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United States v. Quarrell
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
310 F.3d 664 (2002)
Two brothers, James and Michael Quarrell (defendants) and their cousin excavated artifacts from a prehistoric site called Mimbres Pueblo located on public lands. Federal officers found the men excavating the site with various tools and supplies after the men had activated a sensor previously placed at the site by an officer. The officers arrested the men. During prosecution for violations of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (the act), the Quarrells admitted that they knew they were excavating and removing ancient Mimbres artifacts without permission of the government. They did, however, dispute that they knew the excavation had occurred on public lands, asserting that they believed they were lawfully excavating on private land although they lacked permission for such excavation from any private landowner. In a preliminary ruling, the district court ruled that the knowledge element required to prove a violation of the act applied only to a defendant’s knowledge that an excavated or removed artifact was an archaeological resource and not to the fact that the artifact was located on public or Indian lands. Ultimately, the jury found that the Quarrells were guilty of violating the act for excavation of artifacts. The Quarrells appealed, arguing that the act required knowledge that the excavation was on public lands, so they lacked the requisite criminal intent.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Briscoe, J.)
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