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United States v. Mahon

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

July 20, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DENNIS MAHON, Defendant-Appellant

Argued and Submitted May 11, 2015, San Francisco, California

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. D.C. No. 2:09-cr-00712-DGC-1. David G. Campbell, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[**]

Criminal Law

The panel affirmed convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 844(i) and (n) for a pipe bomb explosion at the City of Scottsdale Office of Diversity and Dialogue.

The panel explained that an intrinsically non-economic building can qualify under § 844(i)'s interstate commerce requirement if the building actively engages in interstate commerce or activity that affects interstate commerce, and the fact that an entity is not-for-profit or municipal in nature does not foreclose a finding that it is actively engaged in interstate commerce. The panel held that the record demonstrates that the Diversity Office regularly engaged in activities that affected interstate commerce.

Because § 844(i) has the necessary jurisdictional interstate-commerce element, the panel rejected the defendant's facial challenge to its constitutionality. Because the Diversity Office possessed the requisite nexus to interstate commerce, the panel also rejected the defendant's as-applied challenge to the statute's constitutionality.

Daniel L. Kaplan (argued), Assistant Federal Public Defender; Jon M. Sands, Federal Public Defender, Phoenix, Arizona, for Defendant-Appellant.

Joan G. Ruffennach (argued), Assistant United States Attorney; John S. Leonardo, United States Attorney; Mark S. Kokanovich, Deputy Appellate Chief, Phoenix, Arizona, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before: Sidney R. Thomas, Chief Judge, and Fortunato P. Benavides,[*] and John B. Owens, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

John B. Owens, Circuit Judge.

Dennis Mahon appeals his convictions under 18 U.S.C. § § 844(i) and (n) for the pipe bomb explosion at the City of Scottsdale Office of Diversity and Dialogue (" Diversity Office" ), which injured three people and damaged property. Section 844(i) makes it a crime to damage or destroy, by means of an explosive, property that is " used in" interstate commerce or in " activity affecting" interstate commerce. Mahon contends his convictions are invalid because the Diversity Office's activities did not satisfy the statute's interstate commerce requirement. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm. The Diversity Office was property " used in" commerce or in " activity affecting" commerce.

A concurrently filed memorandum disposition addresses Mahon's other claims.

I. FACTS

A. The Diversity Office


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