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US v. Vela, No. 08-50121

By FindLaw Staff on October 27, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Insanity Verdict Affirmed

In US v. Vela, No. 08-50121, a prosecution for assault on a federal officer, the court affirmed the jury's verdict finding defendant not guilty by reason of insanity, holding that 1) defendant's arguments were foreclosed by the Ninth Circuit's decision in United States v. Jim, 865 F.2d 211 (9th Cir. 1989), where the court held that 18 U.S.C. section 111 was a general intent crime; and 2) section 111 did not violate Apprendi.


As the court wrote:  "Rogelio Vela Jr. ("Vela") appeals from a judgment of not guilty by reason of insanity following a jury trial on a charge of assault on a federal officer, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111. He contends that the district court erred in failing to dismiss the indictment, refusing to instruct the jury that willfulness is an element of § 111, and denying him the opportunity to present a diminished capacity defense."

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