Protection of Government ProcessesState of Mind
18 U.S.C. § 1512
Section 1512(a) proscribes conduct intentionally undertaken,
1512(b) proscribes conduct "knowingly" undertaken, and section 1512(c)
conduct "intentionally" undertaken. A state of mind commonly referred to as
"general intent" was prescribed by the use of the terms "knowingly" and
"intentionally." General intent means that the person is aware of the
his/her conduct and those circumstances incident to his/her conduct that
conduct criminal. Beyond this, the mental states referred to in
1512(a), 1512(b), and 1512(c) differ slightly.|
Sections 1512(a) and 1512(b) require, in addition to general
specific intent, for example, the intent to influence testimony in an
proceeding. These requirements of specific intent are self-explanatory. In
contrast, § 1512(c) does not require specific intent but specific
for example, preventing a witness from testifying at an official proceeding.
However, this distinction is probably without a difference, and the specific
results should be read as forms of specific intent. Section 1512(d)
existing case law that holds that influencing a witness is not a strict
offense. See United States v. Johnson, 585 F.2d 119, 128 (5th
1978). One may influence a witness to tell the truth. See id.
However, under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(d), the burden of proving this benign
which is an affirmative defense, is on the defendant. A preponderance of
evidence is the standard of proof.
Section 1512(f) of Title 18 contains an important qualification of
mens rea required under the statute: it obviates the need to prove that the
defendant was aware of the official nature of the proceedings or
with which he/she interfered. A reference to congressional proceedings,
is omitted from the proceedings enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 1512(f).
[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 1734; USAM 9-69.100]