Well for the last two years, we have relied on the blogging and journalism of Frank Sfarzo on his site Perugia Shock to follow the Amanda Knox case. Not anymore. With the stroke of a delete key, Google Inc. caved in to a questionable Italian court order requiring the removal of the blog. (For more information, check out the story in the West Seattle Herald.) After all his years fighting the corruption of Giuliano Mignini, all that is left of Frank’s blog is a fine red mist. When I first read the news, it didn’t exactly make sense because Google can’t really delete websites, it can only remove the pages from its index. But then I remembered that Frank’s blog is hosted on blogger.com, which is owned by Google. Google could not take the same steps against blogs hosted independently, like this blog for example. But am I the only one who is surprised by this step that Google has taken? It seems to be part of a larger trend where Google seems to be going down the drain. Google has been complicit in censorship by the Chinese government in the past, not to mention that the Google search results have been losing the battle against spam the last couple of years. No wonder Google’s stock has been tanking recently. And in particular, Google seems to let itself get pushed around too much by the Italian government. Remember the Google execs that were convicted last year because they hosted a video the Italians found offensive? Or how about last month, when Google was forced to manually fix its autosuggest algorithm because the Italian public was too often searching for the names of Italian politicians with the term “crook” at the end? Maybe the U.S. State Department needs to step in here. What if an Iranian court ordered Google to remove a site that criticized Ahmadinejad? Would google remove that site? Because I could point them to about 10,000.
Take a look at Google’s Blogger content policy here. In what way did the Perugia Shock site violate these policies? I love how the Google policy states: “It is our belief that censoring this content is contrary to a service that bases itself on freedom of expression.” What a joke. I think if Google will cave in to censorship orders of foreign governments, then they have a legal duty and obligation to tell blog writers of this fact at the outset. That way bloggers such as Frank Sfarzo can chose to select other blogging platforms at the very beginning.
The interesting thing about the decision by Google, is that they did not remove all the Perugia Shock posts from their Google index, either in the American Google or the Italian Google.it. So the the cached pages still exist online, see here for example. These cached pages won’t last very long, however, because the search engine will quickly re-index the pages within a few weeks. I heard a rumor from other Amanda Knox supporters tonight on Facebook that Frank Sfarzo might be working right now as we speak on converting his old blog onto a WordPress blog. Let’s hope he does so.
Those following the harassment of Frank Sfarzo by Italian authorities might not be surprised by the news. We have seen the thuggish way that he has been treated by Mignini. But I am still shocked that an American business would be cowed into complying with the court order without a fight.
Like Michelle Moore said on her website a few minutes ago, this step that the Italian court has taken will ultimately hurt Giuliano Mignini and help Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. How much longer are we going to allow this nightmare to continue?
The harassment of journalists covering the Amanda Knox case has continued in Italy leading the Committee to Protect Journalists to write to the Italian President. On April 19th, the group complained in particular about the treatment of independent blogger / journalist Frank Sfarzo at the hands of the Squadra Mobile led by Italian prosecutor Guiliano Mignini.
Frank Sfarzo, who writes the blog Perugia Shock, complained of being routinely assaulted and threatened by the police in Perugia. The police tried to prevent him from entering the court during the trial of Amanda Knox, seized his cell phone, and rummaged through his notes. The Squadra Mobile raided his house last September and arrested him, bringing him to the police station where they presented him to an Italian psychiatrist, insisting she declare him insane. To help make their case for insanity, the police cited excerpts from Sfarzo’s reporter’s notebook on the Kercher murder case. Sfarzo reported: ”They told the doctor that I was pathologically obsessed with the case, that I was so fixated on it I must be insane.”
This kind of reminds me of the human rights violations of Soviet-era Russia. One of the tactics used by Soviet authorities to was to confine their critics in mental hospitals. By declaring dissidents “insane”, the Soviets could hold them indefinitely, and since no criminal charges were filed, there was no need for a potentially embarrassing public trial. Russian psychiatrists were bullied into being complicit in this practice. Luckily, the Italian psychiatrist who examined Sfarzo was not intimidated, and told the Italian police to take a hike.
