As the war on musical instruments continues [The Jazz Line; earlier here, etc.]
“Exxon Mobil Corp. isn’t responsible for alligators overrunning a rural dump site it owns in Mississippi, the state supreme court ruled, because the global oil explorer can’t control wild animals. … Even if Exxon had wanted to cull the congregation, it would have been prevented by state law that designates alligators as a protected species, making it illegal to hunt or disturb them, according to the ruling.” [Bloomberg/Insurance Journal]
“Why America’s ivory ban won’t help elephants” — and will invite criminal elements further into the antique business [Spectator (U.K.) editorial; Doug Bandow, Cato Institute]
“…collects and distributes dead eagles and their parts.” [Jay Wexler, PrawfsBlawg] Earlier here, here, here, etc.
… you’ll probably want to start out as a young natural history collector. But is that still even legal? [Ann Althouse quoting Sir David Attenborough, Independent]
Florida: “Man who lost hand to gator is charged with unlawful feeding.” [Lowering the Bar]
Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, WSJ, excerpted at PoliceMisconduct.net:
In America alone, there are over 4,000 federal criminal offenses. Under the Lacey Act, for instance, citizens and business owners also need to know – and predict how the U.S. federal government will interpret – the laws of nearly 200 other countries on the globe as well. Many business owners have inadvertently broken obscure and highly technical foreign laws, landing them in prison for things like importing lobster tails in plastic rather than cardboard packaging (the violation of that Honduran law earned one man an eight-year prison sentence). Cases like this make it clear that the justice system has strayed from its constitutional purpose like stopping the real bad guys from bringing harm.
Harvey Silverglate says that while Juszkiewicz is right as far as he goes, he’s seeing only part of the picture. Earlier on the Gibson raid and Lacey Act here, here, etc.
…there is one item in the collection [of the late New York dealer Ileana Sonnabend], a work by Robert Rauschenberg that cannot be sold. It contains a stuffed bald eagle and under the terms of the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the 1918 Migratory Bird Act, it is a felony to “possess, sell, purchase, barter, transport, import or export any bald eagle — alive or dead.” The estate, advised by three experts, including one from Christie’s, therefore, valued the work at zero. The IRS decided it was worth $65 million, and is demanding $29.2 million in taxes and $11 million in penalties because the heirs “inaccurately” stated its value.
[John Steele Gordon, Commentary on NYT reporting; Popehat]
“Oregon officials … want federal approval to shoot a sea bird that eats millions of baby salmon trying to reach the ocean. Oregon needs federal approval to start shooting double-crested cormorants because the birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.” The state has previously attempted to protect the salmon fry by paying for speedboats and firecrackers to harass the cormorants, but “harassment has ‘proved insufficient.'” [East Oregonian via Balko]
P.S.: Meanwhile, “Federal prosecutors hope to use an obscure law to punish two recreational pilots whose low flying may have disturbed thousands of resting migratory birds in Iowa.” [h/t Baylen Linnekin]
The 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act bans feeding protected dolphins, seals and whales. A grand jury has now indicted licensed marine biologist Nancy Black, who sought to record the behavior of killer whales by rigging attachments to some killed prey that the predators were in the process of eating. Black’s attorney says she also faces a charge of lying to federal investigators because when asked to turn over evidence she gave them footage of the incident that she had already edited for reasons unrelated to the investigation. [The Economist]