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Eagle Act: Related Cases

Case Name Citation Summary
American Bald Eagle v. Bhatti   9 F.3d 163 (Mass.,1993)  
A group of animal preservationists filed suit to enjoin deer hunting on a Massachusetts reservation because it contended that the activity posed such a risk to bald eagles so as to constitute a prohibited “taking” under the ESA. The essence of the plaintiff's argument was that some of the deer shot by hunters would not be recovered and then eagles would consume these deer thereby ingesting the harmful lead slugs from the ammunition. The district court denied the preliminary injunction, ruling that appellants failed to show a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits. On appeal of the denial for injunction, this Court held that plaintiff failed to meet the showing of actual harm under the ESA. There was no showing in the record of harm to any bald eagles during the deer hunt of 1991 and the record fully supported the trial judge's conclusion.
 
Andrus v. Allard   444 U.S. 51 (1979)   The Court holds that the narrow exception in the BGEPA for "possession and transportation" of pre-existing eagles and eagle artifacts does not extend to sale of the those lawfully obtained artifacts.  The legislative history and plain language of the statute is clear on Congress' intent to prohibit any commerce in eagles.  This prohibition on commerce in eagle artifacts does not constitute an unconstitutional taking because the ability to sell the property is but one strand in the owner's bundle of property rights.  The denial of one property right does not automatically equate a taking.  For further discussion on the prohibition in commerce of pre-existing eagle artifacts, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
Callahan v. Woods   736 F.2d 1269 (9th Cir. 1984)  

Plaintiff alleged the requirement that his infant daughter receive a social security number as a prerequisite to obtain public benefits infringed on his free exercise of religion.  Since the court held that the the social security number requirement substantially interfered with plaintiff's free exercise of religious beliefs, the compelling interest test was applied to determine constitutionality of the regulation.  This substantial burden/compelling interest test became the model for infringement of religious exercise claims, including those under the BGEPA.  For application of this test to religious challenges to the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

 
Coyote v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service   (no F.Supp. citation) 1994 E.D. California  

Defendant brought a motion after the USFWS denied his application to obtain eagle feathers for religious use where defendant failed to obtain certification from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that he was a member of a federally-recognized tribe.  The court held that this requirement is both contrary to the plain reading of that regulation and arbitrary and capricious.  For discussion on formerly recognized tribes and the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion.

 
Gibson v. Babbitt   223 F.3d 1256 (11th Cir. 2000)  

Defendant, a Native American, challenged the constitutionality of the limitation of eagle parts through the permit system to members of federally recognized tribes.  The limitation under the federal eagle permit system to federally recognized Indian tribes does not violate RFRA because the government has a compelling interest in protecting a species in demise and fulfilling pre-existing trust obligations to federally-recognized tribes in light of the limited supply of eagle parts.  For further discussion on free exercise challenges under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

 
In re Pajarito American Indian Art, Inc.   7 B.R. 343 (Bkrtcy.Ariz., 1980)   A trustee in a bankruptcy proceeding sought turnover of Sioux Indian Ghost Dance Shield containing eagle feathers.  The court observed that normally the laws of the UCC would prevail and the merchants to whom the item was entrusted would have legitimate title to transfer, but since the BGEPA prohibits the sale of eagle artifacts, only the original owner had title to the shield, not the bankrupt who allegedly tried to sell the shield nor the potential purchasers.  The court held that the underlying public policy outlined in Allard weighed heavily in the decision to invalidate what it termed an illegal contract.  For further discussion on commerce in eagle parts under the BGPEA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
Jaeger v. Cellco Partnership   Slip Copy, 2010 WL 965730 (D.Conn.,2010)  

The Connecticut Siting Council granted Cellco Partnership a Certificate allowing the company to build a cell tower in Falls Village, Connecticut.  Dina Jaeger brought suit against Cellco and the Council to prevent the building of the cell tower.  In her complaint, Jaeger cited the harmful effects of radio frequency emissions (RF emissions), and alleged violations of the International Migratory Bird Treaty, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), the Telecommunications Act (TCA), and the 10th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  Defendants moved to dismiss Jaeger's claims on various grounds, including that the Council was preempted from considering the environmental effects of RF emissions under the TCA.  The Court found in favor of the Defendants, holding that the TCA preempts local and state regulation of cell towers solely on the basis of RF emissions.   

