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UNITED STATES v. CHICAGO EXPRESS

March 30, 1959

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHICAGO EXPRESS, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Juergens, District Judge.

An inspector of the Interstate Commerce Commission stopped defendant's tractor-trailer unit on Illinois Route 3 about ¾ mile north of Monsanto Chemical Company plant, after the vehicle had been loaded with 33,210 pounds of paranitroanaline solid, a dangerous poison, a product of Monsanto. The truck was not placarded with warning signs as required by valid regulation of the Interstate Commerce Commission (49 C.F.R. § 77.823).

A jury, on June 13, 1955, found the defendant guilty on Counts 1 and 2 of the information. The Circuit Court of Appeals of the Seventh Circuit (235 F.2d 785) reversed and remanded for a new trial because of an erroneous instruction.

A second trial to a jury was had on July 8, 9, and 10, 1957, resulting in a verdict of guilty as to Count 1 only.

The defendant in its motion sets forth 11 reasons why a new trial should be granted.

In its Memorandum of Law in support of its motion for new trial defendant argues:

(1) The United States failed to make a case against the defendant;

(2) The instructions given to the jury at the request of the government erroneously declared the law; and

(3) Failure to give the complete instruction requested by defendant constituted error.

As to (1), namely, that the United States failed to make a case against the defendant, it says that the Government must prove the three essential elements of the crime charged, that is:

1) That the defendant had actual knowledge of the nature of the load which it was transporting;

2) That the defendant had actual knowledge of the regulation it is accused of violating; and

3) That the defendant had a specific intent to violate the regulation.

If the government has proved 1) and 2), then 3) will follow as a natural consequence. If the defendant had actual knowledge of the nature of the load it was transporting and also had actual knowledge of the regulation it is accused of violating and then proceeded to violate the regulation, it knowingly did what it was not supposed to do and, therefore, intended to do what it was not supposed to do and, therefore, had a specific intent to violate the regulation.

The defendant had actual knowledge of the nature of the load which it was transporting because its driver Hart saw the labels (Government's Exhibit 2) carrying the words, in large red letters, "Warning — Poison" and having the standard skull and crossbones insignia ...


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