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Is This What We Shipped For? US Government's Pursuit of Marine Biologist Nancy Black Continues


Last week, George Will wrote about Marine biologist Nancy Black, who has been under criminal investigation for years in connection with a 2005 incident in which a crew member on her whale-watching ship whistled at a humpback whale. (Yes, you read that right.) The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Ms. Black was not charged with interfering with the whale, but with making a false statement to government investigators when she edited a videotape of the incident in order to highlight the whistling. Ms. Black is also under investigation for illegally "feeding" killer whales, when she cut a hole in a strip of blubber (which the orcas had torn off a gray whale they had killed, and on which they were already feeding) in order to photograph the whales. Ms. Black's home has been raided, her files and computers seized, her accountant subpoenaed, and her life savings depleted. George Will likens the situation to Kafka, but when examining whether this is how the criminal law should work, we might ask ourselves, as the Pequod's crew did, is this what we shipped for?


Mr. Will repeated the accounts of Ms. Black's lawyer without bothering to investigate their validity. Mr. Will is not a lawyer and doesn't know any better. Your brief article distills the charges made by Mr. Will, which are based on the accounts told by Ms. Blacks lawyer, which are based on what Ms. Black told her lawyer. The whole process resembles homeopathy, which dilutes a substance until there is nothing left but water. Your organization represents itself as knowledgeable about the law and should know better.

Paul Enzinna's views and opinions, as with all Point of Law contributors, are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of other Point of Law bloggers, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research or any employee thereof, or of Mr. Enzinna's employer.

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