Couple face jail time for rescuing injured deer

| February 5 2013
Christopher Cook

What they did was not wrong, even if the law says it was illegal. In such conflicts, it is the law that is wrong.

(I wonder if George Stephanopoulos, an ardent statist, truly understands that principle outside of a narrow context in which a cute deer is involved.)

ICYMI . . .

 

More from Heritage:

Historically, crimes have two elements: (1) actus reus (bad act), and (2) mens rea (bad intent).

Most people would agree that nursing an animal back to health is not a “bad act” in the sense of being morally blameworthy. Keeping the deer is deemed to be a “bad act” only because the legislature has said it is prohibited. Do we as a society want to punish acts that are not inherently wrong with criminal penalties?

Was there a bad intent? Is intending to save an animal bad? Most people would say it is not. Jeff Counceller is a police officer. It is highly doubtful that he intended to flout the law. It is much more likely that he simply didn’t know that his conduct was prohibited, much less a criminal act. If an officer of the law does not know that his conduct is illegal, how can others expect to know it?

If the act itself is not bad, and the Councellers did not know that their action was illegal, what could society possibly gain by having people like the Councellers serve time in prison and get a criminal record?

Should you think that this is solely a problem in Indiana, you would be very much mistaken. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Others have been prosecuted for their efforts to help animals in need.

read the whole thing

 

3 comments
phoenixlaw
phoenixlaw

As an elected or appointed official, the prosecutor is the most powerful official in the criminal justice system. Prosecutors exercise unfettered discretion, deciding who to charge with a crime, what charges to file, when to drop charges, whether or not to plea bargain, and how to allocate prosecutorial resources.

 

In the present case, in the interest of fairness and the trivial nature of the "crime," this prosecutor should certainly exercise his (her) prosecutorial discretion and dismiss the charges.

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

 @phoenixlaw Oh my goodness----this is the second time in two weeks that we have agreed. The apocalypse must be nigh!