USA v. Veach
Criminal: Defense of diminished capacity
Eastern District of Kentucky at London
MARTHA CRAIG DAUGHTREY, Circuit Judge. The defendant, Darwin Veach, appeals from his conviction and sentence for resisting a federal law enforcement officer and threatening to assault and murder two federal law enforcement officers with intent to impede the performance of their official duties. The district court determined that Veach was a career offender and thus sentenced him to an effective prison term of 80 months. The defendant now asserts that the district court erred in preventing him from presenting a diminished capacity defense, in restricting his cross-examination of one of the victims, and in counting his prior conviction for a fourth offense of driving under the influence of intoxicants as a crime of violence. Because we conclude that the district judge improperly restricted Veach’s ability to present a diminished capacity defense to a specific-intent crime, we reverse the defendant’s convictions for threatening to assault and murder law enforcement officers with intent to impede the performance of their official duties and remand this matter for retrial on those counts. Because we are remanding this case for a new trial, we address the remaining evidentiary and sentencing issues merely as a matter of guidance to the district court.