Prison Sentence Upheld for 3,000 Containers of Paint in Yard

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By Peter Hayes

An Idaho man convicted of storing thousands of paint containers in his yard without a required hazardous waste permit won’t get a new trial, a federal appeals court ruled Sept. 13 ( United States v. Spatig , 9th Cir., No. 15-cv-30322, 9/13/17 ).

The trial court didn’t err by refusing to allow evidence of the defendant’s diminished capacity, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said. Mental capacity isn’t in issue because the crime does not require a showing of specific intent, the court said.

Max Spatig was charged with storing more than 3,000 containers of paint and paint-related materials on his property in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Spatig, who purchased paint in large quantities as part of a business he ran for years, was convicted and sentenced to 46 months in prison.

The appeals court also upheld Spatig’s sentence which was enhanced due to a “substantial expenditure” of nearly $500,000 to clean up the property.

Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote the opinion, joined by Judges Michael R. Murphy and Jacqueline H. Nguyen.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Hayes in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at

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