The other latest news on the case of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito pertains to the appeal they have proceeding. Antonio Curatolo, a witness from the first trial, was back on the witness chair again recently. Curatolo testified in the first trial that he saw Knox and Sollecito in town on the night of the murder of Meredith Kercher. This contradicted the defendants’ story that they were at home. But recently, while testifying at the appeal, Antonio Curatolo didn’t seem so sure he had the night right and indicated that he may have been thinking about the day after. See the blog post by Candace Dempsey. At the appeal it was also brought forth that Curatolo was a transient who is addicted to heroin. At the time of his testimony, Curatolo was incarcerated for dealing heroin, thus casting doubt on his veracity. I am not sure how it works in Italy, but in the U.S., courts are often wary of testimonies from witnesses like Curatolo. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that it is sometimes appropriate to instruct a jury as follows: “If a witness is a narcotics addict, there are additional reasons why his or her testimony should be considered with great care. An addict has a constant need for a supply of drugs and for money to support his or her habit, and may also have an abnormal fear of imprisonment in which his or her supply of drugs might be cut off. There are special circumstances which you may consider in weighing testimony of this kind. You of course may give the testimony such weight as you think proper, after considering all relevant circumstances.” See United States v. Burrows, 36 F.3d 875 (9th Cir. 1994). Maybe such an instruction in the case of Amanda Knox would have prevented the Italian jury from giving too much weight to Curatolo’s statement.
What do you think about these issues?
Last October we discussed the story of Riverside High School Students Suspended for Wearing “I Love Boobies!” Bracelets”. At Riverside High School in Spokane, Dakota Jewell and Zack Jordan were suspended from High School for two days for refusing to remove their bracelets that read “I Love Boobies!”. In that case, the matter was resolved by a compromise whereby the kids agreed to wear their bracelets inside out. Well, this week, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that students do have a constitutional right to wear the bracelets in a classroom. See the court decision. Apparently the case unfolded when a student wore her bracelet to school in defiance of a ban. During lunch, a cafeteria monitor noticed her bracelets and summoned a security guard. The student agreed to take it off, but the next day, with her mom’s encouragement, she again defied the ban. She was suspended, and she sought a restraining order prohibiting the school from enforcing the ban on the bracelets. Legal precedent allows a school to ban or prohibit “lewd” speech, but the court found that the “I Love Boobies!” bracelets were not lewd in the context in which they were worn.
Judge Rebeca Baker Announces Planned Retirement from Ferry / Stevens / Pend Orielle Judicial District
Judge Rebecca Baker announced today her plan to retire on October 15th from her position as senior judge in the Ferry / Stevens / Pend Orielle county judicial district. Judge Baker won the position in a contested election in 1996 against Colville lawyer Andy Braff. Judge Baker used to serve as the Ferry County District Court judge in Republic, Washington. Judge Baker was admitted to the Washington State Bar in 1976, and is a graduate of the Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley. By law, when a judge retires before her term expires, the governor is charged with appointing a replacement.
When Judge Larry Kristianson retired in 2003, several local lawyers asked to be considered by then curent Governor Locke. Some of those lawyers are still around and may express an interest now. Those lawyers were: Bob Simeone, Pat Monasmith, Andy Braff, James Von Sauer, and Jim Irwin. Attorneys Lew Schrawyer, John Troberg, and Patti St. Clair also expressed an interest in 2003, but have since left the area. The position involves a lot of driving, because the judge must cover an area that includes Ferry County, Stevens County, and Pend Oreille County. The judge’s job is to preside over felony criminal cases, hear divorces and child custody matters, probate cases, adoptions, and many real estate disputes.
I first met Rebecca Baker when I was 24-year-old rule 9 intern. She was then working in private practice in Republic, Washington. I had a couple of court hearings with her, but mostly I know her from my work as a criminal defense lawyer in her courtroom over the years.
Because medical marijuana is not recognized under federal law, we all know that the federal government always has the power to bring criminal charges. Any of a number of Spokane’s many dispensaries could be raided by DEA agents at any time. However, the U.S. Attorney Michael C. Ormsby took an interesting approach to the issue today when he issued this press release. The statement was directed to the building owners that rent commercial space to medical marijuana dispensaries. The press release starts off: “Today, Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that he has notified landlords that marijuana stores are illegal and warned them of the penalties they may face.” The press release continues: “Our goal is to first seek voluntary compliance with the law by notifying property owners of the non-conforming use of their property, with the expectation that they take appropriate action. If they do not, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will determine the appropriate law enforcement response, which could include the forfeiture of the property used to facilitate the crimes,” said Mr. Ormsby.
