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United States of America v. Zhi Yong Guo

March 17, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ZHI YONG GUO, AKA JACKSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California John F. Walter, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 2:08-cr-00461- JFW-2

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Graber, Circuit Judge:

FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Argued and Submitted November 1, 2010-Pasadena, California

Before: Harry Pregerson, Kenneth F. Ripple,*fn1 and Susan P. Graber, Circuit Judges.

Opinion by Judge Graber

OPINION

A jury convicted Defendant Zhi Yong Guo of knowingly and willfully conspiring to export, and attempting to export, ten export-controlled thermal imaging cameras without a license. We affirm because the statute of conviction is constitutional.*fn2

I. BACKGROUND

The United States restricts the export of technologies that it deems potentially dangerous to national security. A complicated framework of statutes, executive orders, and regulations effects those restrictions. This case concerns one such export-controlled technology, namely, thermal imaging cameras.

Thermal imaging cameras convert heat energy into live video, allowing users to see the images around them at any time of day or night. Anyone who wants to take or send a thermal imaging camera of the kind restricted by United States regulations to an export-controlled country must first obtain a license from the Department of Commerce. Failure to obtain such a license subjects the offender to civil and criminal penalties under 50 U.S.C. § 1705.

Defendant worked as an engineer in Beijing, China, where he owned and operated a company devoted to developing photoelectric technologies. He is a Chinese citizen and national. In early 2004, Defendant became interested in acquiring U.S.-made thermal imaging cameras. He pursued several avenues to try to obtain the cameras but did not succeed until late 2007, when he convinced a friend to help him.

Defendant's friend and accomplice, Tai Wei Chao, is a United States citizen. At the time, Choa worked for a company that maintained offices in the United States and China.

Defendant instructed Chao to purchase a certain type of export-controlled thermal imaging camera made by a company based in the United States called FLIR Systems. Neither Defendant nor Chao had a license to export the cameras. Chao enlisted the help of another friend of his, who owned and operated a printing business in San Gabriel, California. Chao placed an order for three FLIR cameras and had them shipped to California. Chao's friend then ...


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