Protection of Government ProcessesObstruction of
Federal Criminal Investigation18 U.S.C. § 1510
Section 1510 of Title 18, United States Code, proscribes endeavors
obstruct Federal criminal investigations "by means of bribery." See,
e.g., United States v. Schwartz, 924 F.2d 410, 423, n.3, (2d Cir.
1991). Prior to its amendment by the Victim and Witness Protection Act of
the provision also prohibited obstruction of criminal investigations by
"misrepresentation, intimidation, or force or threats thereof" as well as
retaliation against informants. Obstructions of Federal criminal
by all means enumerated in former 18 U.S.C. § 1510 other than bribery
covered by 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3). Obstructions by intentional
a new misdemeanor, is an 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c) offense. Retaliation
informants is now covered by 18 U.S.C. § 1513.|
Section 1510 proscribes only endeavors that are "willfully"
and "require(s) proof of a specific intent to obstruct justice." United
States v. Carleo, 576 F.2d 846, 849 (10th Cir.), cert. denied,
U.S. 850 (1978); see United States v. Lippman, 492 F.2d 314,
(6th Cir. 1974), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 1107 (1975). "[T]he
[must] have actual knowledge that the intended recipient of the information
a federal criminal investigator." Id. at 317; accord
States v. Grande, 620 F.2d 1026, 1036-37 (4th Cir.), cert.
U.S. 830, 919 (1980); United States v. Williams, 470 F.2d 1339, 1342
Cir.), cert. denied, 411 U.S. 936 (1973). It is not required that
defendant actually know that information has been or is about to be supplied
a Federal criminal investigator. All that is required is that the defendant
reasonably believe that information had been, or would be, supplied.
States v. Leisure, 844 F. 2d 1347, 1364 (8th Cir. 1988); United
Kozak, 438 F.2d 1062, 1066 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 402 U.S. 996
(1971). See United States v. Zemek, 634 F.2d 1159, 1176 (9th
1980), cert. denied, sub. nom. Carbone v. United
States, 450 U.S. 916, 985, and cert. denied, sub.
nom. Williams v. United States, 452 U.S. 905 (1981). Neither
it necessary to show that a defendant in fact obstructed justice or
person from communicating to a criminal investigator. United States v.
Murray, 751 F.2d 1528, 1534 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, sub.
nom. Moore v. United States, 474 U.S. 979 (1985).
For the statute to be violated there is no requirement that an
investigation be underway. United States v. Leisure, 844 F.2d at
But cf. United States v. Van Engel, 15 F.3d 623, 627
Cir. 1993) (it is unclear whether section 1510 is applicable if no
is underway). The requirement is only that there is an obstruction of a
communication to a criminal investigator. United States v. Lippman,
F.2d at 317. The scienter requirement is satisfied by showing that the
had a reasonably founded belief that information had been or was about to be
given. United States v. Abrams, 543 F. Supp. 1184 (S.D.N.Y. 1982).
Section 1510 applies to behavior occurring prior to and after the
of an official proceeding. United States v. Lester, 749 F.2d 1288,
1298-99 (9th Cir. 1984). The fact that the criminal act occurred after the
institution of judicial proceedings is immaterial. United States v.
Roberts, 638 F.2d 134, 135 (9th Cir.) (offense occurred 18 days after
conviction), cert. denied, 452 U.S. 909 (1981). Similarly, it is
immaterial that the act was intended to impede the future communication of
information to Federal criminal investigators. United States v.
544 F.2d 1326, 1329-30 (5th Cir. 1977) (offense occurred subsequent to
indictment). The plain language of section 1510 suggests that it should not
used to prosecute a person who gives false or misleading information to a
Section 1510(b) proscribes officers of financial institutions from
obstructing a judicial proceeding by notifying another person about the
of a subpoena for records of that financial institution or about information
has been furnished to a grand jury in response to that subpoena.
Section 1510(d) proscribes persons engaged in the business of
from obstructing a judicial proceeding by notifying any person about the
existence of a subpoena for records of that person engaged in such business
about information that has been furnished to a Federal grand jury in
[cited in USAM 9-69.100]