Am I the only one who thinks this is a little strange? It just seems to me that if the U.S. Attorney feels something illegal is going on, that he should simply make arrests. But he probably knows marijuana dispensary owners are not easily intimidated, and many dispensaries are run by activists who are prepared to go jail to fight for what they believe in. So instead, Ormsby threatens the individuals and corporations who are renting the space to the dispensaries. So what happens tomorrow morning? Do these commercial landlords now post eviction notices on the dispensary doors? It is a standard clause in all commercial leases that the tenant may not use the premises to conduct an illegal activity. Accordingly, there would be grounds under the law for a landlord to tender an eviction notice. A typical dispensary is usually in a small commercial strip mall in a low-rent part of town. You have to wonder a little bit about how many dispensary owners fully disclosed to the landlord what their plans were for the rental place. Many dispensaries have pretty innocuous looking letterhead and business cards. In this depressed commercial real estate market, landlords are probably just glad to fill the space. Under the law, the landlords that are probably in the greatest danger of having their buildings seized are the landlords who have charged the dispensaries above-market rent to compensate themselves for the risk. I think the federal government won’t be too happy if they subpoena the rental records and find that a landlord took twice as much money from a dispensary as they did for the other units. Likewise, a landlord that permits a grow operation is running a high risk, even if the marijuana being grown is supplying a dispensary. Even if a landlord is simply leasing a single unit to a dispensary, the federal government is entitled to seek forfeiture on the entire structure.
I suppose from a resources point of view, the prosecutor’s statement makes sense. It is resource-intensive to raid and prosecute dispensaries. Medical marijuana activists have lots of support from lawyers, and they are probably inclined to demand jury trials just out of principle. Commercial landlords, on the other hand, are probably not looking for a fight.
What do you think of the federal prosecutor’s position on this?
In the economically-depressed small towns of the Inland Northwest, local political leaders and the chambers of commerce all live for the day that a new business will come to town. But when a local woman opened a medical marijuana dispensary in Kettle Falls, Washington, her idea was not well received. Many in this small, Stevens County town of 1500 people encouraged the city council to deny the dispensary a local business license. The dispensary was started by Ginny Thiede, a former employee of Spokane dispensary Club Compassion. Ginny Thiede apparently started her endeavor by explaining some of the basics to local residents. “People who want to use it recreationally will have to go somewhere else,” she said, “This is not a head shop.” The Kettle Falls dispensary opens in a time of some uncertainty for Eastern Washington dispensaries. Last month, everyone was watching the outcome of the Scott Shupe trial in Spokane. Shupe was convicted of running a medical marijuana dispensary in Spokane. The jury didn’t accept his version of the law that he was simply acting as a caregiver to one patient at a time. While the Shupe case seems to set a bad precedent, many other dispensaries in Spokane are using better forms that provide greater clarification as to their roll to patients. One of the problems with running a dispensary is that the views of local prosecutors vary greatly. For example, the Stevens County prosecutor stated in his blog that: “Marijuana dispensaries are illegal, whether they have a business license or not.” However, the elected prosecutor from King County has stated that he believes dispensaries are legal and necessary. The Obama administration has taken a hands-off approach to marijuana dispensaries that comply with state law.
In the rural parts of Eastern Washington, sick patients face greater obstacles in obtaining marijuana. Ginny Thiede is providing a valuable service to patients.
Why do we have so many hate crimes in the Inland Northwest? It is not an accident of geography or some poison in our drinking water. Partnersagainsthate.org explains the cause of hate crimes succinctly: “Hate crimes often occur as a result of prejudice and ignorance. A lack of understanding about differences among people and their traditions contributes to fear and intolerance. Left unaddressed, these sentiments may often lead to acts of intimidation and ultimately hate-motivated violence.” This website isn’t discussing the Inland Northwest in particular, but the description certainly fits our area, doesn’t it?
