Thursday, November 21, 2013

United States v. Wulff case brief

United States v. Wulff case brief summary
758 F.2d 1121 (1985)

The government appealed a decision from the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, which dismissed the indictment against defendant who was charged with violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), 16 U.S.C.S. § 703, by offering to sell migratory bird parts.

Defendant was charged with offering to sell a necklace made of parts of protected species under the MBTA. The court found the statute violated defendant's due process rights.

Because a felony conviction under the MBTA did not require proof of scienter, because the crime was not one known to the common law, and because the felony penalty provision was severe and would result in irreparable damage to defendant's reputation, the court affirmed the decision of the district court and declared the felony provision of the Act, 16 U.S.C.S. § 707(b)(2), to be unconstitutional.

The decision that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was unconstitutional because it lacked the element of scienter was affirmed.

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