 
Protect Our Eagles v. City of Lawrence   715 F. Supp. 996 (D. Kan. 1989)   The court held that no private right of action exists under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, where a group of concerned citizens brought a civil action under the BGEPA against a developer to prevent the demolition of a grove of trees where wintering eagles perch.  For further discussion on the construction and application of the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
Rupert v. Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service   957 F.2d 32 (1st Cir. 1992)   Appellant was the pastor of an all-race Native American church that required the use of eagle feathers during certain worship who challenged the BGEPA after being denied a permit to obtain eagle feathers because he was not a member of a recognized Indian tribe.  Under an equal protection analysis, the court found the limitation on the use of eagle parts to Native Americans is rationally related to the government's interest in preserving the eagle population as well as the special religious and cultural interests of Native Americans.  For further discussion on religious challenges to the BGEPA by non-Native Americans, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
Saenz v. DOI (vacated by U.S. v. Hardman, 260 F.3d 1199 (10th Cir. 2001))   (no West citation. Docket No. 00-2166)   (This case was vacated by United States v. Hardman, 260 F.3d 1199(10th Cir. 2001). Appellant was descended from the Chiricahua tribe of Apache Indians, and, although originally recognized as a tribe, it is not presently recognized.  The court affirmed the vacating of defendant's conviction for possessing eagle parts, holding that the present test under RFRA with regard to whether a tribe has been formally recognized bears no relationship whatsoever to whether one sincerely practices Indian religions and is substantially burdened when prohibited from possessing eagle parts.  For discussion of Eagle Act, see Detailed Discussion.  
Sammons v. C.I.R.   838 F.2d 330 (9th Cir. 1988)   In a tax proceeding, the Commissioner argues that defendant should be disallowed a charitable deduction for donating several artifacts containing eagle parts to a museum because it will frustrate the purpose behind the BGEPA.  The court disagrees, finding it unlikely that such an allowance will encourage others to procure eagle artifacts for the sole purpose of obtaining a tax deduction.  Further, the court disagrees with the Commissioner that Sammons acquired illegal title to the artifacts, finding Sammons had sufficient ownership interest in the eagle artifacts for donation.  For further discussion on commerce in eagle parts under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Abeyta   632 F. Supp. 1301 (D.N.M. 1986)   Defendant, an Indian who resided on a reservation charged with the possession of golden eagle parts under the BGEPA, challenged the indictment as a violation of treaty rights and an unconstitutional burden on his exercise of religion.  In an unusual decision, the court found that the BGEPA placed an unconstitutional burden on defendant's exercise of religion, where the golden eagle was not threatened in New Mexico and permits to kill depredating eagles had previously been issued.  The court also held that the treaty at issue granted special religious accommodations to the tribe, thereby preserving a treaty right to harvest eagles for religious needs.  For further discussion on religious challenges to the BGEPA by Native Americans, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Antoine   318 F.3d 919 (9th Cir. 2003)   Defendant was a member of a Canadian tribe when he brought eagle feathers across the border to the U.S. for a "potlatch" ceremony (exchange of eagle parts for money and goods, which was religiously significant to defendant).  On appeal, defendant challenged his conviction under the RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act), arguing in part that the government lacked an asserted compelling interest where the USFWS had issued a proposed delisting of the eagle from the ESA list.  The Ninth Circuit disagreed, finding the evidentiary weight of the proposed delisting was lacking and that defendant was not discriminated against based on religion, but rather was excluded from the permit system based on the secular component of the Act (i.e., the requirement for membership in a federally-recognized tribe).  
U.S. v. Corbin Farm Service   444 F. Supp. 510 (D. Cal. 1978)   As related to the BGEPA, the opinion distinguishes the degree of intent under the MBTA from that of the BGEPA.  It also holds that both statutes were designed to apply to activities outside of traditional scope of hunting and poaching (in this case poisoning of birds).  For further discussion on activities such as poisoning and electrocution prohibited under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Dion   476 U.S. 734 (1986)  