I thought of this recently when Stevens County resident Kevin Harpham was arrested and charged with planting the bomb at last month’s Martin Luther King day parade. While the people of the Inland Northwest don’t march around with swastika armbands or white hoods, we certainly don’t speak out against racism much either. Case in point, remember the white supremacists picketing the Mexican food truck on and off all last winter? There should have been a zillion people out there conducting a counter-protest or at least buying some food out of solidarity. This didn’t happen despite the keen efforts of several people. Likewise, look at the shabby treatment of Haitham Joudeh two years ago. His truck was spray-painted by thugs, and county commissioners Rick Currie, Todd Tondee, and Richard Piazza pretty much caved in to a racist crowd who wanted to ruin Joudeh and run him out of town. I wrote then of the failure of decent people to stand behind Mr. Joudeh. A year ago, I blogged about community leaders creating an environment for hate crimes when they foster an attitude 1) that is suspicious of outsiders, 2) that applies different standards to newcomers, and 3) when they do not sufficiently condemn the bigoted statements of their constituents. About two years ago the local NAACP president warned Spokane’s leaders that more needed to be done by leaders to fight institutional racism or “Spokane and Coeur d’Alene one day will become a mecca for those who would use ropes to make nooses and spread hate literature.” We should consider her words now.
It seems like part of the problem is the lackluster police response to hate crimes. A Post Falls woman complained that when people spray painted swastikas on her car, the police asked her if she even wanted to “press charges”. See story. In the case of Kevin Harpham, the matter is being handled by federal prosecutors. It seems like the feds are always interested in these sort of white supremacist types. Once, when I was a prosecuting attorney in state court, I was actively pushing the federal prosecutors to take over a felon-firearm case I had. I didn’t have any luck in getting the feds to take it until we found a membership card in the suspect’s wallet to a white supremacist group. Well, as you can guess, the federal prosecutors became more interested when they learned of the suspect’s membership in hate groups.
I sometimes read about different hate crime prosecutions in the blog Crime and Consequences. That blog reported yesterday that a federal judge imposed a 6-month sentence for an instance of burning a cross in a persons yard when no physical injury resulted. Most law blogs are written by criminal defense attorneys, but Crime and Consequences is by lawyers writing from the public’s perspective as a whole. Another law blog worth checking out (that is not from the defense perspective) is D.A. Confidential, by a Texas prosecutor.
Asuris Northwest Health Insurance sucks! I will tell you why. Like any health insurance company you pay in tons of money each month, and it seems like there are always huge deductibles and hardly anything is covered. So there is that. But there is one particular incident with Asuris that pushed me over the edge. My young son went over to a friend’s house to play and received a minor injury at their house. My wife was out of town, so I figured I better err on the safe side and take my son to see a doctor. The problem was it was just after 5:00 so the medical clinic was closed, so I took my little one to the emergency room and offered up my Asuris Insurance card. I figured Asuris would pay at least part of the bill. Well the problem arose when Asuris Northwest Health wouldn’t pay anything until I gave them a statement as to where the injury happened, and who owned the property. They sent me some lengthy accident-injury questionnaire indicating that they wanted to go after the owner of the premises where my son was injured. Asuris wrote: “If you have been injured on someone else’s property, even through no fault on their part, the property owner often carries No-Fault Premise Medical insurance that would cover your medical expenses up to a specific dollar amount….” In other words, Asuris didn’t want to pay, and rather wanted to go after my son’s friends’ parents even though there was “no fault on their part.” That’s really great Asuris, you want me to sour the friendship of kindergarten playmates by shaking the property owners down and raising the rates of their homeowners insurance. So I wrote a letter explaining this to Asuris Northwest, and they never dignified my letter with a response. I paid for everything out of pocket. That is why you suck, Asuris Northwest. I wouldn’t recommend you to anybody.
In the early days of medical marijuana dispensaries, the risk was all about possible arrest and prosecution. Judging by recent news stories this week, the greatest threats now seem to be from: 1) the Internal Revenue Service, 2) new regulations and rival dispensaries, and 3) gangsters who rob dispensaries.
Taxation of Marijuana Dispensaries
In 2009, after Obama took office, his attorney general Eric Holder announced that the federal government would not prosecute marijuana dispensaries that were operating legally under State and local laws. Dispensary owners probably breathed a sigh of relief. Little did they know that they would face perhaps larger problems from the IRS. The IRS is currently auditing every dispensary across California, and is apparently disallowing a lot of deductions that many took for granted. Here is the issue: Under section 280E of the federal tax code, people selling controlled substances in violation of federal law can’t claim any tax deductions for their “business”. This statute was intended so that Al Capone types would have to pay taxes on their gross, and they can’t deduct all their “expenses” in figuring their “profit”. The “expenses” of selling controlled substances means, the initial cost of the drugs from the suppliers, transportation costs, the costs of paying employee dealers, etc. This makes sense, I suppose, when going after black market criminal enterprises, but this makes less sense when going after gray-market medical marijuana dispensaries that are trying their best to serve patients. Some of the dispensaries are faced with millions of dollars of past due taxes. I blogged last December about the Washington Department of Revenue gouging marijuana dispensaries in Spokane.
