The Lacey Act, enacted in 1900, prohibits the interstate transportation of wildlife or plants obtained in violation of federal, state or foreign laws. The statute received attention recently when Gibson Guitars was raided by federal agents for allegedly importing ebony and rosewood in violation of the laws of India and Madagascar. In 2001, several Alabama fishermen were sentenced to eight years in prison for importing lobster in violation of Honduran regulations, even though the Honduran Attorney General stated that the regulations were invalid. Last week, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul introduced S. 2062, the Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures ("FOCUS") Act of 2012, to address the Lacey Act's "broad overcriminalization." The FOCUS Act would replace the Lacey Act's criminal penalties with a civil penalty system. It would also strike from the Act all references to "foreign law."
Bill introduced to de-criminalize the Lacey Act
- New statute would make state witness tampering a federal crime
- Bader on the Theodore Urban case
- Paul Larkin on the STOCK Act
- Reflection on the criminal law scholarship of William Stuntz
- Supreme Court hears argument on Stolen Valor Act
- Around the web, February 21
- Distinguishing between the "public corruption amendment" and fighting public corruption
- New Column: Potential criminalization of traditional business relationships
- Around the web, January 27
- SOPA protests demonstrate the value of limited-government principles
- New Podcast: James Copland and Andrew Wise discuss 'honest services' fraud post-Skilling and the Kevin Ring trial
- New Podcast: James Copland and Timothy O'Toole discuss overcriminalization concerns raised by the 'Clean Up Government Act'
- Around the web, December 15
- 'Clean Up Government Act' sparks overcriminalization concerns