The legislative history surrounding the passage of the BGEPA as well as the plain language of the Act evinces an intent by Congress to abrogate the rights of Indians to take eagles except as otherwise provided by statute.  Defendant, a member and resident of the Yankton Sioux Tribe and Reservation, was charged with violations of the BGEPA and ESA after shooting several eagles on the reservation and selling eagle parts.  The Court held that any other interpretation would be inconsistent with the need to preserve the species.  For further discussion on the abrogation of Indian treaty rights under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

 
U.S. v. Friday   525 F.3d 938 (10th Cir., 2008)  

The Defendant, a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming, was charged with violating the Eagle Act after he illegally shot a bald eagle for an important religious ritual. The Defendant claimed that prosecution was prevented by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Friday claimed that the government failed to protect eagles killed when they strike power lines. The Court of Appeals held that the permitting process did not facially violate the RFRA and any difference in government's treatment of Native Americans taking eagles for religious purposes and power companies whose power lines killed eagles did not indicate that government failed to protect eagles in least restrictive manner. 

 
U.S. v. Fryberg   622 F.2d 1010 (9th Cir. 1980)   The court finds that the legislative history and surrounding circumstances of the BGEPA evinces a congressional intent to restrict treaty-based rights to hunt eagles.  The court aligns itself with Judge Lay's dissent in U.S. v. White to hold that the BGEPA abrogated Indian hunting rights related to eagles.  For further discussion on the abrogation of Indian treaty rights under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Gonzales   957 F.Supp. 1225 (D. N.M. 1997)   Court held that defendant has standing to raise a facial challenge to the Indian eagle permit process where he declined to apply for a permit based on the intrusiveness of the questions.  Defendant is a member of a highly secretive religious sect of his tribe.  In the RFRA analysis, the court held that the permit application was not the least restrictive means of implementing the government's compelling interest where the permit required intrusive information about religious practices.  For further discussion on Native American religious challenges to the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Hardman (On Rehearing En Banc)   2002 WL 1790584 (only Westlaw citation currently available)   The Hardman and Wilgus cases are remanded for factfinding where the record was limited as to whether the government employed the least restrictive means to support its compelling interests of protecting eagles and Native American culture.  On the Saenz motion for return of eagle feathers to a non-federally recognized Indian religious practitioner, the court holds that the government failed to support its assertions that opening the permit system to all adherents of Indian religions would compromise the eagle population or destroy federal trust obligations to Native American tribes/culture.  For discussion of the BGEPA and religious challenges, see Detailed Discussion.  
U.S. v. Hetzel   385 F.Supp. 1311 (D. Mo. 1974)   Defendant finds a decaying eagle carcass on a wildlife preserve.  He then removes the legs and talons of the eagle to bring to a Boy Scout function.  The court reverses his conviction (and $1.00 fine) finding that he did not possess the requisite intent.  The court determines that a conviction under the BGEPA demands a specific intent.  For further discussion on intent under the BGEPA see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Hugs   109 F.3d 1375 (9th Cir. 1997)   Defendants shot and sold bald eagles to undercover officers posing as big game hunters in Montana.  On appeal, the court denied their claims against the permit system, finding that they lacked standing to challenge the permit system where they failed to apply for permits.  With regard to a facial challenge to the statute, the court held that the BGEPA passed the RFRA test, where the government asserted a compelling interest that was effectuated in the least restrictive means.  For further discussion on commerce in eagle parts, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Jim   888 F. Supp. 1058 (D. Or. 1995)   Court considered defendant's claim based on newly enacted RFRA.  Court finds defendant's asserted need to kill 12 eagles a year would decimate eagle population in Oregon.  While not perfect, court finds the eagle permit system the least restrictive means to achieve the compelling need of protecting eagles.  