New Regulations & Rival Marijuana Dispensaries
In Colorado, the number of dispensaries operating state wide grew to over a thousand after the Obama administration indicated that they would not be prosecuting dispensaries. These 1000 dispensaries are now facing increased regulation from the Colorado legislature. In Colorado, the legislature banned convicted felons from operating dispensaries, and then began requiring dispensaries to start growing at least 70% of their own marijuana. In Los Angeles today, the city announced that they would be shutting down 140 dispensaries for the failure to follow the city regulations. Meanwhile, dispensary owners from Spokane to Seattle are bracing themselves for SB 5073, also known as the Kohl-Welles bill, which would outlaw just about every dispensary in Washington that exists today. With all these threats, you would think that the dispensaries would be joining together. In fact, the dispensaries seem to be fighting each other, or at least their customers. Try googling “Spokane Medical Marijuana”. What you see is a bunch of online “reviews” where people are just trashing dispensaries. You really don’t see the same thing in the Seattle listings.
Robbery of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
If a visit from the IRS isn’t scary enough, check out this video footage of a Washington medical marijuana dispensary getting robbed.
The police reports in the case indicated that the victim tried to spray the robbers with mace but had difficulty in using the canister. The robbers were known to the victim because they were patients in the past. About 10 pounds of marijuana was stolen.
What do you think of all this? If you owned a dispensary, would you be looking for another line of work?
For the last three years, there has been a lot of news coverage about the pack of wolves that moved from British Columbia down to Okanogan County, Washington. Poaching has begun and many cases will be coming to court, testing the views of jurors on such subjects. Let’s discuss the background, and th the problems courts will face.
Wolves in Washington State
There have always been sporadic sightings of individual wolves in North Central Washington, but in the summer of 2008, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that a pack of wolves had made their home in the Methow Valley. See article. Although Washingtonians as a whole may have been pretty excited, most of the people of Okanogan County were hesitant to say the least. Many ranchers wondered about the potential losses to their livestock, and hunters worried about fewer deer and elk. Now, two years later it has been clear that not everyone has welcomed the wolf pack, and there is increasing evidence that certain people are trying to kill the pack off. There is a growing sense of concern across the state that this pack might be lost.
Okanogan Wolf Killing
Last week I had court in Okanogan County, where I often go in my practice as a criminal defense lawyer. There were filmmakers in court from the BBC doing a documentary about the wolfs. Apparently, on the docket that day there was a defendant accused of shooting a wolf. People are watching and waiting to see what comes of the investigation of Tom White and his son Bill White. The Washington State Fish & Wildlife Agents executed a search warrant at the Whites’ home after they were alerted to a suspicious Fed Ex package that contained a wolf pelt. The FedEx employee called authorities after noticing that some blood was leaking through the packaging. According to news reports, the agents confronted Tom White about the shooting of wolves and he indicated that he shot the wolf because it was caught in a barbed wire fence. The agents claim that during the raid on White’s home they found a photo of Tom White posing with the wolf, and the photo showed a wolf with damage done to its paw consistent with a trap.
Rewards for Tips on Wolf Shootings
More recently, State officials and conservationists have become worried about the prospects of the survival of the pack. A female wolf was being tracked with a radio collar last year until the signal was lost. Because the radio signal stopped so abruptly, foul play was suspected. To help deter poaching, Mitch Friedman, the executive director of Conservation Northwest announced a reward of $7500 for information leading to the conviction of wolf poachers. In an online story by K.C. Mehaffey of the Wenatchee-World, Friedman explained that he is concerned about the lack of prosecution: “I don’t know whether it is a matter of prioritization given in prosecutors’ offices, or whether these cases are inherently more difficult to prosecute because they happen in the woods.” Likewise, Mike Cenci, of the Department of Fish and Wildlife explained: “Some counties are very aggressive in pursuing natural resource law violators, and others, not so much.” Cenci explained that he has to continually “educate prosecutors’ offices with respect to the impacts that environmental or natural resource crime can have.”
