US Attorneys > USAM > Title 9 > Criminal Resource Manual 1734
prev | next | Criminal Resource Manual

1734

Protection of Government Processes—State of Mind -- 18 U.S.C. § 1513

Section 1513(a) makes it an offense to kill or attempt to kill another with intent to retaliate for one of the actions set out in (a)(1), (A) and (B).

Section 1513(b) proscribes conduct causing bodily injury or damaging the tangible property of another that is "knowingly" undertaken. As explained in this Manual at 1731, this term designates general intent. In addition to general intent, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant took his/her actions with intent to retaliate for one of the actions set out in the statute. See 18 U.S.C. § 1513(b)(1), (2). See also United States v. Maggitt, 784 F.2d 590 (5th Cir. 1986) (need to show intent to retaliate; no need to show intent to execute threat). Thus, section 1513, like § 1512, has a compound state-of-mind requirement.

However, unlike § 1512, section 1513 does not excuse the prosecutor from proving that the defendant knew he/she was obstructing an official proceeding or investigation. The section-by-section analysis of H.R. 7191 explains: "By the nature of the offense, the wrongdoer knows that the person retaliated against has been a party to or witness in a Federal proceeding or has reported information to a Federal law enforcement officer." 128 Cong. Rec. H8206 (daily ed. Sept. 30, 1982). This explanation is flawed, for it does not allow for the possibility that the wrongdoer will not be the party aggrieved by the Federal proceeding or investigation. The wrongdoer, for example, could be hired. Furthermore, it is foreseeable that the aggrieved party will know that a person has been "talking" without knowing whether the recipients of the information are Federal or State authorities.

[cited in USAM 9-69.100]