For further discussion on religious challenges to the BGEPA by Native Americans, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Kornwolf   276 F.3d 1014 (8th Cir. 2002)   Defendant sells a headdress containing golden eagle feathers obtained before 1962 to an undercover officer.  Court finds this case directly controlled by Andrus v. Allard.  Court reiterates prohibition on any eagle commerce.  For further discussion on the restriction of commerce in eagle parts under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Lopez (Abridged for Purposes of Eagle Topic Area)   115 S.Ct. 1624 (1995)   Laws governing intrastate activities will be upheld if they substantially affect interstate commerce.  Under the Eagle Act, the power to regulate eagles has been summarily upheld as a valid exercise of commerce power, as it protects the eagle as a species by preventing the creation of a legal commercial market for the animal.  For further discussion of the Eagle Act, see Detailed Discussion.  
U.S. v. Lundquist   932 F. Supp. 1237 (D. Or. 1996)   Defendant, a non-Native American practitioner of Native American religion, challenged his conviction as a religious exercise violation where there was no evidence that defendant was trafficking in eagle parts.  Employing a RFRA analysis, the court found that while the limitation under the BGEPA to members of federally-recognized Indian tribes did substantially burden defendant's exercise of religion, the government asserted a compelling interest in protecting a rare species and maintaining Indian culture that was administered through the least restrictive means (e.g., the permit process).  For further discussion on religious challenges to the BGEPA by non-Native Americans, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Mackie   681 F.2d 1121 (D.C. Cir. 1982)   Defendants challenge their eagle convictions under the MBTA, alleging that they should have been charged under the more specific BGEPA.  Court holds the government may elect to proceed under either statute; nothing in the language or legislative history proscribes prosecution under the more general MBTA.  For further discussion on the intersection of the MBTA and the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Martinelli   240 F. Supp. 365 (N.D. Cal. 1965)   Court held the 1962 version of the BGEPA mandates a jury trial where defendant requests one, despite the fact it constitutes a "petty offense."  For further discussion of criminal prosecutions under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Moon Lake Electric Ass'n, Inc.   45 F.Supp.2d 1070 (D. Colo. 1999)   Defendant on appeal contends that its conduct of electrocuting migratory birds does not fall within the ambit of either the MBTA or the BGEPA because each statute is directed at the more traditional "physical" takings of migratory birds through hunting and poaching.  The court disagrees, finding the plain language of the statute and legislative history demonstrate an intent to include electrocutions.  The court further delineates the differences in intent under each statute, finding that while the MBTA is a strict liability crime, the BGEPA is not.  For further discussion on the intersection of the MBTA and the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Okelberry   112 F. Supp. 2d 1246 (D. Utah 2000)   Defense counsel not deemed ineffective for failing to advise defendant that a conviction under the BGEPA could result in loss of grazing rights.  For further discussion of the grazing rights provision of the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Oliver   255 F.3d 588 (8th Cir. 2001)   Despite delays in receiving eagle parts through the federal permit process, the court rules the BGEPA does not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  There is nothing so peculiar about defendant's situation to allow a one-man exception.  For further discussion on religious challenges to the BGEPA by Native Americans, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Smith   29 F.3d 270 (7th Cir. 1994)  

Defendant was convicted of possessing Bald Eagle feathers in violation of Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) after receiving the feathers in the mail from a friend to complete a craft project.  On appeal, defendant challenged her conviction, alleging that she did not possess the requisite knowledge and that the act itself was vague as to the level of intent, or scienter.  The court affirmed defendant's conviction finding that the evidence established that defendant knowingly possessed eagle feathers in violation of MBTA, the conviction did not amount to punishment of wholly passive conduct contrary to defendant's suggestion, and that MBTA was not vague nor overbroad with regard to intent.  For further discussion on the intersection of the MBTA and the Eagle Act, see Detailed Discussion of the Eagle Act.

