15 thoughts on “Overcriminalization

  1. Der Schtumpy

    I wish someone would go after under criminalization of treasonous behavior.

    I get that the case explained was stupid and based on laws that no one knows. But having traveled out of and back into the U.S. on numerous occasions, I don’t understand why anyone would try to bring in or take out ANY meat, fish, fruit or vegetables.

    It’s not worth the possible hassles.

    1. Rick C

      It ain’t just food, DS. You remember the Gibson guitar raids? Lacey Act was the justification, although IIRC there was some question as to whether the wood in question was actually violating the exporting country’s laws.

  2. MfK

    Oh, come off it. Who doesn’t know how to properly import a spiny Hondouran lobster?

    Sorry, I was channeling Jim/Gerrib/Matula…

  3. Leland

    Actually, I find the example to be a poor one. The importation of all sorts of creatures are prohibited and for good reason. In the example, I suspect the issue of minimum size has to do with controlling the fishery (watch any “Deadliest Catch” and you’ll see them measure the crabs they keep with pre-made templates). The box thing is odd. Where I accept the example is the part where it says, “the law was void”. I’m not sure what is meant by it, because it seems appeal would resolve the man’s 5 years in court. The biggest problem is the prosecutor that thinks he needs to crucify the first 5 people he meets to set an example. Fine the guy for bringing in a prohibited creature, take the creature from him, and then let him go home.

    Sadly, there are plenty of other examples of over-criminalization. For example, being forced to purchase insurance of any kind.

    1. MfK

      You find putting someone in Federal prison for several years for breaking the laws of a foreign country to be no big deal? Re-read this. At most, the lobster should be confiscated, and the man advised as to why. The rest is simple police state B.S.

      1. Al

        If I remember correctly, there are also examples of people breaking the laws -retroactively- and getting in trouble.

        That is: the foreign law was changed -after- you (or your ancestors!) legally imported the material.

      2. Der Schtumpy

        Or pay a fine. $1500 per lobster or something. But years in jail, that’s beyond any common sense.

        Oh wait, we’re talking about the U.S. Federal Government.

      3. George Turner

        Five years is light for such a heinous crime. Somewhere a mommy lobster is searching in vain for her teenage son or daughter, putting missing posters up all over the reef, frantically waving her antennae on the Lobster News Network 24/7. Jusk ask yourself what Nancy Grace would do if the situation were reversed, or heck, what she’d do if she found out some nefarious scumbag had put a 5.25 inch lobster in a plastic bag and tried to fly to the US. She’d set mommy lobster in a fish bowl across from her on the anchor desk, put little spring wire antennae on her head and nod sympathetically, echoing mommy’s outrage, and call for the death penalty, that’s what.

        Seriously though, the Lacey Act is featured in a very good video called Never Talk to the Police. I linked Part I, by the law professor. Also watch part II, by the police detective.

  4. wodun

    I am a bit torn. If your business is importing a food product, you should know about the rules and regulations in the country you import it from. But, it is pretty hard to know if the company you get it from is following all their country’s rules. Holding our own companies responsible for laws broke in other countries by the people they bought the product from is ridiculous.

    But when it comes to shipping a product? If you don’t know the proper way to ship your product, you shouldn’t be in that business. Whether or not the punishment fits the crime is another story.

    1. George Turner

      The Lacey Act is far worse than you realize.

      “The Lacey Act also makes it unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant in violation of the laws of the United States, a State, an Indian tribe, or any foreign law that protects plants.”

      Under the act, if Chad declared fescue and rye to be protected plants as part of their war on the desert, and you had bought a bag of grass seed from Wisconsin, you could be sent to federal prison for years.

  5. Peterh

    2 thoughts:

    - a US DoJ should not be taking the initiative to prosecute offenses against foreign law. Especially if the offense is not directly recognized by US law. Letting the foreign government make the case in a US civil court makes more sense.

    - What jury of 12 blatant fools convicted? As I understand Common Law, the jury is a challenge to arbitrary government prosecution.

  6. IcePilot

    Used to be that committing a felony was a big deal, a bad crime by a bad guy.

    Now everything is a felony. Hypothetically, I could commit several a day, sometimes hourly.

  7. George Turner

    It seems many liberals are arguing for the Lacey Act. Time to turn the tables on them. No matter what they do to decriminalize marijuana, possession of so much as a fraction of a gram would still be a violation of federal law because possession will never be decriminalized in Indonesia, where it even now carries the death penalty. Under the Lacey Act, the possession of a plant prohibited in Indonesia can result in years in a federal prison, so pot will never be legal until the Lacey Act is repealed.

    Everyone should go post that at their favorite liberal blogs and news outlets. :D

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