United States v. King

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Law
  • Date Filed: 10-03-2011
  • Case #: 09-30442
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Fletcher for the Court; Circuit Judge Fisher, Senior Circuit Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, sitting by designation
  • Full Text Opinion

False statements made to a state agent while investigating violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act may fall within 18 USC 1001(a)(2) “making materially false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the United States”.

King managed a large farming and cattle operation in Idaho. After being denied a permit to inject winter runoff into a well, King pumped water into the well. In 2005, a state investigator noticed water violations at King’s operation. King denied allegations and made false representations about the well after being confronted by state officials. King was convicted by a jury on four counts of injecting fluids into deep wells without a permit in violation of 42 USC 300h-3(b)(2) “Safe Drinking Water Act” (“SDWA”) and for making a materially false statement in a matter within the jurisdiction of the United States in violation of 18 USC 1001(a)(2). King appealed. The Ninth Circuit held that the government need only show an absence of a permit; no proof of injection is necessary under 300h-3(b)(2). The Court found that Idaho’s permitting system was incorporated into the SWDA and concluded that 300h-2(b)(2) does not exceed Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause. Finally, the Court held that a false statement does not need to be made to a federal agent in order to be convicted under 1001(a)(2). The Court found that 1001(a)(2) does not incorporate any false statement but does apply to state agents investigating a federal violation. AFFIRMED

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