1094 866 FEDERAL REPORTER, 2d SERIES
a letter of noncompliance addressed to Blair and Elizabeth Smith (who is not a party to this appeal). The appellants never filed a Plan of Operations.
On July 13, 1984, the government filed an information charging the appellants with residing and working on the claim “without having sought, filed for or having obtained a permit (Plan of Operations) from the United Forest Service.” The appellants do not dispute that they had resided and conducted certain mining-related activities on the claim without filing a Plan of Operations. After a bench trial before a magistrate, judgments of conviction were entered against the appellants. Smith received a sentence of ten days’ imprisonment, and Blair received a sentence of three days’ imprisonment and a $250 fine.
The appellants appealed their convictions to the district court, which affirmed by order dated March 9, 1987. The appellants now seek reversal of the district court order, asserting a number of grounds. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1291 & 1631, and we reverse.
Appellants argue that the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (“PRA”) prohibits their prosecutions because the Plan of Operations filing requirement lacks a current control number, and appear to raise an issue of first impression in this circuit. The PRA was enacted “to reduce and minimize the burden Government paperwork imposes on the public.” S. Rep. No. 930, 96th Cong., 2d Sess. 2 (1980), reprinted in 1980 U.S. Code Cong. & Admin. News 6241, 6242. The PRA requires all agencies to submit all “information collection requests” to the Director (the “Director”) of the Office of Management and Budget (“0MB”) for review and approval. See 44 U.S.C. § 3507. If the Director approves the information collection request he must ensure that it contains a control number. See 44 U.S.C. § 3504. An agency “shall not conduct or sponsor the collection of information unless” the information collection request has been submitted to and approved by the Director, see 44 U.S.C.
§ 3507(a), and “shall not engage in a collection of information without obtaining from the Director a control number to be displayed upon the information collection request,” see 44 U.S.C. § 3507(f). "Information collection request which do not display a current control number or, if not, indicate why not are to be considered ‘bootleg’ requests and [under PRA section 3512] may be ignored by the public.” S. Rep. No. 96 – 930 at 52, reprinted in 1980 U.S. Code Cong. & Admin. News 6292; see 44 U.S.C. § 3512 (penalties may not be imposed for noncompliance with information collection requests that do not display a current control number).
 The magistrate rejected appellants’ PRA defense, holding that because the defendants “did not rely upon the Paperwork Reduction Act”. in refusing to submit a Plan of Operations, they “should not be permitted to rely upon that defense,” The district court “concur[red] in and adopt[ed] by reference the Magistrate’s disposition of this issue.” The magistrate cited no authority for this proposition, and the government does not argue that appellants’ ignorance of the PRA frees the government from its requirements. We reverse the magistrate on this ground; just as ignorance of the law is not an excuse for violating it, knowledge and reliance is not a prerequisite for asserting an affirmative defense to a criminal prosecution. See, e.g., 1 C. Torcia, Wharton’s Criminal Law § 77 (14th ed. 1978); 1 W. LaFave & A. Scott, Substantive Criminal law §.1(d) (1986).
The district court also held, and the government argues, that the appellants “have not preserved this issue for appeal,” citing Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b), (f). Rule 12(b) provides that “defens-es, objections, and requests” based on “defects in the institution of the prosecution” or on “defects in the indictment or information” may be raised only by motion before
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