January 4 roundup


  • How to solve the Fish and Wildlife service problem–a local prosecutor with some cojones. Charge the jokers who set the trap on private property with cruelty to animals, then frogmarch them. Let them make their immunity arguments to a state court judge.

    The reason these government officials do these things is that even if the citizen victim of overreach wins (i.e., spends time and money etc,), the government officials just keep doing what they do. Federal judges also need to be willing to use the contempt power against AUSAs making frivolous arguments in support of this nonsense or when AUSAs are willfully blind to illegal actions on the part of the government officials yet support their actions. A few nights in jail for these guys would do wonders in calibrating their sensitivities to the fact that we are supposed to have a free society.

    • In almost every area that I have lived dog owners are required to keep their dogs restrained. Why are cats given a pass? The area where I live is polluted with cats. I killed four with Rabies last year. We have had seven young children get Rabies shots in the last five years because the cat that bit them could not be identified. A few years ago an animal rights group trapped over two hundred cats in the city where I live. They gave them rabies shots, spayed or neutered them and then TURNED THEM LOOSE WHERE THEY TRAPPED THEM!

      Don’t get me wrong, I understand that a cat can get loose. I have found several with name tags and have taken them home.

      If these people start putting their traps on his property, let me know. Until then if he kept his cat on HIS property there would be no problem.

    • “Charge the jokers who set the trap on private property”

      Won’t work. You clearly didn’t read the linked article carefully. The traps were not set on private property. They were set on federal land adjacent to private property.

      Resident cat owners complained that agents set baited traps adjacent to the private property of the owners who live next to the federal park.

      According to Slate, the traps “were all about 50 feet from [his] property” when Rocky was lured in one night.

      • It’s unclear where the traps were set in the Slate case. The charges were dismissed based on a finding that the traps were not set on federal land, but Slate does not appear to claim that the traps were set on his own property.

  • There was recently another posting somewhere (either here or on Volokh – I can’t find it any more) about a guy (not a lawyer) threatening to go public with some embarrassing but true information unless the target gave him $25k. And the question that was raised was whether this would be extortion. If a lawyer demands $2K to avoid the publicity of an ADA fine/lawsuit, is that extortion? If not, why not?

    • The line between protected demand letter and extortion can be a fine one. Generally threatening to file an arguably meritorious civil action if money is not paid is protected activity. However, threatening to pursue criminal actions or publicly expose conduct which is unrelated to the scope of the potential civil litigation if money is not paid can be extortion. The particulars depend on the jurisdiction.

      You may be thinking of the recent case of William Stanley. He was convicted of extorting a past employer by threatening to post false and negative information on-line if they did not pay him. After the conviction he posted negative statements about the company on-line for which he is being prosecuted. He is asserting that the post-conviction statements were true and protected by the First Amendment.