Washington State Laws on Wolf Hunting
In my experience, prosecutors often struggle with the intricacies of our State’s fish and wildlife code. The regulations and statutes on the subject are so complicated that it is often hard to even figure out the best way that the crime should be charged. Additionally, many of these poaching cases occur in remote areas of our national forests, and this often means that the venue for the trial will be in rural counties such as Okanogan County, Ferry County, Stevens County etc. In such locales the sensibilities of the jurors can be startlingly different than in areas like King County. Let’s face it, the way we view animals is largely the result of our culture and our upbringing. In rural locations, people usually view bears, mountain lions, and wolves as a nuisance at best, and often times as an outright danger. The jurors often times are the same people who have lost livestock or pets to carnivores. Additionally, while attacks on humans by carnivores seems like remote concerns, these attacks figure centrally on the minds of local jurors. Parents know there are documented attacks on children recently in North Central Washington. In 2003, a Canadian boy was attacked while hiking in Stevens County. See here. In 1999, a cougar nearly killed a 4-year-old boy in Barstow, Washington, in Ferry County. The child required 200 stitches to close head and neck wounds. See here. So, in these counties jurors just don’t seem to care really if someone is shooting bears, or cougars, or wolves.
Wolf Killing Trials
Let’s remember something about jury selections – it is largely a numbers game. A jury for a felony poaching case in the State of Washington is composed of 12 people. Let’s talk about how those 12 are selected. On the morning of trial, the prosecutor and defense lawyer show up and are presented with a list of about 50 or 60 prospective jurors. The lawyers are then free to ask the prospective jurors any questions they like. A lawyer can quickly figure out who belongs to hunting groups, conservationist groups, environmental groups, the cattlemen association. A lawyer can likewise ask prospective jurors who has lost pets or livestock to carnivores, or who has close friends or neighbors who have lost pets or livestock. The standard jury questionnaire also provides information on how long a juror has lived in the county, thus providing crucial information on the person’s upbringing. Under the law, for a jury of 12, each lawyer is given 6 peremptory strikes, meaning he or she can get rid of any juror for any reason. So if a prospective juror is a self-described animal lover, or a conservationists, or never had so much as a fishing license, or just moved to the area from a major city, that juror is simply sent home by the defense. A defense attorney can send all such jurors home with peremptory challenges, because in a rural jury pool of 40 people, no more than 6 such jurors exist. It is important to note that in King County, the opposite is true, and the prosecutors send the hunters and sportspersons of rural King County home, leaving the defendant to be judged by suburbanites and Seattle residents.
The difficulties of prosecutions in these cases are exacerbated by frequent investigations by Fish and Wildlife. I was a prosecutor in Ferry County for about 7 years, and have worked as defense lawyer for 8 years since. I have prosecuted or defended numerous cases involving bears and cougars, and also the trafficking of hides, or parts of an animal such as a bear gall. Sometimes as a prosecutor I was frustrated by incomplete investigations, and often times these Fish and Wildlife agents seem to have a tin ear when it comes to how their investigations will look to jurors. There seems to be a lot of overreaching on the part of the investigators, and jurors often will pick up on that. Prosecutions for these sort of poaching cases is often times extremely time consuming and complex, and the laws are quite challenging even for the judges and the prosecutors to figure out. For example, let’s look at the case of State v. Yon out of Spokane in 2008. Fish and Wildlife agents conducted an elaborate sting operation against Jason Yon for allegedly buying bear gall bladders. Apparently, the agents believed that the buying of bear gall bladders was a felony the whole time, and expended a great amount of resources. Jason Yon’s attorney Richard Lee thought otherwise, and tried to “educate” the F&W on the law. The laws on this crime were so complicated that the Court of Appeals finally had to step in, and the court resolved this issue in Yon’s favor.
Due to the difficulties in state court prosecutions for the killing of wolves in Washington State, it may be that the Fish & Wildlife department decides to request more prosecutions in federal court.
What do you think about the Okanogan wolf killing? Under what circumstances is it justified for a resident to shoot a wolf in defense of his or her property? Are small-town prosecutors trying their best to curtail poaching, or are they part of the problem?