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United States v. Kirkland

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
12 F.3d 199 (1994)


The United States government (plaintiff) successfully prosecuted Michael Wayne Kirkland (defendant) for killing Donald Cook in the course of Cook's employment as a truck driver for a company that contracted with the United States Postal Service to pick up and deliver mail. Count One of Kirkland's three-count indictment charged Kirkland with violating 18 U.S.C. § 1114, a statute prohibiting the killing of various federal officers and employees, including "an officer or employee of the Postal Service." Section 1114 did not define "officer or employee," and neither the statute's text nor its legislative history suggested that the term should be broadly construed. The only contention Kirkland made on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals was that § 1114 did not apply to Cook. Kirkland pointed out that, unlike career Postal Service employees, Cook was not entitled to civil-service benefits, received his wages and benefits directly from the contractor rather than from the Postal Service, and wore a Postal Service identification badge that gave the contractor's name and carried the caption "NON POSTAL SERVICE CONTRACTOR EMPLOYEE." Kirkland also cited 39 U.S.C. § 1001(a), which stated that "[e]xcept as otherwise provided in this title, the Postal Service shall appoint all officers and employees of the Postal Service," and argued that because the Postal Service did not appoint Cook, Cook could not be a Postal Service "officer or employee" within the meaning of § 1114.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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