 
U.S. v. St. Pierre   578 F.Supp. 1424 (D. S.D. 1983)   Defendant challenged his felony indictment under the MBTA after selling an "invitation stick" that contained golden eagle feathers.  The court held that the act encompasses migratory birds parts, not just whole birds so the indictment would stand.  However, in a unique decision it held that the imposition of a felony conviction would violate due process where the statute does not specify any degree of intent.  As a result, the court said it would sentence defendant under the misdemeanor provision of the statute if convicted.  For further discussion on the intersection of the intent component of the MBTA with the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Street   257 F.3d 869 (8th Cir.2001)   The court held that the "second or subsequent conviction" component of the BGEPA applies to separate convictions charged in a single indictment.  For further discussion on the enhanced penalty provision of the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Thirty-Eight Golden Eagles   649 F.Supp. 269 (D. Nev. 1986)   Defendant appeals a civil forfeiture action under the BGEPA.  In applying the three-part Callahan test to defendant's free exercise claim, the court holds that while defendant's religious exercise is substantially burdened, the government has a compelling interest in protecting a rare species and effectuates this interest in the least restrictive means.  The court declines to consider defendant's free exercise challenge to the permit process, as defendant failed to apply for a permit and thus lacks standing.  For further discussion on religious challenges to the BGEPA by Native Americans, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Top Sky   547 F.2d 486 (9th Cir. 1976)   Defendant alleged that his treaty-based hunting rights incorporate a right to sell eagles.  The court disagreed, finding such an interpretation of those treaty rights contrary to Indian custom and religion.  Court also holds that defendant lacks standing to raise a religious challenge to the BGEPA based on the religious rights of others.  Court is likewise unpersuaded by defendant's overbreadth claim.  For further discussion on the abrogation of Indian treaty rights under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Wahchumwah   710 F.3d 862 (9th Cir., 2012)   The United States Fish and Wildlife Services investigated a tip that the defendant was selling eagle parts in violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Upon appeal, the defendant argued that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the undercover agent’s warrantless use of a concealed audio visual device to record the transaction inside the defendant’s home, but the appeals court disagreed.  However, the appeals court reversed  the defendant's conviction on Counts 2 or 3 and Counts 4 or 5 because those counts were multiplicitous.  
U.S. v. Wahchumwah   704 F.3d 606 (C.A.9 (Wash.))   After a government agent recorded a sale of eagle parts using a concealed audio visual device, the agent obtained a warrant and arrested the defendant for violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Upon appeal, the defendant challenged his jury conviction arguing two Constitutional violations, a Federal Rules of Evidence violation, and multiplicitous counts. The appeals court affirmed the jury conviction on all claims except the multiplicitous counts claim; this conviction was reversed. This opinion was Amended and Superseded on Denial of Rehearing by U.S. v. Wahchumwah, 710 F.3d 862 (9th Cir., 2012).  
U.S. v. White   508 F.2d 453 (8th Cir. 1974)   Defendant was a member of a recognized Indian tribe who killed an eagle upon his reservation.  The Court holds that it will not find an intent by Congress to abrogate Indian hunting rights under the BGEPA where the statute did not explicitly state that those rights were abrogated.  For further discussion on abrogation of Indian treaty rights under the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
U.S. v. Wilgus   638 F.3d 1274 (C.A.10 (Utah), 2011)   Defendant Wilgus, while not a member of a federally-recognized Native American tribe, but a sincere adherent to Native American faiths, was found in possession of 137 eagle feathers during a routine traffic stop, contrary to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA). This case was initially remanded to District Court to determine whether government's scheme to protect eagle-feathers was the least restrictive means of furthering its compelling interests in protecting eagles and Native American religions, as required by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993. The United States District Court for the District of Utah, 606 F.Supp.2d 1308, held that the scheme violated the RFRA and the Government appealed here. The Court of Appeals found that the government's existing scheme for issuing eagle feather possession permits and enforcing the Eagle Act is the least restrictive means of forwarding the government's compelling interests.  
