United States v. Jackson

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 06-18-2014
  • Case #: 13-50215
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Judge Reinhardt for the Court; Circuit Court Judge Noonan; Circuit Court Judge Murguia concurring
  • Full Text Opinion

In order to meet 18 U.S.C. § 701’s element of “prescription by the head of a United States department or agency,” evidence of who prescribed the design of the badge, card or other insignia must be presented.

Deondrae Jackson was a maintenance worker at a Marine Corps Logistics Base in California. Employees of the maintenance center were issued a "yellow card," which was described as a card used for "quick identification." Jackson was accused of creating a yellow card himself, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 701, Official Badges, Identification Cards, and Other Insignia. This statute charges one who "manufactures, sells, or possesses any badge, identification card, or other insignia, of the design prescribed by the head of any department or agency of the United States for use by any officer or employee thereof, or any colorable imitation thereof, . . . except as authorized under regulations made pursuant to law. . ." with a misdemeanor. The district court found Jackson guilty of this charge. Jackson argued on appeal that the government failed to sufficiently prove (1) the design was "prescribed by the head of any department or agency of the United States" and (2) Jackson manufactured or possessed such an unofficial card. The only evidence presented at trial on the prescription of the card came from two testimonies. One explained that, around the time of the yellow card's creation, the union and management had a discussion about its intended purpose. Another testimony stated "the Maintenance Center came up with" the yellow card. These testimonies were inadequate to prove that the yellow card design was "prescribed by the head of any department or agency of the United States." Because the evidence was insufficient to support this element of the alleged charge, the panel did not need to discuss Jackson's second argument. REVERSED.

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