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Home / Case Digests / Second Circuit — Evidence Good Faith Compliance: United States v. Certified Environmental Services, Inc.

Second Circuit — Evidence Good Faith Compliance: United States v. Certified Environmental Services, Inc.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit 

Evidence Good Faith Compliance

Prosecutor Misconduct — Fair Trial

United States v. Certified Environmental Services, Inc.
11-4872(L)
Judges Raggi, Carney and Rakoff

Background: The parties appealed from judgments of conviction on 15 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and false statements. The charges related to a scheme by which the defendants violated various state and federal environmental regulations with regard to asbestos abatement and to certify that proper air monitoring had been conducted when it had not. Two defendants appealed on the basis that the district court improperly excluded evidence that the defendants had acted in the good-faith belief that they were complying with applicable state regulations and that the prosecutors engaged in misconduct.

Ruling: The Second Circuit vacated on the grounds that the court erred in excluding the proffered evidence of the defendants’ good faith. Further, the government conceded that the prosecutor committed numerous instances of misconduct. As such, these defendants were denied a fair trial.

Gabriel M. Nugent of Hiscock & Barclay for the defendant-appellant-cross-appellee Certified Environmental Services Inc.; Brian J. Fischer and Matthew D. Cipolla of Jenner & Block for the defendant-appellant-cross-appellee Nicole Copeland; Dennis B. Schlenker for the defendant-appellant-cross-appellee; Craig A. Benedict, assistant United States attorney, for the appellee-cross-appellant the United States; James R. McGraw for the defendant-appellee Sandy Allen