U.S. v. Wilgus   2001 U.S. App. LEXIS 17700; 32 ELR 20031; 2001 Colo. J. C.A.R. 3976 (10th Cir. 2001)   This opinion was vacated by the Hardman order.  Defendant was not a member of a federally-recognized tribe nor a person of Native American ancestry, but sincerely practiced Native American religions.  In response to Wilgus's free exercise challenge, the court held that the Act is a neutral, generally applicable law, falling within the safe-harbor created by Employment Division v. Smith.  For further discussion on the status of formerly recognized tribes under the BGEPA, please see Detailed Discussion.  
U.S. v. Winddancer   435 F.Supp.2d 687 (M.D.Tenn., 2006)   This matter comes before the court on a Motion to Dismiss the Indictment filed by the defendant. The defendant, Ed Winddancer, was indicted on six counts relating to possessing and bartering eagle feathers and feathers plucked from other migratory birds. Winddancer did not have standing to challenge the manner in which the MBTA has been administered against him, because applying for a permit under the MBTA would not have been clearly futile. With regard to the BGEPA, the court found that defendant showed that the BGEPA substantially burdens his ability to possess eagle feathers. However, the court found that he did not show that his desire to possess the feathers arises from a sincere religious belief. Further, the court found that the government indeed has a compelling interest in protecting the bald and golden eagle, especially since there is no reasonable forensic method by which law enforcement can determine if a bird was accidentally or intentionally killed, killed a hundred years ago, or killed yesterday.  
U.S. v. Zak   486 F.Supp.2d 208 (D.Mass., 2007)   Defendant pleaded guilty to three counts under the MBTA after agents determined that he killed 250 great blue herons; he then went to trial on the remaining counts under the MBTA and BGEPA related to his killing of a juvenile bald eagle on his commercial fish growing operation. On appeal, defendant contended that he cannot be found guilty under the MBTA unless the government proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he knew the bird he was shooting was protected and intentionally shot it with that knowledge (defendant stated that he shot a "big brown hawk'). The court disagreed, finding the overwhelming authority requires no such specific scienter on the part of the actor. With regard to defendant's contention that the government failed to prove the "knowingly" prong of the BGEPA, the court was equally unpersuaded. The evidence demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant knowingly shot the eagle as it sat perched on the dead pine tree on the edge of his property, regardless of whether he knew the juvenile bird was an eagle or, as he said, “a big brown hawk.”  
United States v. Bramble   103 F.3d 1475 (9th Cir. 1996)   During a search related to a controlled substances violation, undercover agents seized eagle feathers from defendant.  The court held that Congress exercised valid Commerce Clause power in enacting the BGEPA, as the incentive of interstate commerce in eagle parts would threaten eagles to extinction, thus depleting the future commercial potential of activities such as eagle-based tourism and educational research.  For discussion on the Eagle Act and the Commerce Clause, see Detailed Discussion.  
United States v. Hardman   260 F.3d 1199 (10th Cir. 2001)   This is an order vacating the opinions issued in Wilgus, Saenz, and Hardman.  The Tenth Circuit requested the attorneys in the above cases to brief the issues outlined by the court.  For further discussion regarding religious challenges to the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.  
United States v. Sandia   188 F.3d 1215 (10th Cir 1999)   This case was vacated by the Tenth Circuit in the Hardman order.  Defendant in this case sold golden eagle skins to undercover agents in New Mexico.  On appeal, defendant contended that the district court failed to consider the facts under a RFRA analysis.  The Tenth Circuit disagreed, finding that defendant never claimed that his sale of eagle parts was for religious purposes and that the sale of eagle parts negates a claim of religious infringement on appeal.  For further discussion on religious challenges to the BGEPA, see Detailed Discussion.  

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