Lacey Act: Related Cases

Case namesort descending Citation Summary
United States v. Bengis 2006 WL 3735654 (S.D. N.Y. 2006)

Defendants were caught illegally over-fishing off the coast of South Africa and selling the fish in the United States, in violation of the Lacey Act. The United States Government could not seek compensation for South Africa under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act because the fish were not property belonging to South Africa. However, the United States Government may be able to seek restitution for the South African Government under the discretionary Victim and Witness Protection Act.  Opinion Vacated and Remanded by: U.S. v. Bengis, 631 F.3d 33 (2nd Cir., 2011).

United States v. Hess 829 F.3d 700 (8th Cir. 2016) This case stems from a United States Fish and Wildlife Service's investigation into illegal trafficking of rhinoceros horns and ivory called "Operation Crash." Defendant James Hess, a taxidermist in Maquoketa, Iowa, agreed to sell a pair of lack rhinoceros horns in 2011 to another individual involved in the trafficking operation. As a result of his role, he was charged with one count of Lacey Act Trafficking for knowingly engaging in conduct involving the sale and purchase of wildlife with a market value exceeding $350 that was transported and sold in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Hess was ultimately sentenced to 27 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. On appeal, Hess first argued that the District Court made an “unsustainable finding on the record presented” when it stated that Hess "helped establish a market for these black rhino horns, and that is a serious offense against the planet." Because Hess failed to object at sentencing, this issue was reviewed for plain error. This court found no plain error, as the record supported the statement that Hess' action contributed to furthering a market for black rhinoceros horns. As to defendant's argument that his sentence was unreasonable, the court found that he failed to overcome the presumption of reasonableness in his bottom of the guidelines sentencing range. The judgment of the district court was affirmed.
United States v. Kilpatrick 347 F.Supp.2d 693 (D. Neb. 2004)

Two hunters were convicted of violating the Lacey Act after they hunted on a federal wildlife refuge, killed a deer and transported the carcass out-of-state.  The trial court imposed sentences of probation and fines.  The District Court affirmed the conviction and sentences holding they were reasonable.

United States v. March 2004 WL 2283777 (9th Cir. Idaho)

Defendant violated the Lacey Act by presenting false information to gain a hunting permit.  He was convicted in United States District Court for the District of Idaho.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court decision holding the District Court and Tribal Courts have concurrent jurisdiction over Indians for violations of the Lacey Act.