United States v. Lynch

233 F.3d 1139 (2000)

From our private database of 46,000+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

United States v. Lynch

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
233 F.3d 1139 (2000)

  • Written by Robert Cane, JD

Facts

Ian Lynch (defendant) found and removed a partially buried human skill while on a hunting trip. Lynch had been looking for caves to explore when he found the skull buried in the side of a hill, not an apparent cemetery or burial ground. In an interview with federal agents, Lynch indicated that he knew the skull was old, but he did not know that the skull might be an archaeological resource more than 100 years old as defined by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (the act) or that the skull was in a burial ground. Notably, legislative history for the act indicated that Congress sought to punish careless and intentional destruction of archaeological sites, not the technical offenses of casual or unwitting violators like a boy scout or other curious visitors to public lands. After several experts were unable to determine the skull’s age, authorities performed an analysis using carbon dating, which showed the skill was at least 1,400 years old. The government (plaintiff) indicted Lynch under § 470ee(a) of the act. Lynch filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, arguing that the indictment lacked the scienter required by the act. The district court denied the motion, holding that removal of the skull was malum in se, or a wrong in itself, and that the only requirement to satisfy scienter under the act was that Lynch knew that he was excavating or removing a human skull from a grave. The district court advised Lynch that the government did not need to prove that Lynch knew the skull’s removal was illegal or that the skull was an archaeological resource. Consequently, Lynch entered a conditional guilty plea. However, pursuant to an agreement with the government, Lynch preserved the knowledge, or mens rea, issue for appeal. Lynch appealed to the court of appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Goodwin, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 742,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 742,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 46,000 briefs, keyed to 986 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 742,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 46,000 briefs - keyed to 986 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership