.
amended on September 13, 1994, if the damage exceeds $100, the defendant is
subject to a fine of up to $250,000, ten years imprisonment, or both.
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Pub. L. 103-322,
330016, 108 Stat. 1796, 2146-47 (1994). When property damage does not
$100, the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $100,000,
year imprisonment, or both. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 3559(a),
[cited in USAM 9-66.500]