Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gibson Guitar Raid - #3288 - Feds to Gibson: Hand Over More Wood - Nashville Business Journal (2) Can You Be a Criminal by Accident? - The Blaze

Federal authorities are pressuring Nashville-based Gibson Guitar to hand over an additional 25 bundles of Indian wood that the company allegedly planned to use in its famous guitars.  The complaint was filed today in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee and mirrors a 2010 action that sought official forfeiture of wood obtained in a 2009 raid of Gibson facilities. The latter of those cases has been stayed, pending the outcome of the most recent suit.  As has been the case in previous allegations, at issue is the classification of certain wood imported to the United States from India. Namely, a June shipment of 1,250 sawn logs was classified as "finished parts of musical instruments," which is allowed under Indian law. In reality, according to the sworn affidavit of Fish and Wildlife Service agent Kevin Seiler, the wood was unfinished – a violation of the Lacey Act.  The Lacey Act, originally passed by Congress in 1900, was amended in 2008 as part of that year’s Farm Bill to include protection for certain wood and endangered animal species. At its core, the Lacey Act makes it illegal to import plants or wildlife into the U.S. if those goods are harvested in a way that violates the laws of another country.  Read more.........

Can You Be a Criminal by Accident? - The Blaze - Should you spend time in prison for violating an obscure federal law you didn’t even know existed?  These days, the government’s answer increasingly appears to be a resounding “Yes.”  Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported on the enormous volume of over 5,000 federal criminal statutes enacted over the past few decades, and the slow, deliberate destruction of a crucial principle in law called “mens rea.”  Meaning “guilty mind” in Latin, means rea doctrine limits your criminal liability to your intent and knowledge while committing an act.  Basically, “mens rea” says you must know what you are doing is wrong for it to be criminal.  But that’s all starting to change, and it’s a huge threat to the freedoms of every American.........  Case in point: the WSJ in July told the story of Eddie Leroy Anderson, an Idaho man who used to dig for arrowheads as a hobby. During one expedition near a favored camp ground, they wandered onto federal land. Authorities told them to “Get a lawyer, and a damn good one.”  What law did Mr. Anderson and his son violate?  The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979. State of mind is irrelevant to the statute, and the penalty can be up to two years in federal prison– for accidentally digging a hole in the wrong part of the woods.  The Andersons pled guilty and received a $1500 fine and a year of probation.  Read more.........

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