On the Gibson Guitar raid

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.


  • The system hasn’t “strayed”. Creating criminals out of citizens who have every intention of being law-abiding is a feature not a bug.

    It’s an easy form of controlling the populace. Make examples of people who for all intents & purposes were not engaged in any willful illegal conduct and this intimidates everyone else into timid submissiveness to whom ever is in power.

    e.g. what is currently happening to Frank Vandersloot.

  • Darleen Click is 100% correct.

    We are enslaved by overcriminalization. Where is Congress, the President or the Courts on this issue? If they are not at least talking about the problem, they ARE the problem.

  • It’s quite amazing how little mainstream media coverage there has been of the Gibson raid, particularly given the high profile of the company (or at least of its products). The lobster case, by contrast, was of a very obscure businessman; Anderson involved complex laws and an unpopular company; Hurwitz was again not that well known; popular opinion seems actually against Apple in the iBookstore case. Gibson, though, is a pretty simple case and a relatively popular company – yet not a peep.

    Historically popular indignation has been a check on government power. That popular indignation – that sense in the populace that there ought to be limits to federal power – just seems absent now.

  • “We must make our election between economy and Liberty, or profusion and servitude.” ~Thomas Jefferson

  • Gibson Guitars settles…

    The guitar-maker, a living example of overcriminalization after a raid and threatened felony convictions for executives over technical violations of the Lacey Act, got an offer too good to refuse: a criminal enforcement agreement of a $300,000 fine, fo…

  • […] fine is well below the cost of mounting a legal defense in a case that had become a symbol of trigger-happy regulatory prosecution. [Nick Gillespie/Reason, Ann Althouse] Besides, Ted Frank […]